The Associated Press reports on the "televised stunt" last week that saw environmental secretary Andrea Correa dive into the waters where sailors are expected to race just over a year from now.
In the footage recorded for the news magazine show Fantastico – which previously aired a report highly critical of Rio's failure to fulfil its promises to clean up the notoriously polluted Guanabara Bay – Correa compared its waters to the popular beaches of "Ipanema or Barra".
But the PR exercise did not impress the Fantastico team, who stressed in their programme that the official selected the time and place for his dip, at high tide near the mouth of the bay in cleaner ocean water.
Commenting on the story at the Royal Cork YC website, Peter Webster – a chemist with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – repeated concerns that Rio's sailing waters fall far short of European bathing water quality standards.
"For our Olympic competitors... these standards should be being demanded by the ISA or the relevant swimming national bodies," he says. "From the evidence I’ve seen of pollution in Guanabara Bay there is no way that water-sports of any kind should be being held there."