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Health Risks at the Rio Olympics, by a Doctor Who Was There

Bert R. Mandelbaum, MD, DHL (Hon)


August 18, 2016

Just What the Doctor Ordered

These Games have struck that note over and over. I experienced the spirit of international cooperation personally on the medical committee. Our motto is "One world, one medical team," and our focus was on overcoming international barriers, not creating them. Just for starters, we spent hours making sure that all teams had defibrillators that communicated in their native languages.

Many of us were volunteers. We all realized that we were only as strong as our weakest link; we had to work together on every level. The first intuitive response these doctors had was, "How can I do my part?"

That spirit shone through in the opening ceremonies. I was deeply touched by the selection of legendary Kenyan distance runner Kipchoge Keino as the winner of the first Olympic Laurel award and by his comments on the importance of charity and education.

I was also very moved by the Refugee Olympic Team, who overcame impossible odds to compete in these Games as independent athletes.

Above all, the 2016 Summer Olympics have been about coming together and reaching across international boundaries to celebrate human achievement. Just what the doctor ordered.


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