As troubles continue to mount for the Rio Olympics (recession in Brazil, inflated budgets for the games, unsold tickets, mass transit problems, and the dreaded Zika virus, the International Olympic Committee sought to allay fears about the virus (that can remain in men’s semen and could possibly cause severe birth defects in infants) by making the giant Olympic flame that will burn during the games into a massive citronella candle.
When the final athlete brings the Olympic torch that was lit in April in Greece to the opening ceremonies at Maracanã Stadium in August, that person will climb a giant staircase and light the three wicks in a two-ton citronella candle, specially made by the Cutter Insect Repellent Company.
Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC, said in a press conference:
We realize that many athletes and fans from abroad are hesitant to travel to Brazil because of the Zika virus threat that is transmitted by mosquitos that are quickly spreading to Rio de Janeiro from Brazil’s poor northeastern region. Some athletes are refusing to go, and others are having their sperm frozen prior to their trip there.
We wish to calm the concerns of everyone by making sure the Olympic flame will serve the purpose of warding of not only potentially infected mosquitos, but plenty of other flying pests with a massive candle that smells great and is made with real citronella oil!
Olympic officials state the candle will burn for the entire duration of The Games of the XXXI Olympiad. The total cost has not been disclosed, but is rumored to be around three-hundred million dollars (US).