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Tokyo Bay, where part of the Olympic triathlon event is set to be held despite lingering concerns about pollution. Photo: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

With just days to go before the Tokyo Olympics begin, Bloomberg reports that concerns are growing about pollution levels in Tokyo Bay, where the swimming portion of the triathlon is set to take place.

What's happening: A test for the swimming part of the Paratriathlon in the bay was canceled in August 2019 after E. coli bacteria was found at more than twice the limit set by triathlon officials — and after one athlete reportedly said the bay "smelled like a toilet."

  • But despite the efforts of organizers — which included dumping 22,000 cubic meters of sand in the bay and designing polyester screens to protect the venue from bacteria — residents have noticed a pungent smell coming off the bay in recent weeks.

By the numbers: Wastewater and sewage from Tokyo's 30 million residents, combined with runoff from multiple rivers and canals, all have to be treated before flowing into Tokyo Bay.

The bottom line: Water pollution is a fact of life for triathletes who compete in events in large cities, which means that arguably the most arduous Olympic event will simply involve a slightly higher — and smellier — degree of difficulty.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 8, 2021 - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's players celebrate their victory in their women's gold medal volleyball match against Brazil during the Olympic Games at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on Sunday. Photo: Yuri Cortez/AFP via Getty Images

🥇: U.S. clinches top Olympic gold spot after women's indoor volleyball team win

🏀: U.S. women's basketball scores 7th straight Olympic gold medal

🚴‍♀️: American Jennifer Valente wins final women's cycling gold of Tokyo Games

🤸🏿‍♀️: Biden lauds Biles for mental health "courage," praises Team USA in virtual meeting — Poll: Americans care about Olympians' mental health

🐎: Germany's modern pentathlon coach disqualified from Games for punching horse

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Updated Aug 3, 2021 - Sports

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 11 highlights

Jrue Holiday, #12 of Team USA, drives to the basket against Spain during their men's basketball quarterfinal on day 11 of the Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on Aug. 3 in Saitama, Japan. Holiday scored 12 points for the U.S. during the game. Photo: Charlie Neibergall - Pool/Getty Images

Day 11 of the Tokyo Olympic Games saw Norway's Karsten Warholm smash the world record in the 400-meter hurdles — and so did the second-placed American Rai Benjamin on Tuesday.

Of note: In men's basketball, Team USA overcame a tough challenge from Spain to win 95-81 and advance to the semifinals — with Kevin Durant scoring 29 points for the Americans.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.