RIO DE JANEIRO — The former CEO of World Sailing says he was fired for pushing to get rid of polluted Guanabara Bay as the sailing venue of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Peter Sowrey tried to change the venue, or at least have a “B plan” but says “I was told to gag myself on the subject.”

Sailing is still scheduled to begin in August in the sewage-filled bay. Testing conducted over the last year shows disease-causing viruses linked to human sewage at levels thousands of times above what would be considered alarming in the U.S. or Europe.

Sowrey said the bay – overlooked by the famous Christ the Redeemer monument and Sugarloaf Mountain behind it – may give sailing the kind of television coverage it seldom enjoys.

It could also bring unwanted attention if sailors fall ill, or if floating rubbish – plastic bags to door frames to animal carcasses – fouls rudders and costs someone an Olympic gold medal. Sowrey proposed moving the event to Buzios, a coastal resort about 100 miles from Rio that has hosted large sailing events.

Sowrey, acknowledged he had little experience dealing with the politics that drive international sports federations.

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