Golfer Rory McIlroy became one of the most high-profile sports stars to opt out of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of concerns about the Zika virus, saying Wednesday it is “a risk I am unwilling to take.”

“After speaking with those closest to me, I’ve come to realize that my health and my family’s health comes before anything else,” the four-time major winner said in a statement released by his management company.

The 27-year-old McIlroy said this month that he and his fiancee, Erica Stoll, may consider starting a family “in the next couple of years.”

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus which has been linked to severe birth defects and possible neurological problems in adults.

“Even though the risk of infection from the Zika virus is considered low,” McIlroy said, “it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take.”

The fourth-ranked McIlroy was scheduled to play for Ireland as golf makes its return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) said it was “extremely disappointed” not to have McIlroy on its team.

“However, as we have always said, it is down to the individual and of course we respect his decision, which he has taken for personal reasons,” the OCI said in a statement.

Next in line for the Irish would be Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, whose wife is expecting their second child about two weeks after the Olympics. If he chooses not to play, the spot would fall to Padraig Harrington.

Marc Leishman of Australia and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa are golfers to have already pulled out of the Olympic tournament specifically because of Zika. Leishman cited concerns over the health of his family – his wife, Audrey, nearly died last year from toxic shock syndrome – while Schwartzel has said he and his wife intend to have more children and the risk of getting the virus is too great.

American cyclist Tejay van Garderen is another sportsman to cite Zika as the reason behind not going to Rio. Basketball star Stephen Curry has dropped out of the games, not specifically citing Zika but noting that “other factors” played a role in the decision.

Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Vijay Singh are other golfers to have also said they won’t compete at Rio, mostly due to scheduling commitments.

This might not be the last of golfers to pull out. Jason Day, the No. 1 player in the world, earlier this month began to raise doubts that he would go to Rio because of Zika. They have two children, and he said his wife wants more.

“I don’t think it’s an Olympic issue. I don’t think it’s a Rio issue,” Day said at the Memorial. “I just think it’s a medical issue attached to what happens if I go there, get it and bring it back. They don’t know. The recommendation from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is ‘x.’ You don’t know how long it’s going to last in your body. So I’m a little wary about it.

“I’ve just got to make a smart, educated decision whether to go or not.”

Last month, 150 health experts issued an open letter to the U.N. health agency calling for the games to be delayed or relocated “in the name of public health.” The agency, the World Health Organization, responded that such steps would “not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus.”

The OCI said it has been taking its lead on the Zika situation from the International Olympic Committee.

“They have provided us with every assurance and we have total confidence that the games will be safe for all athletes,” the Dublin-based organization said.

WEIGHTLIFTING: Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus face one-year suspensions from international weightlifting competition following the retesting of samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, which may prevent lifters from those countries competing at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

The International Weightlifting Federation on Wednesday said final decisions on possible bans will be made after the International Olympic Committee makes a definitive ruling on the retests.

The three countries are facing bans because three or more positive cases from each were discovered during the retests. So far, 20 weightlifting cases have been found among the 55 positives in retesting of samples from all sports which the IOC has reported.

Rome’s bid for the 2024 Olympics is in serious trouble with the city’s new mayor maintaining her opposition to the candidacy.

“My position isn’t changing. Right now it’s really not a priority for Romans,” Virginia Raggi told Euronews on Wednesday in her first interview since being elected.

Raggi pointed to spiraling deficits in Olympic cities.

“Already with 13 billion euros ($15 billion) in debt, Rome can’t permit taking on more debt to make cathedrals in the desert,” she said.

Representing the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, Raggi won a runoff Sunday to become Rome’s first female mayor and, at age 37, also its youngest.

A jaguar was shot and killed at an Olympic torch event in Brazil when it escaped from its handlers and was shot by a soldier, according to a Brazilian army statement.

The jaguar was first tranquilized and then approached a soldier, after which it was shot.

“We guarantee that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016,” the local organizing Olympic committee said in a statement, according to Reuters.

“We made a mistake in permitting the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and unity, to be exhibited alongside a chained wild animal,” the group said. “This image goes against our beliefs and our values.”

The incident comes not just at a time of heightened scrutiny over the upcoming Olympic games in Rio, but also on incidents in which animals were killed after human interaction.

Last month, a gorilla was fatally shot after a boy fell into its Cincinnati zoo enclosure, sparking widespread condemnation and outcry. In New Mexico, officials captured a bear thought to have mauled a marathon runner Saturday and killed the animal.