There Are Some Pretty Strange Jobs At The Olympics

Like, why do Olympic swimmers need a lifeguard? 🏊

The Olympians are the obvious stars of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, but behind every athlete is a team of people who help make each competition possible.

Many took to social media this week muse about what exactly the lifeguard at Rio’s Olympic Aquatics Stadium is even doing.

But Brazilian law requires lifeguards to patrol all pools larger than 20 feet by 20 feet, according to Business Insider. Plus, it’s probably good to have someone around just in case of an accident or emergency, something Anderson Fertes ― a 39-year-old health club lifeguard from Rio working at the Olympics ― called a “one-in-a-million type of event.”

“I don’t think they’ll need us, but we’ll be on the lookout just in case,” Fertes told The New York Times.

But the lifeguards don’t have the only unusual gig at the Rio Olympics.

Sweat Moppers

OK, so “sweat moppers” isn’t their official title, but that is a big part of what some janitorial teams do at the Olympic Games.

Workers practice sweeping in tandem on the playing court at the basketball venue prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de
Workers practice sweeping in tandem on the playing court at the basketball venue prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016.

The janitorial staff that cleans the courts where sports like badminton, basketball and indoor volleyball are played are vital to the athletes, who risk an injury if the surface below them gets too slippery with perspiration.

“It is not the most glamorous job, but we’re on TV—and we’re in the Olympics,” elite badminton player Ainsley Richards told the Wall Street Journal in 2012, when she worked on the janitorial staff at the London Olympics.

Pool Scuba Diver

When American swimmer Kathleen Baker lost a pearl earring at the bottom of the Olympic Aquatics Stadium pool on Monday, a scuba diver came to the rescue.

A diver has also entered the Olympic waters to fix cameras situated at the bottom of the pool, according to Reuters correspondent Mark Trevelyan.

Condom Deliverer

The BBC reported there are pictures circulating on social media of a man named Eric whose job it is to walk around the Games providing condoms for athletes.

The International Olympic Committee confirmed it would provide 450,000 condoms, or 42 condoms per athlete, at the Olympic Village this year.

A media spokesman from the International Olympic Committee told The Huffington Post there are “people walking around the village filling the condom dispensers.”

Ball People

It would be incredible if any of the Olympic tennis athletes could keep ahold of those bouncy balls used in the game. Since they can’t, there is a need for ball people.

One ball boy was heckled after failing to throw a ball in Serena Williams’ direction, according to the Rio 2016 website.

“Throw the ball properly, my son,” someone yelled from the stands.

Basket Crew Members

A group of volunteers are present at each race on the track to assist the runners, carrying athletes’ tracksuits, hats, iPods and other accessories from the start to the finish line. The Daily Mail reported many volunteers working in 2012 got a kick out of watching Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt prepare for each race.

Bolt has been known to interact with the volunteers for his races.

These are just a few of the unusual jobs that keep the games running smoothly. We salute you, background players ― keep up the good work.

This article has been updated with a comment from the International Olympic Committee about condom delivery. 

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