An Olympic lifeguard has hit back at claims his role is ‘useless’.
James Meyers, who has volunteered for the Olympic Games since 2008, sat down with the Insider and said it’s ‘essential’ he keeps his eyes on the swimmers, even if they are the best in the world.
He explained: “It’s not just the athletes we have to look after, often you have outside groups that use the pool in between trials’ prelims and the finals.
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“We’re not just lifeguarding the athletes, we are also lifeguarding for those events.
“We’ve never had to go in for an athlete, it’s always been for everyone else.”
He added: “We hope not to have a role but we do. When we are called upon we have to be prepared for it.”
Meyers felt the need to defend being a lifeguard when he saw that a meme was circulating about the Rio 2016 Olympics.
It read: “If you feel useless today, remember somebody is working as a lifeguard at the Olympics.”
The volunteer said: “It is a misconception that we’re useless. Unfortunately, people do get hurt so we have a role.
“Of the four Olympic trials where I’ve been a lifeguard, this year was the first we didn’t have to get in the water.”
Although the lifeguards may be filling their duties at the Games, it hasn’t gone without hitches in other areas.
Earlier this week, an Olympic commentator was fired over a racist comment they made about a South Korean athlete.
Dimosthenis Karmiris, a Greek sports TV commenter, made the remark about table tennis player Jeoung Young-sik’s eyes.
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