Rory McIlroy Withdraws From Rio Olympics Due to Zika Fears
Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, acknowledges the crowd as he walks off the 18th hole after his round during the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, May 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)Bob Leverone / AP
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Golf superstar Rory McIlroy will not be heading to Rio.
The No. 3-ranked golfer in the world said concerns about the Zika virus have prompted him to withdraw his name from consideration for the Summer Olympics.
"My health and my family's health comes before anything else," McIlroy said in a statement Wednesday. "Even though the risk of infection from the Zika virus is considered low, it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take."
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The move marks a rapid about-face for the Northern Irish athlete, who earlier in June said initial concerns about the virus had eased.
Studies back up the claims that 500,000 athletes and fans scheduled to attend the Olympics will not be at an unusually high risk of infection.
Lisa McNally is an editor on NBC News' London-based international desk.
Cassandra Vinograd is a Senior Writer and News Editor. Before joining NBC News, she worked as a London-based correspondent for The Associated Press and specialized in politics, foreign affairs and defense.
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