Fearing Zika virus, defending gold medalist will freeze sperm before Rio 2016 Olympics

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Greg Rutherford is taking no chances with the Zika virus. USATSI

Potential Olympic athletes worldwide have expressed concern over the Zika outbreak that is heavily affecting the Americas.

While some athletes have withdrawn from the Rio 2016 Olympics entirely, dozens of others have voiced public concern over heading to Brazil for competition.

Defending long jump gold medalist Greg Rutherford, however, is taking extra precaution. The British 29-year-old will reportedly freeze his sperm before heading to the Olympics.

The decision was printed in an article for London's Evening Standard newspaper, which was written by Rutherford's wife, Susie Verrill.

Verrill also said that she and the couple's son, Milo, will not be making the trip to Rio:

"We've also made the decision to have Greg's sperm frozen. We'd love to have more children and with research in its infancy, I wouldn't want to put myself in a situation which could have been prevented. Specialists still also don't know the ins and outs of Zika, so even though it looks as though there's no real issues should Milo get bitten, it's just another thing we don't want to chance."

The Zika virus is suspected of causing thousands of babies to be born with underdeveloped brains. As a result, the World Health Organization has declared Zika a global public health emergency.

Rutherford won gold at the 2012 London Olympics and won the world championships last year in Beijing. He will head to Rio as the favorite to bring home the gold yet again.

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