RIO DE JANEIRO -- Faster. Higher. Scareder?That has been the takeaway from many stories leading into these Rio Olympics, what with the heavily covered potential risks of the Zika virus, bacteria in the water, terrorist threats, widespread city crime and lodging problems. There also has been thorough coverage about athletes doping, particularly the many banned Russians.Are the Olympians worried about being here? Some have concerns, sure, but they certainly are not letting that curb their enthusiasm to compete.There are concerns that are definitely there, U.S. tennis player Rajeev Ram said, but we were well-prepared and went through a lot of precautions we need to take, and I think if we didnt all feel comfortable about being here we probably wouldnt. I think everyone on the team is real comfortable with the environment situation and looking forward to having a successful Olympics.American diver David Boudia, a gold medal winner who competed in London and Beijing, where there also were stories about negative areas surrounding the Games, said the negative coverage leading into Rio has been overblown.Every Games has the hot-topic issues, and this one is no different, Boudia said. Theyre going to have issues. I said at the Olympic trials, we expect to go in there and it to be absolutely amazing, and it isnt steering wrong so far. They seem like theyre on top of their game. Obviously, theyre getting some last-minute things patched up, but I feel like thats what Athens 2004 [was like]. For the athletes, its great.Abby Johnston also says much of the possible negative aspects here have been too sensationalized, particularly the risk of Zika. In addition to being a silver medal-winning diver, Johnston is a medical student at Duke who thoroughly researched Zika before the Olympics. She says she learned that the threat of getting the virus is very, very slim. She says she hasnt seen any mosquitoes (it is Brazils winter).Im constantly spraying myself just to be proactive, she said. But we have Zika in the U.S. now, too.There are significant water bacteria issues in Rio, but sculler Gevvie Stone said in a U.S. Rowing release that the cleanliness of the water has been above expectations. And there also are serious issues with the water in Flint, Michigan, home of boxer Claressa Shields. So the 2012 gold medalist isnt worried here.I never had to deal with Zika in Flint but just with the water and everything, I kind of block it out, Shields said, adding she too thinks the media has focused too much on the negative. The athletes who decided not to come to Rio because of the Zika virus definitely made a big mistake. Its not that big of a deal. The mosquito spray works perfectly fine. I havent been bitten yet, and Ive been here three weeks.I really feel bad for the athletes who pulled out just because of hearing about the Zika virus and being afraid of it.While there were complaints from the Australian team about the Olympic village, the U.S. athletes were enthusiastic about the accommodations.When I walked into the village, I was like, Am I in London? Am I in Beijing? Boudia said. As far as the buildings are concerned, it seems the exact same. The village is gorgeous. ... As far as everything else, its another Games but a different location.There were concerns about terrorist attacks at Athens in 2004 and London in 2012 as well, but nothing happened. That is the hope here.I feel very secure, Johnston said. We have this national security or police force walking around with machine guns, so you cant really feel any safer than when you have that around you. And we have security outside our buildings, with metal detectors coming inside the village.To me it feels very similar to London, and I felt safe there.Apart from health and safety issues, doping by athletes also has been a frequently covered story, particularly with more than a hundred Russian athletes being banned, including the countrys track and field team.Obviously, its not something that is very good for sport, Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic said. Russia is a global power in sport, and to hear and to read about what was happening in the last couple of months was definitely from an athlete perspective not good. Not good for Russia, not good for international sport, not good for the Olympic Games.Doping is never good, but the issue definitely is not limited to Rio 2016. This comes up at every Olympics, said superstar U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps, owner of more Olympic medals than anyone in history.Whatever the stories, U.S. rugby player Madison Hughes says he is just happy to help bring his sport back to the Olympics for the first time in 92 years.Im still caught up in the excitement of the Olympics, Hughes said. Im not too worried at all. Im kind of trusting in whats happening. I feel like before every Olympics, theres a big panic about things going wrong. I remember before Athens it was that none of the venues are ready.Im hopeful everythings going to work out. And from what weve seen so far, everything is good.Of course, the rugby team has been here only a day. But teammate Danny Barrett says he is looking forward to seeing what Brazil has to offer. Whatever risks there might be are not a concern for him. Competing in the Olympics is a much more important focus.For my Olympic dream, Barrett said, I dont think anything would ever stop me. J. T. 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Theres been plenty of change at club level for the Socceroos but coach Ange Postecoglou will be keen to maintain their winning ways as they resume their World Cup qualifying effort.With the A-League in hiatus, Postecoglou is likely to turn to his overseas-based stars, and therefore many of his most experienced heads, when he announces his squad on Wednesday for two matches next month.Australia face Iraq in Perth on September 1 and United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi five days later in the next phase of the road to Russia 2018.But many will be jumping on planes to Western Australia from unfamiliar settings as they adjust to new homes.Tim Cahill leads the changes, having left Chinese football for A-League club Melbourne City.While much has been made of the 36-year-olds fitness on his arrival in Melbourne, hes actually played club football more recently than other A-League players, having turned out for previous club Hangzhou Greentown last month.It could be slim pickings for other A-League stars, given the lack of competitive football since the end of the league last May.Locally-based Socceroos Alex Wilkinson - now of Sydney FC - and James Troisi - at Melbourne Victory after ending a Chinese sstint - havent started a match in months and could miss out as a result.ddddddddddddJamie Maclaren, Matt McKay, Jason Geria and Josh Ridson will also be disavantaged by a lack of local football.But other Socceroos with new club homes will return.Aaron Mooy, having left Melbourne City for English club Huddersfield, via a loan from Manchester City, and left-back Brad Smith, now of Bournemouth after leaving English Premier League rival Liverpool, will come in.Even captain Mile Jedinak could make an unfamiliar commute, heavily linked with a move away from Crystal Palace after being stripped of the clubs captaincy.Second-tier Aston Villa is a mooted destination for the 32-year-old midfielder.The Iraq and UAE matches begin the third stage of Asias qualifying route to the 2018 World Cup.While all of Australias preivous qualifying opponents have sat outside the FIFAs top 100-ranked sides, the next series of home and away matches will be tougher.Iraq and UAE were semi-finalists at last years Asian Cup, while Japan, Saudi Arabia and Thailand complete the Socceroos group. 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