Health and Science

Soccer star Hope Solo decides to go to the Rio Olympics despite Zika concerns

Hope Solo: 'Begrudgingly' going to Rio
Hope Solo: 'Begrudgingly' going to Rio

Hope Solo, goalkeeper for the U.S. women's soccer team, told CNBC she's still concerned about the mosquito-born Zika virus, but she's decided to "begrudgingly" participate in this year's Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

In February, Solo said she would not go to the Rio Olympics if she had to choose then, citing concerns about Zika, which in pregnant women can lead to the birth defect microcephaly and other severe brain abnormalities in their babies.

But in April, Solo said she would go, while still expressing reservations.

"I strongly believe that no athlete should be put into this position — to decide between your Olympic dreams and your own health," Solo told "Squawk Box" on Tuesday.

At the London Olympics in 2012, the U.S. women's soccer team won its fourth gold medal. Last summer, the team won the Women's World Cup for the third time.

As a competitor, Solo said she decided to participate in the games because there's a chance to set a new standard. "It's never been done where we've won the World Cup and backed it with an Olympic championship."

But Solo said she's going to take precautions. "I'm not sure I'm even going to be leaving the hotel room, outside of practice." She also said she's concerned about the health of her fans, family and friends attending the Olympics.

Meanwhile, Solo and four of her teammates are fighting a different battle.

The five have filed a federal wage discrimination complaint, claiming they are paid less than male players, even though the women's team generates more income for the United States Soccer Federation.

"I think it's pretty clear that we're willing to go as far as we need to go to push for women's rights and equality," said Solo, who added she hopes to get a response from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in six months or so.

U.S. Soccer said in a statement that developing women's soccer was a top priority, according to a Reuters report on the discrimination complaint. "We are committed to and engaged in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that addresses compensation," the statement said.

The women's team has had far more on-field success than the men's team, which has never won a World Cup. The men made it to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, their best showing since 1930.

— Reuters contributed to this report.