We are absolutely exhausted… 10 events in 6 days. So I have some time to upload some photos while we relax. Here are more pics from the games… By the way, Jen has been the primary photographer and she’s done an amazing job.
That boy got some height
After setting a new Olympic and World Record in the hammer throw, everyone chanted Anita’s name.
After the men’s 3000m steeplechase heat, a little sportsmanship.
What happens to the hammer (the ball on a string) after the athlete throws it and it’s measured? Why they place it in a remote control truck and take it back.
I would like to apologize to the British family in front of me as I apparently hit them several times with the flag. But this is excitement when your country’s athlete is about to win gold!
1. I’ve seen the southern cross constellation.
2. Watched a Polish athlete set a new world record in the hammer throw.
3. I’m still amazed at the size of the crowds. Everywhere we go it’s a steady stream of people. I’m talking 5-6 people across for as far as the eye can see. There’s a lot of walking but not a lot of waiting.
4. We are officially Olympic veterans: we saw an American family standing confused, map in hand, trying to get directions. We were able to help them decipher all the stops, subway, busses and trains.
5. Speaking of busses, subways, and trains… for $50 we have unlimited use of Rio’s public transportation for the week.
6. We can’t board the train to the Olympic Park without an event ticket and the prepaid metro card.
7. We are having better luck finding good food. Although today I ate a pickled carrot. Yuck.
8. Several Brazalians have remarked that the games are good for them. So many were against it because of the economic situaton here, but seeing the world’s focus on them, they are now excited. It’s lifted the city’s and country’s morale.
9. There were 30 mph gusts today during the diving prelims yet the show went on. Much respect for those divers.
10. Steeplechase is an exciting event. I was so ho-hum about seeing the women’s 3000m steeplechase final, but I was on my feet, whipping my American flag as our runner finished third … the first medal ever for an American in the event.
Tomorrow, so far, is event free. Planning on checking out the Christ statue.
1. A monkey pooped on Jen this morning. They are small and behave like squirrels.
2. Jen made fun of this girl on the bus next to her. At one point Jen said that she loved the fact that no one understood English so she could speak freely. The woman sitting next to her spoke English.
3. Our dining experiences are an adventure. We think we order 1 thing, and something else is delivered.
4. A little boy followed me around a store. His mother asked me to speak o him in English. I did and gave him a fist bump, his face lit up.
5. We are exhausted. We had a couple of hours between Greco-Roman wrestling and the gymnastic individual events. We totally fell asleep on the grass near the tennis venue. Like snoring sleep.
6. I am so impressed with how efficiently Brazil is moving people through the venues. I haven’t had to wait in a line more than 3 minutes. Thats for bag checks, ticket entry, food and beverages. I am simply amazed at the number of people in this city right now.
7. Watching Simone win gold was impressive. Able to sing along with the National Anthem was an experience I will never forget.
8. It is impressive just how affordable everything is. They allow food and water into the arenas so you are not forced to buy theirs. But they still don’t overprice their food.
9. An incredble tribute to Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina competing in her 7th Olympics. She competed on the vault and was most likely her last competition. They ran a video tribute to her and she received a standing ovation.
10. Who wears a Tom Brady jersey to the Olympics?
I began to think that many of the stories from the Olympics and the idea of the Olympic spirit was hyperbole. But it’s not. The Olympic Spirit is actually a thing, it exists and it permeates everyone. On Friday we had tickets for indoor volleyball. The first match was Serbia versus China and the Serbs were impressive. The next match was Argentina versus Camaroon; both winless in their first Olympics.
Knowing we had 2 more events and that time was tight, I figured we’d catch a bit of the 1st set then leave. Then Camaroon entered the arena, exuberant and infectious. The arena erupted at their dance moves in warm-ups and the raw energy on display. It would be 2 hours before we left.
The game was not one of excellent volleyball skill or strategy but it was filled with passion. If you did not know their records, you would have thought you were watching a gold medal match. No one would concede a point; making plays that seemed impossible.
Now I’ve been to some great sporting events like the Super Bowl and the World Series. This volleyball match, between two winless teams, is one of the greatest sporting events I’ve ever been a part. 5 games. A six point rally by Argentina to win game 5 and the match.
But it was Camaroon and their dozen brightly clad fans in the stands. It was their absolute zeal after a teammate made a seemingly impossible play. But it was their Usain Bolt pose after every huge block that made the crowd roar and cameras click.
When the ball hit the floor for the final time, the jubilation and despair of each player unfolded on the court. The crowd, half which were Argentine, the rest from all over the world but pulling for Camaroon were still standing, clapping, and cheering in devout appreciation of what just occurred.
A day later, while talking to another spectator on the subway about volleyball, I mentioned this game. A lady turned, raised her hands to her temples and exclaimed in staggered English, “Argentina-Camaroon— yes, I was there… oh my god, what a game.”
Yes, I was there too. I came to Rio, excited to chant USA and waive the Stars and Stripes. But I found myself chanting Cam-A-Roon as respect for brilliant passion. To temporarily join that small, colorful clan in that ideal called the Olympic Spirit.
I really want to tell you about yesterday’s volleyball match between Argentina and Camaroon but we start our day at 7 am and don’t get back to the room until 9 or later. With spotty internet, it’s taking longer than expected. But here are the highlights/ observations from today.
1. I’m pretty sure we made Iranian tv as we stood directly under the Iranian flag during the 94kg men’s weightlifting medal ceremony.
2. It is challenging to find our way around. Every street seems like it’s named after a General.
3. We saw the Olympic cauldron with 300,000 of our closest friends. Not exagerrating, the streets were absolutely packed with people.
4. Jen and Iwere almost hit by a bus. It came careening around a corner and I pushed Jen one way and jumped back the other way. Jen said it felt like 3 minutes before the bus would pass and she knew I was safe.
5. There are fire extinguishers about every 10 feet.
6. I yelled at a cab driver in my best Portuguese to stop. He kept missing the turn and I was convinced he was just running the meter. Jen was convinced he was just dumb.
7. I have a new appreciation for weightlifting.
8. Nothing brings women of the world together like passing a roll of toilet paper while standing in line for the bathroom when all the stalls have run out of paper.
9. The architecture is beautiful.
10. People are really enjying themselves. I haven’t seen anyone lose their patience or get upset. It is a very jovial atmosphere everywhere we go.