Record Crowds – Sometime We Even Make It!
If there was any fear to be had in relation to these games, it was none of the topics listed prior to the games starting. As I said, zero mosquitos to be seen although there a rumours some people have seen a couple. No report of widespread crime or problem with personal safety. Walking in Barra is kind of like walking in Mississauga. And those empty stands? You’d have to go to the park at 7AM to see them because they have been absolutely packed.
So what problems are we encountering? Not ones the press would pounce on as newsworthy, and we knew they were going to be a problem as soon as the budget cuts were announced. Not big problems, and not really an issue for the athletes most of the time.
And why did we know it was going to be a problem? I guess call it a hunch – or experience would describe it better. There are places in the world where order is at the top of the list, other where it’s not. Anyone for Brazilian watch precision? So we’ve had to plan for people getting lost, extra travel time, and sudden changes in policy and schedules no-one has heard of at the front lines. Checking ahead of time is pretty useless – just go with the flow.
It does hurt us a bit, but not much. As leaders of the organization, we alway go see our athletes, a challenge when you have 162 of them in venues throughout the city. When you no longer have a car or reliable transport, it’s a big challenge. Who cares? Surprisingly the athletes do, and I’m always surprised how happy they are that we came over to see them compete. And athletes do like encouraging other athletes in a different sport, and they don’t get to see other sport very often. Michelle Stillwell, still fresh from her Gold Medal race, decided to visit the Rowing venue
And because we are constantly on the go, we rely on food in the lounges at each venue. It’s usually OK and nutritious although I never saw anyone pack a takeout container. But nibbles here and there keep us going. Here we have trail mix, and salami sandwiches – everywhere…I will not tolerate the sight of salami for months once I get home.
But the crowds are fantastic and that’s where Brazil shines. Packed house cheering loudly for every athlete, and mind numbingly loudly for any Brazilian competitor. It does make a difference! Packed house for a Canada vs Nederlands cheering long rallies, big smashes and big blocks.
And my security worry yesterday? The organizers brought more beer tickets than beer cans so they were running out of beer as the tickets were still being sold. I quickly went back behind security just in case…