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Hotter Than Toronto in July

It typically wouldn’t mean much, for for those who lived through one of the hottest summers in Toronto, they’ll know that this is REALLY hot. Usually, hardly anyone goes in the water here unless they have a surfboard. I really don’t know why – maybe there is an undertow, I just haven’t found any time to test it out.

It’s 35 degrees today and even the stiff breeze feels hot. The locals are in the water in droves and the village support staff are looking for shade – as we all are. It’s simply suffocating, and it’s tough to keep hydrated.

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I’m in the village for a few meetings, one of them with the Korean Paralympic Committee’s Secretary General (that would be the CEO in international sport parlance). Our Asian friends tend to be more formal. When we meet at the hotel, it’s suit and tie, but in the village at 35 degrees, I am going with shorts and a T-shirt and hope I don’t cause an international incident!

The typical picture is all of us standing in front of an appropriate background, as if all we did was stand around and smile for pictures. We actually have meaningful discussions, sometimes through an interpreter which makes it a bit tricky but we get used to it. Nobody is wearing a suit to my relief, but everyone else is wearing a team jacket despite the temperature.

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I’m still thinking it’s way too hot to be outside and head to an indoor venue to watch a bit of sport. It’s amazing how some days we barely see any sport even though there are 4500 athletes competing.

I choose to go to Goalball, a sport for athletes with a visual impairment. The players must all be legally blind – but for good measure they apply opaque eye patches AND blacked out goggles so the athletes are truly in the dark and must rely on sound (the ball has small bells in it) and touch (the lines have a small cord in them so that the players can “feel” where they are on the court with their fingertips.

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Now here is the real challenge in Rio: How do you tell Brazilians to be silent at a sport event? Because, these little bells in the ball are no competition for five thousand Brazilian fans who have decided to pick sides right off the bat in the match between Canada and Sweden. The poor referees just about have a nervous breakdown but eventually the crowd gets the message and the game can proceed.

I sure hope it’s a bit cooler tomorrow for the cycling time trials!

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