Rio Olympics Blog — Day Eight: The fun begins

People at the media center watching the opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on TV

It’s finally here.

Nearly nine years after the IOC announced Rio de Janeiro as the hosts for the 2016 Olympics, after many years of build up and after apoplectic story after apoplectic story, the Olympics have arrived.

Before the ceremony began though, we got to speak briefly with Karen Crouse of the New York Times. She’s primarily covering swimming, which will be over in the next five days. It was really a good discussion. She gave us tips, asked us what we were doing, both now and after the games, and talked a bit about the games. The thing that stuck with me the most is what she said in the middle of the conversation. “They’re just people who happen to be really great at something.” I think that’s worth remembering both through the next 2-and-a-half weeks and going further on.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go to the Opening Ceremony at the Maracana; one of the negatives of being a “volunteer” with But we got what’s likely to be the next best thing. We ended up watching the ceremony in a lounge in the front of the media center in the Olympic Park with about 50 or so media members and other volunteers.

As the ceremony started, I could see the Brazilian volunteers well up with pride; some were even brought to tears by the spectacle. There are problems with the Olympics and there are problems with Brazil and Rio de Janeiro and those problems will still exist after the closing ceremony in 17 days’ time. But I’m sure this is a great moment for most of the Brazilians to have the world’s spotlight on their country.

The coolest moment, though, was getting to ready the media guide on the ceremony before hand on Friday and then seeing it there on the television. Even though I knew just about everything that was going to happen, I didn’t feel the suspense ruined for me. Instead, it made me more intrigued to see how it would play out on the stage.

Also, if you’re wondering who the guy singing the national anthem was and what that plane thing was towards the beginning of the ceremony, I have brief profiles I wrote about them for here (Paulinho da Viola) and here (Alberto Santos-Dumont).

But the best part of the ceremony? No commercials. I saw numerous tweets and texts complaining about the commercials and tape delays NBC was making Americans sit through for this ceremony. That makes not being at the Maracana like a small issue. Sorry guys.

Saturday will be a very fun day. I have to cover men’s doubles rowing at 10:30 a.m. for the Providence Journal, which means I need to be there at 9:30 a.m. since I have no idea where anything at the rowing venue is at. Fortunately, it’s just a 350-word story that’s needed and the deadline is roughly 10 hours after the event concludes. No sweat.

It’s finally here. Let the games commence.

Miles walked today: 5.56

Total miles walked: 44.07

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