Finally in Brazil for Rio2016
After 34 years working with Sports, I finally arrive in my native Brazil to feel what is like to be the Centre of the World of Sports, to host the biggest, most prestigious Sport Event in the World (forgive me football fans – and I am a big one – but The Olympic Games are like nothing else I have ever experienced. That’s why I have decided to write about my daily experiences here; a bit of news people would not know otherwise sprinkled with curiosities, details and good humour. I simply cannot live without a sense of humour.
Well, back to reality. The Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) has just upheld the ban of Russian Athletes from Rio 2016 over the alleged state sponsored doping regime and the International Media is full of articles putting pressure on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to extend it to all Russian Athletes.
Still, on television there is an extensive coverage of the Olympic Flame tour. The torch arrived in the State of São Paulo this week and on Sunday I will be carrying it in the Capital São Paulo city, precisely at Avenida Ibirapuera not very far at all from where I was born , Itaim, precisely the location where I am now, too. Like many before me who have carried the torch and written about it, I am honoured, humbled and super excited. My 2 children Luke (18) and Julia (14) are with me and some of my brothers and sisters and their children will be there to witness it. (Personally, I believe Rio2016’s is one of the most beautiful torches ever – the design is original and stunning and it has been made with recycled material)
In the hotel breakfast room I can see a chinese team – training here before flying to Rio next week. In another table, a team from McDonalds debating the logistics of all the immense amount of work they have been doing about the Games. Next table, a few business people from South America – can’t hear exactly what they are saying but they ARE talking about the Games. And we are in São Paulo NOT in Rio yet. The buzz of the Games are taking over the country.
Part of my job is to read everything that is published around the world about the Rio Olympics. Therefore, I know very well there have been a lot of bad press. However, this has also enabled me to find out so many great things about Brazil & Brazilians from amazing unknown heroes who have set up social programmes which have positively impacted society all over the country. The torch relay is packed with them – alternated by athletes from all sports who have represented my country (and others) with pride and passion.
Nearly one year ago, Rio 2016 released this photo. No words are necessary.
I have already checked my tickets: I have bought dozens of them!! Every time I bought a bunch I felt excited. When I picked them up – in London – and now in São Paulo I felt the sort of excitement that makes you slightly sick in the stomach. Seriously!! Some people asked me why i bothered buying tickets. Well, for a start my children, relatives and friends will go together to some of the 306 events of 42 sports in their own country!
And here I mus point out a decision made by the Rio 2016 Committee which I could not be prouder about: “Nobody, and I mean NOBODY will be given tickets for free”. It might be simplistic for all of you reading this but, in Brazil, the habit of expecting to be invited to every important event/party/launch is a nation sport. This rule means no politician, singer, actor, sports person, TV presenter and pseudo celebrity will get anything for free for themselves or their relatives. You can’t see me now but I am giving it a standing ovation! And that’s a good way to finish today’s post