Rio 2016: Lessons Learned

Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil

Having the luck to be the British Ambassador to Brazil during the Olympics was weird and wonderful. Here are a few observations.

1. The Games were true to Rio. They looked great, they were fun and a bit rough around the edges. That’s what people come to Rio for; not the intermodal transport system (although that was pretty good too).

2. Usain Bolt won the 100 metres before he stretched into the blocks. A walk down the track before the start to the whole crowd chanting his name, and the rest were fighting for second.

3. The booing from the Brazilian crowd comes from football and from the desire to participate. You can’t just spectate in Brazil; when you parade in the Rio carnival the spectators are dressed and dancing as much as you.

4. The joy of the stars from the individual sports was a joy for everyone else. From the moment Andy Murray bounced off the plane to his victory hug of Del Potro, he was living the best of the games. So too Justin Rose, who delayed his departure by a day to savour the atmosphere. There will be another US Open winner, but they can’t take the gold medal away from you.

5. You can wear the wrong trainers. I had no idea. But you can. I did, when Justin Rose came to see the British House. I was put on track the next day.

6. Athletics, which was what the Olympics was all about when I was young, has growing competition from other sports. But the middle distance races remain gripping; my favourite was David Rudisha, fighting his way out of the trouble caused by his compatriots (!) to stride majestically to the defence his 800 metres Olympic title.

7. The Olympics is not a place for those suffering from Fear Of Missing Out; there’s too much going on in too many places. The 16 different channels on Sport TV did help, though.

8. Almost every participant in the games loses. Some do so with joy, a few with resignation, some with pain. To watch Hannah Miley, after 12 years of Olympic training, get caught in the dying metres and so add a 4th to her 5th and 6th places is to see agony unfold.

9. What happens in Rio does not stay in Rio, chaps.

10. And finally; get ready for this:

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