Friday, August 12, 2016

Days Blurring, Long Walks Recurring


Monday to Thursday brought an array of astounding moments at Rio 2016.

Trading a pin to get in for Michael Phelps' first of several new Olympic gold medal swims probably tops the list.

Witnessing follow up medals for other USA swimmers and Hungary's "Iron Lady" also proved remarkable. 

I'm finding the combination of my Carioca 3 Press Mixed Zone credential, Rio Media Center badge and a pin with a smile usually does the trick to get most anywhere. 

Case in point, yesterday afternoon at the women's gymnastics individual all around finals, I arrived with a new Canadian friend from USA House and in lieu of heading to my section 40 seat it was easy to stroll in to the NBC executive seating area (just outside the Olympic Family lounge) and sit a row or two from Nastia Liukin and her colleagues providing live commentary from the event. 

SNL cast member and "Ghostbuster" Leslie Jones was there as well (see woman in white hat) cheering on Team USA. 

As she climbed the steep stairs in our section I loaned Jones a hand and told her my love and admiration of her comedy work (she was very friendly). 

We arrived for the third and fourth rotations, and it was very satisfying to watch Simone Biles and Aly Raisman on the balance beam and floor exercise before their medal ceremony. Raisman wept with joy upon completing what may be one of her final Olympic performances. Biles was simply beaming from the end of her routines to the medal presentation.

Here's a video interview with Raisman filmed at the Team USA Media Summit in March:


In the press mixed zone at fencing (personal photos not permitted), it was great fun to see Daryl Homer make Olympic history while earning a silver medal. Standing on the athlete side of the fencing, I offered to hold the mobile phone mic of USA Today columnist Christine Brennan, who used the recording for quotes in this report filed from the venue's media center. 

Chatting with Brennan after the Homer interviews, we compared notes on sharing May 14 as a birthday. She showed me a beautiful diamond and emerald ring she was given on her sixteenth birthday (my first birthday) and we talked about memories from the Los Angeles 1984 Games (her first as reporter and my first as fifth grade fan). 

In general the volunteer assignments at Carioca 3 (for Rio 2016) and at USA House (for U.S. Olympic Committee) proved very rewarding so far. In addition to the in-venue access, I'm earning a better understanding of the press selection process and the immense planning behind each media zone.

My confidentiality agreement for the USA House gig prevents me from detailing much about what I've seen and who I met inside, but it is fair to say more than five top American Olympians have come up to me to ask "Nick, what are you doing here?" leaving me beaming that this blogging is gaining more recognition after eight years of chipping away. 

The Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid presentation there is magnificent, and I hope they will grant permission to film it later during the Games. 

Outside of USA House on Wednesday night, as a parade of International Olympic Committee members exited to await their ground transportation, it was easy to strike up conversations with Kevin Gosper (Australia), Sergei Bubka (Russia) and several of their colleagues -- walked away with significant National Olympic Committee (NOC) pins including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Chile and several small islands. Meeting the Japanese IOC members to talk about Tokyo 2020 was enriching. 

I feel pleased to have made several new friends each day. My flatmate Joanne, who is heading  back to the USA this afternoon, seems to have loved her first Games experience (she just texted from the Christ the Redeemer statue where she posed for a selfie with Olympic diving legend Greg Louganis). 

The long walks from transportation to the venues -- and the lack of in-venue food -- are my only complaints. But it's all good. Why Dr. Scholl's is not here peddling foot pads is beyond comprehension. 

Heading soon to watch Kim Rhode in her sixth Olympic skeet shooting match. More updates during the weekend. Thank you for reading and sharing the blog!

Photos and video by Nicholas Wolaver

2 comments:

tom cross said...

Usain Bolt is the first man to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records since fully automatic time became mandatory. He also holds the world record in the 4 × 100 metres relay. He is the reigning World and Olympic champion in these three events. Usain Bolt Unbeatable - Rio 2016 Champion Career Tribute

tom cross said...

Usain Bolt Unbeatable - Rio 2016 Champion Career Tribute
Usain Bolt is the first man to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records since fully automatic time became mandatory. He also holds the world record in the 4 × 100 metres relay. He is the reigning World and Olympic champion in these three events. Usain Bolt Unbeatable - Rio 2016 Champion Career Tribute
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-N1fp3zRysWomen's 200m, Final Rio 2016 Olympic Games </a>

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