Olympic fears are ‘blowing in the wind’

on August 2016 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

We have once again been submerged into the Olympic games and as par for the course, letting these it engulf us like a warm, fuzzy hoody on a late summer’s night. We gather with friends to watch and discuss the wall-to-wall offerings of sport. To impress those friends we regurgitate small pieces of wisdom that we steal from the radio announcer we just listened to on the way over; or from a TV anchor that highlighted the day for us, or we even steal those tasty nuggets of info from little known <cough, cough> writers who have already done the stealing for you. Example: The bronze medal in the Women’s 4x100m freestyle relay was the first for Canadian women in the pool since 1996! Or you could state the absolutely obvious fact that Penny Oleksiak, who on Sunday also won a Silver medal in the 100m butterfly, is the sister of Jamie Oleksiak who plays for the Dallas Stars. See, that one earns you a bonus point for somehow introducing a hockey fact too. The cool thing about the Olympics in general is that there is so much going on in a day that you rarely have the same facts to share.

With the levels of fear being over and above what we are accustomed too before a games, it was a relief to see that the Opening Ceremonies went off without a hitch and done with a Brazilian flare that was pleasing to the eyes, the ears and to the soul. The bright colours, the music and their wonderful dancing raised our spirits but organizers also took the time to raise our awareness. After all, Brazil and the Amazon Jungle are the lungs of the world and something must be done to preserve it. I had no issue therefore as they broke tradition and had all five rings be the colour of green which coincided with that message, nor with their planting over 11,000 trees (one for each athlete) and calling it the Athlete’s Forest. Finally, how does Brazil captivate the world with just one song and with just one girl walking across the Maracanã stadium? Well, it is really easy if the song is Girl from Ipanema and the girl is super model Giselle Bundchen. And yes, before you want to reach out and spoil my fun by saying she is taken, I already knew that. I’m sure Giselle will be busy consoling Tom Brady now that he has a four game suspension to sit out.

As for the games themselves there hasn’t been as much disruption as was originally feared. I completely understand we are just two days in so there is still plenty of time for things to sour. For now though, there have been a couple of cases of attempted robbery on athletes and ministers, with the Brazilian people having actually help caught one of the suspected culprits. There was also an unattended bag that looked suspicious near the end of the men’s cycling event. Security took no chances and created a controlled explosion to detonate the bag. In fact, out of all the fears that people had coming into these Olympics, and trust me, there were a lot of them, the real disruptive force on this opening weekend was the one thing everybody thought would not be an issue. The weather.

The wind has kicked up a few notches and is being difficult on rowers as many of their heats and repechage had to be postponed. The wind played havoc with some of the clay targets in shooting and even tennis had to be delayed at times because of the wind. It will definitely be a challenge for organizers to get things back on track. Hopefully they can manage as we want all media to be focused on the athletes and their story in these Olympics, not another story on the Olympics themselves. Stories like Bronze medalist Sandra Mainville being surprised by her parents. So be proud as you celebrate Canada’s two medals so far; be in awe that US Swimmer Michael Phelps has won yet another gold medal to add to the gajillion (actually 18) gold medals he won previously; be as loud as you can as you cheer on the Women’s Rugby 7s having earned a berth in the quarterfinals; or, quite simply, just admire how far the world has come as judo-specialist, Majlinda Kelmendi won the first ever Olympic medal for Kosovo at her country’s first ever Olympics. It was gold.

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