Day 14 - Golf

Thursday - August 18, 2016

Today we shot our last event of these olympic games. This was the 15th event covered in 14 days. This last event was the 2nd round of Women's Individual Golf, played at the new Barra da Tijuca Olympic golf course. 

Golf has an interesting history in the Summer Games in that it was on the official program for the Olympics in 1900 and 1904, with 2016 being the first return for the sport to the Summer Olympic Games since 1904.  

At the end of today Team USA's Stacy Lewis is in first place after shooting a 63.

Day 13 - Decathlon

Wednesday - August 17, 016

Most of the day was spent at the Rio Olympic Arena watching the first three events of the Decathlon.  Going into the end of Day 1 Team USA's Ashton Eaton was in first place.

Decathlon is a combined event in athletics that spans two days and consists of 10 sports where competitors are judged on their performance and given points in each event.  Traditionally the winner of the Olympic decathlon is given the title of "World's Greatest Athlete".

  1. 100 meters
  2. Long jump
  3. Shot put
  4. High jump
  5. 400 meters
  6. 110 meter hurdles
  7. Discus throw
  8. Pole vault
  9. javelin throw
  10. 1500 meters

Today we also were able to see the final for the Steeplechase, where the Kenyan athlete C. Kipruto won the Gold with a new Olympic Record, and Team USA's Jager won the Silver with his season best time.

 

Day 12 - Velodrome

Tuesday - August 16, 2016

One of the events I was most looking forward to seeing in person.  A velodrome is an arena for track cycling featuring steeply banked oval tracks.  In order for the riders to stay perpendicular to the surface when they are riding on the banked tracks they have to travel at racing speeds, which can exceed 52 mph (85 km/h).

The riders in these events have special bicycles that have no brakes, and have a single fixed rear gear that does not freewheel.  This helps maximize speed and avoids sudden braking while allowing the rider to slow by pushing back against the pedals.

The Rio Olympic Velodrome was the last event venue to be completed as it was decided that the existing Velodrome used for the 2007 Pan American Games was dismantled in 2013 after it was not approved by the International Cycling Union for Olympic Events.  A new Velodrome shaped like a bicycle helmet was designed by German architects who had designed several Olympic cycling facilities.

Velodromes are built remotely and then delivered to their site to be reassembled, which in the case of the Rio Olympics was problematic, experiencing delays, changes in contractors and the delivery of the Velodrome delayed until the end of July 2016.  This meant that all test events were cancelled and the only testing of the track was accomplished by the cyclists training before their events occurred.

Although the day I attended was crash free there have been some spectacular mix ups in the Rio Olympic Velodrome so far these games.

Day 11 - Steeplechase

Monday - August 15, 2016

Today found us back at the Olympic Stadium for another day of Track & Field, which included the event of Steeplechase.

Steeplechase, for those who like me had never been exposed to it before, is an obstacle course race in athletics which got it's name from the steeplechase horse racing event. The event originated in Ireland, where they would race from one town's steeple to the next.  The steeple's were used as markers due to their visibility over long distances.  Along the way runners would have to jump streams and low stone walls separating the estates.  The University of Oxford sports in 1860 created a cross country version, and by 1865 they had created a flat field with barriers that became the modern steeplechase.

A 3,000 meter steeplechase is defined in the rulebooks at having 28 barriers and 7 water jumps.  

Note: Today Emma Coburn from the Team USA made history by winning the Bronze Medal in the Women's 3,000m Steeplechase.  She is the first woman  to win a medal in this event for Team USA.

Day 10 - Track & Field

Sunday - August 14, 2016

Today was the first time in the big Arena - Olympic Stadium.  The house was packed with 75,000 spectators for some big medal events like Men’s 100m and 400m.

The size and energy in this place is hard to articulate as it is enormous. This is the event and venue that is quintessential Summer Games. At times it was hard to focus on taking pictures as there were multiple events going on at the same time and it was a bit overwhelming just to be a spectator in such an monumental event.

Getting 75,000 people in and out is no small task.  We tried the new subway and rail system to get to the event which took about 2 1/2 hours. The trip included two buses, two subway transfers and a light rail.  All ran ok, and signage was better that what we have seen in other venues and transportation options. But, the trains and buses were absolutely packed with standing room only.

We will be returning for two more days of Athletics coverage…  Stay tuned.

Day 9 - Volleyball (Inside and Out)

Saturday - August 13, 2016

Today was all about Volleyball - Arena, Beach and the local scene.  

The morning started at Maracanazinho Arena for the men's match between Argentina and Cuba.  The Argentinean fans filled the stands to cheer their team on to a 3-0 win over Cuba.

That afternoon we moved over to the beach to watch Brazil take on the Russians in Men's Beach Volleyball.  One of the most impressive venues of these Olympics is the Copacabana Beach Volleyball Arena with a spectacular view.  This arena was filled by the home crowd, who cheered the two man Brazilian team to a win over Russia.

 

Brazil vs Russia, Beach Volleyball

Day 8 - Women's Gymnastics Trampoline Finals

Attended the Women's Gymnastics Trampoline Finals today.  Gymnastics is usually thought to be over once the all-around medals have been awarded, but there is a whole other field of competitors that perform their acrobatic acts in the air.  Here are just a few shots from the final round and the medal ceremony.

Today I hit the half way point for my Olympic adventure and there is still a lot to see and document.

Day 7 - Favela, from a safe distance

Thursday - August 11, 2016

Favela's, or slums, are located throughout the city, sometimes referred to as the "barrios".   Took a couple of pictures from a safe distance to show the surreal stacks of buildings that make up these neighborhoods.  

The news had a story yesterday about a military truck that made a wrong turn, and inadvertently entered a favela that is controlled by a drug lord.  The driver was killed, the other two soldiers were shot.  They were then taken to the edge of the neighborhood for the emergency medical staff to pick them up... this is just the way things work in the Favela.

Luckily the Uber drivers seem to know what shortcuts not to take...

Day 7 - Sightseeing

Thursday - August 11, 2016

We took the afternoon to play tourist and see some of the local sights around Rio.  Our two destinations that we chose to visit were Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue.

To get to Sugarloaf Mountain you have to take two glass walled cable cars to get to the 396 meter (1,299 ft) peak .  It sits at the edge of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean providing panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro.

Sugarloaf Mountain trivia - In the James Bond film, Moonraker, the villainous henchman Jaws attempts to kill 007 (Roger Moore) and Bond Girl, Dr. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles), on one of the cable cars. Luckily, they escaped leaving Jaws in the cable car to collide with a building at the bottom, which he somehow survived unharmed.

Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) stands 30 meters (98 ft) tall with an arm span of 28 meters (92 ft) - which for comparison is two-thirds the height of the Statue of Liberty.  It sits atop the 700 meter (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro.  It is listed as one of the seven wonders of the world since it was built between 1922 and 1931.

 

Day 7 - Women's Individual Archery

Thursday - August 11, 2016

Korea had a surprisingly large turnout at the Sambodromo Archery Arena today.  

Witnessed an interesting match up where Korea's Hyejin Chang went up against PRK (North Korea's) Un Ju Kang.  Hyejin Chang won this match and went on to take the Gold Medal in the final match up against German's Lisa Unruh.

Day 6 - Rained Out

Wednesday - August 10, 2016

Rain... Dark gray clouds descending on Rio today... cancelling or postponing most outdoor events.  We had a lunch meeting across town in Copacabana.  By the time we finished lunch, the rain had caused several accidents which evolved into some major gridlock.  We were stuck in an uber for hours trying to make it back to our evening event in Barra - RioCentral.  

As the hours stacked up we came to the realization that Day 6 was a bust... on to Day 7.

Day 5 - Basketball

Tuesday - August 9, 2016

Basketball - Argentina vs Croatia

Being a Blazer Season fan I am used to a vocal and energetic home team crowd, but nothing prepared me for the Argentinean spectators at the Olympic Basketball matchup against Croatia.  Besides being loud the entire game, they were on their feet, jumping, shaking the entire stands while waving their flag and chanting what sounded more like Futball songs than the typical basketball cheers of "Defense".  I think the entire country of Argentina may have attended the game.

Each day it takes about 2 - 3 hours to commute to each event, with at least a two mile walk through security to get to the venues.  Then a similar slightly shorter return commute to our temporary home.  If we do two events per day we can see up to 6 hours of commute time and I tracked 17,000 steps on Sunday - while carrying 30 pounds of camera equipment.

Day 5 - Equestrian Flyer

Tuesday - August 9, 2016

Decided that this series of photos deserved a separate post.  During jump 8 on the Eventing Jumping run by Team Brazil rider Ruy Fonseca, the rider made it over the fence without his horse.  Tom Bombadil Too (the horse) decided to put on the brakes giving his rider no choice but to take a flyer.

Both rider and horse walked away from the incident leaving behind a disappointed home crowd.

Day 5 - Equestrian Eventing Jumping

Tuesday - August 9, 2016

Spent the morning back out at the Equestrian Venue watching the medal rounds for the Eventing Jumping - both Team and Individual.  

But first the journey to get there is worth describing... we again ran into a guard that informed us that they do not allow cameras into the venue, but with 12 security tents to enter through we tried another and were allowed in no problem.  The security rules at the events seems to be subjective depending on guard that you end up with.  The security that you see on the streets and along the roads is primarily military.  Around 85,000 troops from all over Brazil are spread around Rio with their tanks, military vehicles, weapons and the Navy is even on scene to patrol the coastline in their battleships.  

The results from the Equestrian Event today saw one medal for Team USA - a bronze individual medal for Phillip Dutton.  The Gold and Silver in both the Team and Individual were shared by the French and German athletes.  

Day 4 - Fencing and Swimming

Monday, August 8, 2016

Morning schedule was Fencing at the Carioca Arena 3, where 4 simultaneous matches of Women's Sabre would occur on the floor at once.  Was able to watch Team USA's Mariel Zagunis in her match against Greece.

Where loud cheering is not the norm from the Fencing spectators, there is no controlling how the local crowd reacts when their athletes compete.  

The afternoon found us at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, where the guards were not wanting to let us in due to the amount of camera equipment we had with us.  We were able to talk our way in and found a crowd that was all about Team USA. 

Highlights were Michael Phelps in the 200M Butterfly and seeing Katie Ledecky pull away in her lane during the Women's 200M Freestyle to claim the win.

Day 3 - Equestrian Dressage

Sunday - August 7, 2016

Travelled to the Equestrian venue for what was billed as the Equestrian Eventing Day, but found Dressage was the new plan - it is Rio after all.

Beautiful animals and amazing connection between rider and horse.  Looking forward to going back and seeing the actual eventing day.

 

Day 2 - Boxing

Saturday - August 6, 2016

First day attending an actual event and Boxing was the venue of the day - Got to play with the big lens.

Preliminary bout for the 81Kg division.  

Brazil's Nogueira vs Australia's Whateley.  The home crowd went wild when Nogueira took the win.

Day 1 - 2016 Rio Olympics Opening Night

Friday - August 5, 2016

Spent the evening with the local crowds along Copacabana Beach while the official Opening Ceremony was occurring across town.

Thousands gathered to watch the light show projected on the famous Belmond Copacabana Palace, take their pictures in front of the Olympic Rings and sand sculptures lining the way to the Beach Volleyball arena and merchandizing tents.