Check one off the bucket list – I've officially attended my first Olympic Games.
Since I am sure you were all inundated with exaggerated or blatantly false information regarding the games, I will attempt to provide you with in insider's point of view from Rio 2016.
First, some context (aka my credentials):
- I was in Brazil for entirety of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- I speak Portuguese.
- I have friends who were working for the games.
- I know and I spoke with athletes competing in the games.
- I attended a total of ten events, the Olympic Closing Ceremony, the Paralympic Opening Ceremony, and the Paralympic Closing Ceremony.
Basically, you can believe everything I'm about to tell you. And here we go:
- You could buy 1/2 price student tickets online for any event and enter the stadium with them (nobody checked).
- Once inside a stadium, you could basically sit wherever you wanted (I don't think I ever sat in my assigned seat).
- The public transportation (buses) got incredibly full at times and you would have to wait for six or seven buses to pass before there was space for anyone.
- The majority of the events took place quite far from Rio de Janeiro's Zona Sul (where the majority of people stay when in Rio).
- The military presence on the streets of Rio was intense. Huge assault rifles everywhere.
- The Paralympics were awesome (and far less expensive than the Olympics). 10/10, would go again.
- It was incredibly hot some days and the Olympic Park (where many of the events were) had very few shaded areas (see below).
- The Olympic Village was apparently not up to snuff with those of previous countries.
- Times I heard the word “zika”? Zero.
- Ryan Lochte is a douche.