06.08.2016 - 06.08.2016
Today was the first day of the Olympics!
Last night I slept rather well… until around 4am when one of the roommates began to snore quite loudly. It gave me flashbacks to the roommate I had throughout my tour of Iran, though his snoring was far worse.
I was up early at 6am to get ready to head out to my first Summer Olympic event: men’s team archery! I made the short walk to the metro station and made my way to the Sambodromo where the event was being held. Upon reaching the venue I realized – to my horror – that I had grabbed the wrong ticket: I had my ticket for fencing, not for archery! In a panic, I ran back to the metro and rushed back to the hostel to retrieve the correct ticket. The metro ride was 30min – one way – and thankfully I had left early enough that I made it back with mere minute to spare before archery began.
Seating was done by sections and within each section you could sit wherever you wanted. For this event I was in the lower section and I scored a very good seat close to the archers. There were four matches during this event.
France vs. Malaysia
6 – 2
I was quite pleased to be able to see France participate and even more pleased when they won their match.
Netherlands vs. Spain
5 – 1
I found myself cheering for the Dutch team for whatever reason. They did quite well against Spain, beating them with a tie in their final round.
Here's a video I took of Netherlands archer Mitch Dielemans:
Brazil vs. China
2 – 6
The stadium erupted in cheers when the Brazilian team appeared and each time they would score a 10 (bull’s eye). Sadly for the Brazilian fans, the Chinese team easily outperformed them.
Taipei vs. Indonesia
2 – 6
This match I was not particularly invested in, though it was still fun to watch.
When the match ended it was only 10:30 and I had thought that the event lasted until 1pm; I was surprised when the announcer bid us all farewell and announced that additional matches would be held at 2pm.
I made my way out of the stadium, grabbing a quick bite to eat at the concession stand. The hamburger was so-so; there is something about either the meat and/or the cheese that I’m not a fan of (I had the same reaction to a McDonald’s burger I had during my layover in Sao Paolo).
I decided to skip my sightseeing event this afternoon (going to see Christ the Redeemer) and instead decided to buy a ticket to see the afternoon archery session. The afternoon would have Team USA perform and I was interested to see how they did. The ticket line was quite short – there was only one person in front of me. I sat in line for nearly 2 hours waiting to get the fucking ticket. At first I thought the person in front of me was being difficult, but it quickly became apparent that the vendors had no clue what they were doing. There were people in other lines having the same issues: the cashiers had no idea how to sell the tickets or use their computers. The language barrier became an even bigger issue: many other people in line (from France, China, Australia) were trying to speak English to the cashiers, but none of them spoke English (this despite all signage being bi-lingual). There was one guy who spoke English and he was quite helpful. When it was finally my turn, it still took nearly 45 minutes for them to actually sell me the damn ticket. Needless to say, I was frustrated and exhausted afterwards (we were all standing around in the blazing hot sun during this entire process). Fuck!
I rushed back to the hostel to put on some sun-tan lotion, which I had forgotten to apply before I left in the morning (I can already feel the sunburns…). Then I rushed back to the Sambodromo to see the semifinals round.
France vs. Australia
3 – 5
Korea vs. Netherlands
6 – 0
The Korean team proved to be a powerhouse that steamrolled over their opponents. Their fans were all over the stadium as well.
Italy vs. China
0 – 6
Indonesia vs. USA
2 – 6
Team USA performed very well and easily beat Indonesia. I was happy to see a few America fans here and there in the stadium, but they were far outnumbered by the number of people cheering for Indonesia. Spectators were cheering for them simply because they wanted Team USA to lose (this would hold true no matter who USA was playing against).
To me surprise, this particular event included both the semifinals AND the finals (yes, the medal rounds!).
Korea vs. Australia
6 – 0
Korea killed it again – they made beating Australia seem like it was nothing at all. The fans in the stadium were going crazy!
China vs. USA
0 – 6
As with the first match where USA performed, the crowd was cheering against them; there wasn’t any booing, but you could sense that they wanted anyone except USA to win. The Chinese team put up a good fight and the rounds were quite close, but USA pulled out another win – on to the gold medal round!
BRONZE MEDAL ROUND
Australia vs. China
6 – 2
This was a very intense match and several rounds came down to a one-point difference. I was cheering for the Australians during the match and was happy that they won the bronze medal.
GOLD MEDAL ROUND
Korea vs. USA
6 – 0
This match was very tense to sit through. The stadium was full of Korean fans, with almost everyone cheering for them except for the tiny pockets of USA fans. I cheered for Team USA quite a bit – they needed all the cheering on they could get. Sadly, it didn’t seem to help much. The Korean team continued their steamrolling and killed it during the match.
Apparently I was on the NBC coverage of the final match as well! My sister was watching and told me that she spotted me! :-)
Finally, after all of the matches were done, the samba group performed for a little while on the field as they prepared for the medal ceremony. It was an added treat to get to see the medal ceremony – and a great way to close the first day of my Olympic adventures!
... and yes, my camera does have something on the lens. Try as I might, I've been unable to get it off. The spot on most of the pictures drives me crazy...