Arrival in Rio
July 31, 2016
Transit to Rio
After the 48hr delay for traveling to Rio, things progressed as planned on Tuesday. During the waiting period when checking in with Air NZ to confirm flights, I found that that I had two ‘recognition upgrades’ waiting for use in their system. So I decided to request an upgrade to Business Class for the flight from Auckland to Buenos Aires and somewhat to my surprise, given the late notice, I managed to get it approved! I also changed the flight I was scheduled to take from Palmerston North to an earlier time so I had a fall-back option if there were any problems – there was not this time around.
At Auckland I connected with several of the media group and with the Men’s Hockey Team who were on the same flight. I felt a bit self-conscious about the upgrade so I quietly slipped on board and made a discreet turn left into Business Class – then followed all the perks of that status – personable service, quality meals, the chance to lie down on a bed and plenty of space. I watched Taita Waikiki’s great movie (Search for the Wilderpeople) and in keeping with the Olympic focus I also watched ‘Eddie the Eagle’ (also a good watch).
The flight to Buenos Aires took around 11 hours, and then we had a 3 hour wait before catching an Airlingus flight to Rio. That flight was also about 3hours in duration and it was a difficult flight because of it seemed like just a tag-on. Wouldn’t you know it, only one of my two bags turned up, so there was the hassle of having to log an incident report and try and put together some clothing options to get through the night and start the next day. It took about 45 minutes to get to the Village by bus and by the time accreditation was sorted and keys handed out, I got to bed around 1am.
In the Village
I slept quite well for about 4 hours and then couldn’t get back to sleep again, so I got up around 6.30am to familiarise myself with the set up.
Once connected, I went out and about on a bike (we have about 25 on them for use) to go to Breakfast in the massive dining tent and then around the Village area. Then it was networking, greeting people and sorting out a few minor facility issues.
With athletes now starting to come into the Village, we have started the formal welcome and orientation process. They are greeted in groups (often with a welcome haka and a ritual handshake/hongi/ hug line). Then Rob Waddell acknowledges their Team connection, Bruce Hamilton (Lead Doctor) talks then through health and well-being issues, Tania Kura (Security) covers keeping safe in and out of the Village, I talk to them about psychological challenges and services, and Trevor Shailer (Deputy Chef de Mission) talks about symbols and rituals, leading into each person being presented with their unique pounamu pendant by Rob (Chef de Mission).
In the case of the large rowing team, they were also presented with their competition uniform. They are quite a formidable group – very lean and mean.
- Heavy MetalAfter a couple of days of miserable weather (cold and a bit showery) and some setbacks with results, we have now started to pick up some momentum and medals (and the weather has picked up again). The medals at these Games are indeed particularly heavy, and quite large – not something to just carry around […]
- Competition StartsWhat we are all here for It is probably an indication of just how hectic things become when competition starts that it has been a few days since I last posted here. A gradual build up to the Opening Ceremony moves into a flurry of action the very next day, with teams and individual athletes […]
- Two Important EventsTeam Function On Thursday night we held our Team Function – the occasion where we gather as a whole for the first time, take some photos, have some speeches and announce the flag bearer. There was some debate about whether to hold it in a traditional meeting hall (the Chef de Missions’ Hall) or in […]
- Crowded HousePeople Everywhere Over the past few days we have been having fairly regular arrivals, including a number of quite large teams. Yesterday we welcomed the Men’s 7s Team in, the Swimmers, and the very large cycling Team. It is evident that the same is happening for the range of countries, with people flowing everywhere. The […]
- Momentum BuildingArrivals Coming Thick and Fast Started today having breakfast with Sarah Jack who is a sport psychologist with the Australian Team. Sarah is a Palmerston North girl and we have known each other for a while. A few years ago she moved to take up a position in Canberra and we have stayed in touch […]