The Summer Olympics occurs once every four years, but for some, the chance to experience the Olympics (be it, as a spectator or athlete) may occur only once in a lifetime. With that said, I was given the once in a lifetime opportunity to spend 10 days in Rio de Janeiro and watch some Olympic games. So strictly speaking, this post will be about my overall experience at the Rio Summer Olympics and popular questions I was asked upon my return. 🙂 Here we go!
Was Rio ready?
This was a popular question not only from my friends and family, but apparently, the media of the world. The general conclusion was that no, Rio, would not be ready. With that in mind, my expectations were very low. However, it seemed that Rio was as ready as the city could have been. The Olympic stadiums and the staff were organized and helpful, but the issues I ran in to were prior to entering the grounds. Issues such as no uber driver knowing the roads to the arenas and also the lack of food options at the Olympic parks. (I was real sick of burgers by the time i got home! grossss…) But from my Olympic research, it turns out that asking if the host city is ready, is a common occurrence. Unless the city is Tokyo… because those guys already seem ready.
Was Rio safe?
Yes, I thought so. But of course that comes with the disclaimer that you should still not go down sketch alleys and ideally stay near the tourist locations. There was security everywhere (because of the Olympics). When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. Olympic stadiums, near the boardwalks, on street corners. The military police were intimidating at face value but very approachable. I can’t speak to how Rio is on a regular basis, but in my experience, I have been to far shadier places.
What games did you see?
A little of everything! Women’s medal matches for Football and Volleyball. A Gymnastics gala. Women’s basketball. But my favorite were the Athletics sports. Athletics included Relay Races, (where I saw Women’s USA get screwed by Brazil and then ran alone later on), watched Usain Bolt SPEED past his competition and also found a new respect for the men’s Decathlon. I do wish I had a chance to see men’s basketball and of course watch Michael Phelps swim, but I know damn well that any event was a once in a lifetime experience. No one really cheered for the USA, but the feeling you get when you see the USA flag in 1st place and when you hear the National Anthem play is priceless.
How did you get around?
Uber. More Uber. Lastly, Uber. That’s how I preferred to get around, but of course there were other options. There’s a metro and the public bus system, but Uber was the easiest option. It would take you closer to the Olympic drop off points. (With the exception for the two times I hitchiked.. once up a mountain on a motorcycle and the other while trying to get back to civilization from a gorgeous beach. But more on that later.) Uber is also a great way to flex your trust muscles. By trust muscles, I mean… you don’t know what real trust is until you fall asleep in someone’s Uber car during a 2 hour ride and you wake up in front of your apartment and not in a dark ditch. 🙂
Would you do it again?
I would absolutely do the Olympics again in a heart beat. Either the Winter or Summer games. However, I don’t believe I have a desire to return to Rio. I loved being able to experience the city and explore the sites, you’ll see some incredible pictures I’ve captured! But the truth is, Rio didn’t capture my heart the way other destinations have and we all know that life is too short to revisit a place you didn’t love when there is the whole wide world in front of you!