When I retired from competitive synchronized swimming a few years ago the last place I expected to be in 2016 was in Rio de Janeiro. So when I got an email asking if I would be available and interested in working at the Olympics I jumped at the chance. What an incredible opportunity and it meant I was going to attend my 3rd Olympics in a row but this time I wouldn’t be competing, I was working with the broadcast team on the Synchro and I couldnt be more excited!!
I flew Emirates from Brisbane to Rio via Dubai… thats two 14 hour flights! Now let me just saying flying economy on Emirates feels like first class when you’ve spent the better part of your year flying budget airlines like Air Asia AND they’ve got wifi on the plane! I didn’t get a whole lot of use out of this though because as usual I spent most of the flight fast asleep! I spent my time in Dubai speed walking laps of the airport in an attempt to get the blood circulating in my legs again and then I boarded my second 14 hour flight bound for Rio!!!
I arrived at the hotel in the early evening dissorientated and completely confused at what time zone I was in, a solid 30 hours travel will have this effect! Luckily I didn’t start work until the next day so I was able to try and sleep off the jet lag.
I was up bright and early for an action packed day, the next 10 days of my life were probably some of the hardest I’ve ever worked, they were pretty stressful on some occasions too! I’m not going to bore you with all the details but let me just say working at the Olympics is almost as tough as competing at the Olympics!
We managed to squeeze in a day off of sightseeing amongst all of the chaos and I headed out with Trace and Kat to get a taste of what Rio had to offer. We hit up Copacabana Beach with Caipirinhas in hand, took a trip up to see the big man himself and took in some incredible city views from Sugarloaf mountain. Rio is one of those cities that’d hard not to love and I’d find it difficult to believe that anyone could visit and not be impressed.
When I finished up my time working at the Olympics/ the best job ever, I had 3 extra days to do some more exploring in Rio. As fate would have it I had a friend who had been living in Rio for the last couple of months and he agreed to put up with me for three days and show me more of how awesome Rio is! I met Jamie when I was on a tour in Peru a few years ago, he’s a UK native with a love for all things South American and this was his second time living in Brazil. He was living in a share style house and there was a spare bed for the 3 days I needed so it was perfect! The best thing about this place was that it was at the top of Escadaria Selarón, a famous set of steps located in Lapa. I love steps and these were pretty much the best looking steps I’ve ever gotten to walk on and I got to do it every day!
My final days in Rio flew by, the weather could have been a little more accomodating but Jamie and I still made the most of my time. We visited the Botanical Gardens, explored a local market, took in some Brazillian night life (and a few more Caipirinha’s) and attempted to climb to the top of Pedra de Gavea.
And just like that my time in Brazil came to an end. Next stop Canada!