Monday, 8 August 2016

Rio Olympic Fever

Rio Olympic Fever - A Scot in North Wales

I'm quite partial to watching sports, although I tend to stick with football as my top pick.   I'm one of those people that will watch big tournaments in golf, tennis and rugby, and I love a bit of international competition.

After spending the summer glued to the Euros, I'd begin to feel a little restless on the run up to the Olympic Games. For me, it doesn't have the same appeal as football, but I'm always on hand to cheer for the Brits.   Particularly if that Brit is Greg Rutherford.   I know nothing about long jump but good Lord, that man is easy on the eye.

My crush aside, I do tune in and out of events during the games, but unless it's Andy Murray (obviously..), Greg Rutherford, Mo Farrah and, of course, Usain Bolt, most of the other sports don't really get me that riled up.   Or at least that's what I thought. 

I stuck on the TV on Saturday afternoon only to be met with women's rugby.   I switched it straight back off.  No offence to the GB ladies, who were thrashing their Brazilian counterparts, but it's not something I'd choose to sit through. 

I had another stab later in the afternoon and found the men's road race.   Now, I love a bit of travelling, so the scenery instantly drew me in.   I watched for 10 mins and wandered to the kitchen for coffee.   I left the TV on for a while and gradually found myself returning to see what was going on.

After an hour of this, I began to pick up on the names and found out where the British men were placed. Before I knew it, I was informing a disinterested Les how many seconds the Italians were ahead and how they were 'breaking away from the pack' (I heard the commentator talk about it).

I found out during the race that was more than 7 hours long and that a massive pack had been quickly whittled down to around 50 by the half way stage.   The fact that it seemed to be a little dangerous simply drew me in more.  
Rio Olympic Fever - A Scot in North Wales
It's all fun and games until someone falls off.  
By the time there was 40km of the 180km to go, I couldn't move from my seat and I was actually shouting at a poor Welshman to go faster.  

The hills were constant and I watched with wonder as the leading group struggling to climb a 13% gradient. I live near the steepest hill in the UK, which is 40%, and I've walked up that in heels, so I like to think I could at least related to some of what the guys were going through as I cheered them on from the comfort of my rocking chair, coffee in hand.   It's almost the same thing, right?   Exactly.

Weirdly, I got more and animated as the race reached its conclusion; particularly when pretty much every medal hopeful came tumbling off their bikes on the final decent.   They were all fine, btw, despite the crushing knowledge that their Olympic dreams lay in tatters along with their bikes. at the side of a very steep hill. 

This alarming turn of events meant watching a surprise finisher and not-in-any-way-favourite winning the gold medal.  And I LOVE that.   Go Belgian dude!! 

I was so pumped by the excitement and in awe of the sheer fitness and stamina on display, that I immediately consulted my Rio2016 app (that I downloaded during the road race) and buzzed to see what sports were being shown on Sunday.

As it turns out, the Beach Volleyball tournament was starting on Sunday.   It took me less than a millisecond to persuade Les to tune in with me (it was the women's competition....) and happily toddled off to bed, excited to see how Brazil's crazily fit ladies would fare on home sand the next day.

Rio Olympic Fever - A Scot in North Wales
I don't understand the attraction... 
THEN I realised the the women's road race was also on and I was giddy with joy.  I'm not even kidding.  I couldn't sleep for a bit and scheduled my entire day around sitting down to watch it.   

And it was every bit as exciting as the men's.  At the time of writing, there has just been a horrific crash, which has taken out the Dutch leader.   I hope to God that she's ok as it looked particularly nasty.   I had no idea just how much danger theses riders put themselves in, but it's always very sad to see a serious injury to any athlete and cast a real shadow over the final sprint.    

Tell me everyone else has been caught in Olympic fever; watching sports they've never seen before, and gasping at their TV set?

Suz x 



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