Bus ride from Santiago to the coast, ridiculously photogenic old town on the side of the hills, incredible lunch, cool art and home for a vino tinto on the rooftop of the apartment to watch the sun go down and moon come up over the Andes !! THE END !
We dragged ourselves out of beautiful colourful, crazy, Rio to have a few days in Santiago Chile. We are in an Airbnb $70 per night, very cool in a very arty neighbourhood that never sleeps. Full of bars restaurants and nightclubs and a million homeless dogs that bark all night but its great and vibrant. Great to see Lisa Carrington getting gold, and sailing a bronze and more to come.
What can I say, that was the most tense race to date. Mahe wins by five thousandths of a second. There was silence in the over packed stands waiting for the result to show, then the Kiwi contingent erupted. Absolutely amazing. Not so for brave Emma Twigg or our eights. Its been quite a week and we all finished up hydrating for the rest of the day and evening. Everyone turning up at the Kiwi Club where all medalists go to celebrate after wins, and it was a shout for rowing so all were there to celebrate including the beautiful Valerie Adams. On that it is nice to be a tall person here I have to say, I am surrounded by gorgeous tall strong women,loving it. There are televisions on everywhere, apps on everyones phones, and a continual buzz about whats happening everywhere. I'M EXHAUSTED !!!
The morning starts as usual with a quick walk from our digs at Ipenema via the café. Superb coffee here. Mahe Drysdale cruised into win his semi followed by Emma Twigg qualifying well 2nd place. Then we had an awesome race to get SILVER in the Womens Pair. Genevieve Behrent and Rebecca Scowndid us proud, a very emotional Mum, brother and boyfriend held their breaths (pic below) and the joy on the girls faces was just gorgeous. I was sitting next to an Italian family whose son got bronze, as I have said before its just amazing to sit beside these families who live the sport with their kids and see them succeed. Go Italia et allez chic Francais. Nice to see my next favourite country Canada on the dais today. John and I managed to score tickets to the track cycling out at the Olympic village. It was awesome, soooo exciting. Cheered on several kiwi teams who got very close to a medal. Out at the velodrome once again everytime a Russian team was announced or won a race there was absolute silence. We have encountered everywhere either silence or booing with anything Russian. A pretty clear message to the IOC. Also we are now experiencing several thefts and a few scams with credit cards used on ATM’s. John got done for nearly $2000 on a bank, guarded ATM. While we are all having fun we can’t get complacent, we are in Rio!!
WOW Two medals today, gold and silver and we were lucky enough to be front row to see the boys getting gold at the rowing. What a day!!! Once again highs and lows, but the Bond Murray team brought home the gold in superb style. We got together with George this afternoon after things wrapped up and they are all off to the Sevens finals so he is in good spirits although disappointed with results as are alot of the other crews. HUGE kiwi supporters crew today, more tomorrow, lots of sailing, more rowing, more cheering..... whoop whoop what a blast.
Rowing cancelled yesterday terrible weather so shopping(fab) and a trip out to the Olympic village, on their new metro which is only open for ticket holders. Alot of stuff is sort of half finished, lots of ready lawn thrown around but the village was impressive. Tons of people, ONE COFFEE SHOP, which had a queue a mile long. Couldn't get tickets anywhere but was good to see it all. Not many Brazilians speak English and the Portuguese language is not at all instinctive like French and Italian. You just can't communicate sometimes, but there is usually an English speaking person around that can help out. The atmosphere in and around the venues is fantastic, lots of camaraderie and good vibes. Everyone in their countries colours, Aussies are the loudest and hilarious. Ended up at the Kiwi Club at the Sheraton, the hub of all sports and where the who's who of NZ sport congregate. Richie was there and I asked one guy what his involvement was "minister of Sport" Duh !!!!! Everyone a bit shocked with the Sevens but the Womens Sevens have been partying for the past few nights at the Club. Lots going on today with many sports, hopefully a few medals will emerge from rowing, and George rowing in their B finals.
A big day on the lake, which is a most fantastic location for the rowing, so central, and fabulous views with Christ the Redeemer overlooking us and peering out of the clouds every morning. There were some fabulous results and some heartbreaking results for competitors and their families. To be close up to these kids when it doesn't go as expected is hard to watch. Four years of training, six days a week is something we don't really get when we watch the telly. The Kiwi supporters are getting bigger and louder every day. Everyone taking in other events but pretty focused on rowing until it finishes on Saturday. Spent the afternoon sightseeing up the famous Sugarloaf rock, huge, awesome and incredible views of the outstanding beauty of Rio de Janiero. Awesome to be here.
A great Kiwi contingent of family and friends supporters at the Lake at 8.30 am ready for the Mens Quad race, sadly George and his team mates didn't succeed in progressing through to the A final, so are finishing up with the B Final on Wednesday. Fantastic all the same , these guys are OLYMPIANS. As you all know we had further successes from todays rowing - fantastic stuff. A whole week of rowing finishing up on Saturday, so we will be ramping up for some fantastic finals. It is crazy to be seeing all these amazon athletes around, not just rowing, some of them look like something out of Avatar! Photos below show anxious Dads John and Rod watching their boys, kiwi contingent, John and George debrief, and my old mates ML and Michael Stiassny - Crazy when you bump into people at ramdom places.#rio2016
Rowing was cancelled due to howling wind so we headed off to Copacabana Beach, a cab ride from Epenema. Crazy. We were tempted to get tickets for the Beach Volley Ball until we saw the construction of the stadium !!!! No it was the queue that put us off. Have to say starting to see cracks in the Brazilian way of organizing things. In other words they couldn't organize a p... up in a brewery.. They have tried hard, there are numerous staff around the city with very pleasing smiles who can't speak a word of English so are no help at all, you have to queue to get tickets to queue to get food, not a food truck in site. Its a bit hilarious.. They are on Island time, no idea at all really. Anyway its all good fun. #rio2016
Fantastic start, we hit the ground running after 2 hours sleep. Lots of success on the rowing lake for the kiwis as you know but ROUGH water. Which is apparently going to be the norm. Very challenging and affected rowing results dramatically. George racing again on Monday in repicharge.. We have got fantastic seats in the friends and family stand right at the finish line and fun to be amongst kiwi family's watching their kids winning. Rio is fantastic, none of us have even put insect repellent on and I went for a swim yesterday just couldn't help myself. We are at Epenama beach where the rowing is and it is fantastic, not touristy at all but crazy none the less. We understand Rio has been cleaned up hugely in alot of ways for the games, much to the delight of the locals. Hot as hayleys, the beach is hilarious, not a skinny chick to be seen just lots of bronzed booty. Lots of security around but think they are more interested in having their pics taken than anything else.
John and I are packed and ready to head off to the Rio Olympics tomorrow to support his son George Bridgewater who is in the Mens Quad rowing team. I'm uber excited, this is something that I didn't have on my bucket list so you just never know !! I have cameras packed and will be doing a blog throughout. Hopefully apart from cheering on all our rowers we will be getting to see lots of other athletes competing. If you know anyone else who is interested in following not on fb the link is www.vickyfulton.com/rio-olympics-2016