First day today at the Marina da Gloria sailing venue (Sunday July 25) dressed in my matchy matchy green green and yellow Olympic shirt, khaki pants that convert to long shorts & green trainers. I even have Rio branded socks.
Gloria is a marina rather than a yacht club with storage, hardstand and launch facilities, huge floating pontoon, ‘mall’ which is where all the boat brokers and dive shops have amazingly fancy shops, athletes eating area and lounge, worker’s eating area (hot lunch everyday) and the temporary media centre under an enormous roof.
Without seeing the other venues surely sailing and rowing (I have to say this because my roomy is the rowing ONS writer) are the two best of the Games, with the friendliest people. My theory is people who work outdoors are the happiest workforce.
The breeze was in early then as the temperature rose up to the high 20s it dwindled. All day Guanabara Bay looked absolutely magnificent.
I logged into the work portal OK, kept going with my research and met most of the venue press team including the very important mixed zone manager, photo manager, venue manager, deputy venue manager, and so on.
The mixed zone is where the broader media pack gets to speak to the athletes when they come off the water, after the Olympic Broadcast Service and possibly agencies conduct their interviews. I’m allowed into those other areas, as are the two flash quote reporters assigned to sailing, but not to ask questions, only record answers. I’m going to learn a lot about Olympic protocol in the coming weeks.
The working media room is almost ready to welcome up to 50 or so media (quick chair count). When this baby’s in full swing from the 8th it’s going to be jumpin’.
Back at ONS HQ there are documents being created and sent to help me establish a schedule of content and deadlines. Once sailing gets underway it will be 10 days of preliminary rounds rolling into Medal Races until all 10 classes have announced a gold medallist.
The level of experience among the management and sub-editor team is overwhelming. I’m so used to working solo and in small groups that if feels vastly different to have this level of support/expertise behind me. We will write and submit stories through the CMS, they’ll be edited and returned if necessary by whichever subs are on in the 24hr cycle, and have every single fact checked again before they are published to accredited media.
I don’t need to worry about photos, social media and media boats. Only words that make sense to normal people. Unlike back in Aus we aren’t writing finished copy and attaching video links and professionally taken high res images. Only words from which a journo or reporter might decide to do a follow up piece.
Many more steps have been added to my phone health app, mostly from another huge day of walking with Jo from Centro up the Escadaria Selarón to Santa Teresa and back on Friday, meeting up with most of the ONS group along the way. We had one warning from a concerned local about putting Jo’s good camera away after taking pics – motorcyclists have been known to make off with the odd Canon.
Santa Teresa was arty and cool, lots of good restaurants, old-style tram and up high away from the noise and action of the city. As I wrote about on my Facebook page the day turned a totally different direction when back in the city district we spotted a couple of bodies only half wrapped in black plastic lying in the middle of the sidewalk in the early evening on a busy Friday evening after work.
It’s taken me some time to process the sight. It’s not Sydney afterall.