Man, I was at the Olympics.
Even two days after arriving back in Texas from Rio, that still feels like a weird sentence to say. It’s weird to read stories from the Games or to watch replays of the events online and realize that I was there. I never thought four years ago watching the London Olympics before freshman year that I would be at the next Olympics to cover it.
But what a ride it was. It had its ups and downs. It was awesome to be there for history — seeing Sarah Robles win bronze and Evan Jager become the first American to medal in the steeplechase since 1984. There were also the disappointing moments — sitting in the Rio2016.com office with not much to do and having to talk our way into the mixed zone are the first to come to mind. But then there were the moments where I had to go out of my comfort zone in order to get the story — covering a sport I had no idea how it worked or even going down to the television screens in the park to watch Brazilians watch the men’s soccer final and write a 1,000-plus-word story for VICE.
Together, all of these experiences — both the good and bad — combined for one experience that I will never forget and will always be grateful for.
As for the Games and Rio themselves, I don’t know what the final impact on Rio will be. They were far from a perfect set of Games (although, has there been a perfect Summer Games), but they weren’t a total disaster like it was predicted in the weeks leading up. Like all things (including Ryan Lochte’s ordeal) the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
I don’t think the legacy of these Games will be determined anytime soon. We’ll have to wait three, six or nine months or even a year for that to really become more clear. I do think that nothing has or will change in the favelas and they’ll go back to being ignored and forgotten about by outsiders, which is disappointing and disheartening. I also think the areas around the Olympic venues, especially Olympic Park, will report a great uptick in business. But it will take a while before any of that is known and we can determine the true legacy of the Rio Olympics.
Thank you, Rosenthal, for both getting the ball rolling on such an adventure (even if it was just a joke initially) and guiding us around your home city. I’m sure we would have been so lost without your help.
Thank you, R.B. for leading the charge on fundraising so we didn’t have to pay for the trip like other universities and for making this all happen.
And finally, thank you, Kevin, for leading us on this adventure and putting up with us for three-and-a-half weeks. Thank you for making sure our stories were the best they could be before sending them off to their respective publications. There’s not another professor I would have rather gone on this trip with than you.
I’m not sure if any of us will be in South Korea in 2018 or Japan in 2020 or even Los Angeles in 2024 if it gets picked, but we won’t forget this experience. The Olympics, whether good or bad, always leave an impression.
Man, I was at the Olympics.
[tabs direction=”horizontal”][tab title=’Daily Blogs’]
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day One: The long adventure begins
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Two: Rio’s very far from perfect but it won’t be the complete disaster predicted
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Three: The Olympic Park is massive
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Four: A change of plans
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Five: Up in the clouds
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Six: Let’s get to work
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Seven: Sitting in on press conferences
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Eight: The fun begins
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Nine: Row, row, row your boat (Part I)
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Ten: Row, row, row your boat again … or not
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Eleven: Row, row, row your boat (Part II)
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Twelve: Much needed rest
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Thirteen: What a mess
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Fourteen: En garde
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Fifteen: The ups and downs
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Sixteen: More struggles
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Seventeen: A wild medal story appears
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Eighteen: Diving off the deep end
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Nineteen: Taking it easy
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Twenty: History is made
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Twenty-one: Visiting the ‘mega store’
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Twenty-two: The end is near
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Twenty-three: What a moment
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Twenty-four: A storm’s a brewin’
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Twenty-five: Avoiding the rush
- Rio Olympics Blog — Day Twenty-six: Home sweet home
[/tab][tab title=’Stories We Wrote’]
- Barrington’s Weiss, partner look forward to one more shot at rowing medal by Jacob Martella, Providence Journal, Aug. 6
- Rhode Island’s Beisel finishes sixth in 400 IM by Kevin Robbins, Providence Journal, Aug. 6
- Fencing Hurley sisters go out early in Rio by Cat Cardenas, San Antonio Express-News, Aug. 6
- Pittsburgh native Leah Smith takes bronze medal in Olympics by Akshay Mirchandani, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 7
- Olympics today: Weiss, Guregian finish 3rd, move on to semis by Jacob Martella, Providence Journal, Aug. 8
- Harrison Barnes’ last ride as a role player in Rio by Akshay Mirchandani, Mavs Moneyball, Aug. 8
- Olympics today: Barrington native Weiss, Guregian fall out of medal contention by Jasmine Johnson, Providence Journal, Aug. 9
- Feigen helps U.S. qualify for relay final by Akshay Mirchandani, San Antonio Express-News, Aug. 10
- R.I.’s Chafee, McNay begin preliminary races at Olympics by Jacob Martella, Providence Journal, Aug. 10
- Amherst’s Michael Hixon takes Olympic silver in synchronized diving by Cat Cardenas, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Aug. 10
- Kayla Harrison makes dream come true with second Olympic gold by Cat Cardenas and Jasmine Johnson, Dayton Daily News, Aug. 11
- For U.S. fencing and Hurley sisters, another piercing defeat by Jacob Martella, San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle, Aug. 11
- Olympics: Chafee, Gulari find wind is their enemy by Akshay Mirchandani, Providence Journal, Aug. 11
- Providence sailor McNay, partner in 8th place after today’s preliminary by Kevin Robbins, Providence Journal, Aug. 12
- Olympic race ‘completely different experience’ for Clayton Murphy by Cat Cardenas, Dayton Daily News, Aug. 12
- Providence’s record-setting runner Molly Huddle does it again by Jasmine Johnson, Providence Journal, Aug. 12
- Evanston’s Margaret Bamgbose advances to 400-meter semifinals by Jasmine Johnson, SP Pioneer Press/Chicago Tribune, Aug. 13
- Oakland Catholic grad wins Olympic gold with women’s rowing team by Cat Cardenas, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 13
- Olympics today: Chafee, Gulari climb to 12th overall by Kevin Robbins, Providence Journal, Aug. 13
- Rio Olympics: No waiting game this time for Clayton Murphy by Akshay Mirchandani, Dayton Daily News, Aug. 13
- Chafee, Gulari surge to ninth, qualify for medal race by Kevin Robbins, Providence Journal, Aug. 14
- Sarah Robles’ comeback ends with bronze in women’s weightlifting by Jacob Martella, Houston Chronicle, Aug. 14
- Evanston’s Margaret Bamgbose had ‘a great experience’ at Olympics by Akshay Mirchandani, SP Pioneer Press/Chicago Tribune, Aug. 14
- Jacobs grad Evan Jager reaches Olympic steeplechase final by Jasmine Johnson, Northwest Herald, Aug. 15
- Praught takes 14th in final by Jasmine Johnson, Rock Island Argus, Aug. 15
- Michael Hixon advances to semifinals of 3-meter springboard in Rio by Jacob Martella, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Aug. 15
- Providence sailor McNay advances to final race but out of medal contention by Kevin Robbins, Providence Journal, Aug. 16
- Michael Hixon falls short of second medal, places 10th in individual 3M springboard by Cat Cardenas, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Aug. 16
- Sailing medal eludes Chafee, Gulari at Rio Games by Jasmine Johnson, Providence Journal, Aug. 16
- Algonquin native Evan Jager realizes dream with silver medal by Jacob Martella, Northwest Herald, Aug. 17
- Port Arthur Olympian Inika McPherson clears high jump, advances to finals by Akshay Mirchandani, Beaumont Enterprise, Aug. 18
- Dietzen, USA women’s volleyball team look to rebound by Jasmine Johnson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 19
- J’den Cox brings home the bronze by Akshay Mirchandani, Columbia Missourian, Aug. 20
- “IT’S LIKE BRAZIL WAS JUST REBORN IN SOCCER”: AGONY AND ECSTASY AT OLYMPIC PARK by Jacob Martella, VICE Sports, Aug. 21
[/tab][tab title=’Other Blogs’]