Today we are moving to the Olympic marina. In order to get in you have to activate your credentials, but nobody knows where… The Army protects the entrance via the sea; we will try to get in with our not-activated credentials. Let’s see what we will achieve as it is kind of difficult getting clear information. For example, you can bring your boats in from 11.00 to 17.00, but you cannot drive with trailers during the day – mysteries of Brazil. Yesterday they were wiring all the marina digging holes to get electricity everywhere. I did my part on my rib as it is compulsory to cover up all brands.
We went sailing outside on the Niteroi course, had a good 12 to 15 knots, and the backdrop was amazing, with islands and tropical vegetation, the Pao de Azucar and the Christ on the highest mountain, birds fishing and really nice waves. All around the city workers are cleaning fixing cutting the grass, police have appeared everywhere, and of all sorts military police, soldiers and city police.
Rio is buzzing with life. On Copacabana there were queues in front of the megastore that is selling Olympic mementos. Next to it some agua de coco, fat ladies with mini bikinis and all kind of people moving around. In the last ten days, the police caught a group of self made terrorists preparing some madness during the Games, though no one really cares in Rio as life here is different.
Two weeks ago someone fired at a police car, and the bullets hit the door of Torben Grael’s house… nobody got hurt. Really it is not as dangerous as they say, but being careful is a must. Zika is some sort of myth as heavy chemicals have eliminated nearly all insects, so probably it is more dangerous to drink tap water and get poisoned than to get Zika from a mosquito. The water is dirty, but nobody gets anything and we are getting used to it.
The Opti kids at the club sail hard out there in the breeze; a small Star regatta took place yesterday and the finish line was the harbour entrance at the clubhouse at ICRJ. Some sailors are getting even more nervous. Giles Scott arrived in town to dominate the training yesterday. Vasilji Zbogar is taking forever to get back to Rio from Slovenia as his plane had several delays.
Russian sailors are training waiting to find out if the can race the Games, looking a bit lost as a total ban on the Russian Olympic team is being discussed due to state doping allegations. I hope for them that they will be allowed to sail. Imagine if you were a clean athlete training here only to find out last minute that you have to go home.
It is seven in the morning and the sun starts shining on Rio. We will have breakfast and a walk on the beach. I always tell my athletes to love the place were you race, a key to doing well. Rio is stressful and full of life but loving Rio is not difficult. If you go south just a few km you find beautiful beaches. We went to Prajina as guys went surfing on the rest day just a few days ago, sat at a magic restaurant in the side of the beach and Chino Foglia went surfing and caught the wave of the day. Waves were big and powerful, that is Rio…
And so we took our rib and Finns from the ICRJ and motored to the marina. The volunteers were helpful and we took the Finns out, all our bags and our bicycles, the Argentinian Facundo Olezza and Canadian Tom Ramshaw were in heaven. “We are in the Olympics,” was their happy comment. The launching ramp looked beautiful, all blue with the Rio insignias, so they were like happy children, until a few nasty swearwords flew through the air. The brand new ramp was slippery as it was covered in soap and Facundo was falling on his ass.
We then all went to the validation container to activate our credentials. They were fine but I could not complete my accreditation, as some bureaucracy had not been cleared by my MNA, so there I was shouting to Facundo to get my bike out of the marina and to get him and Tom to move the rib properly. I could get in via sea but not out. I cannot get back in until Tuesday morning. Not too bad. My 200 euro Brazilian bike will take me to Ipanema… some exercise is needed to make sure I will not get too big.
Ciao amigos, more from Rio to follow