The one thing you can attempt to, but never really succeed at when visiting the Olympics; is capturing the raw, true, unhinged…Spirit of the Games
I’ve seen the photos, the videos, the close up shots and slow mo’ recordings. But to feel the energy, see the intensity in the fans’ eyes, hear their sometimes paralysing screams and hearty chants echoing through the stadium is heart thumping!
The hundreds of thousands of people who bring the most intense team spirit, pride of country and energy to the stadiums is something truly magical to see and hear.
Huge flags from all over the world drape the tiny bodies of even the littlest fans; paint is plastered on the the faces of those who take the guesswork out of who they’re supporting, globally branded hats and T-shirts are the outfits of choice for just about everyone, because wearing anything less would be unpatriotic.
The screaming, cheering, shouting, chanting and hollering that literally jogs behind you as walk around the stadiums, takes on a life of its own.
I’d often wonder about the “crazy-looking” men and women at sports events. The ones I’d see on TV baring their teeth and sometimes their bellies, as the ultimate show of support for their favorite teams. At the time, they looked animalistic; beating their chests, foaming at the mouth and pounding their fists as if they’re preparing for the day’s meal.
But I get it now!
It’s pure energy! Something hits you when you get in an Olympic stadium. You immediately transform into that “crazy-looking” person, baring your teeth and sometimes your belly, as the ultimate show of support for your favorite teams.Yes, you do look animalistic; you beat your chest, you might foam at the mouth and you probably will pound your fists as if you’re preparing for the day’s meal.
It’s the Olympics and I’ve learned that this is just what it does to you!
I spent most of my time at the Engenhao Olympic Stadium, where the track and field events took place. With my small but powerful press badge I slid in and out of the media room where the athletes were interviewed after their races, with ease. But being in there, I also gained access to their emotions.
The heavy frustration that ladened some of their faces after a loss or disqualification, the childlike joy that glazed their eyes after a win, or the quiet arrogance that cloaked their shoulders, win or lose, was so dope to experience. And even at times when they did lose or didn’t make the final cut, the spirit of the Games always shone through!
To see Olympian basketball player Pau Gasol fan out as he watched Usain Bolt win his eighth Olympic gold medal was an experience of a lifetime. But on a more personal note, to hear Bolt say, “Thank you!” in the most boyish of ways when I congratulated him on the win…PRICELESS!