Sun Sep 24 07:14:20 SAST 2017

David Isaacson's #Rio2016 Olympic Diary - Day 2

By David Isaacson | 2016-08-04 11:14:51.0

After more than 24 hours of travelling, which included three flights and an uncomfortable sleepover at the small Ribeirao Preto airport, I finally arrived in Rio.

My luggage, however, didn’t. And that seems par for the course considering another SA journo suffered the same fate, and he waited for two days to get his bags.

The airport is where you taste the first vibes of a Games, and obviously this wasn’t the world’s best start for me; I guess my mood matched the grey skies overhead.

Compared to the previous four Games, this is without a doubt the most chaotic.

The volunteers are willing and helpful — when you can find one who speaks English — and putting the media shuttle bus timetable to the test could be interesting over the first few days.

It’s far too early to make a judgment call, of course.

The transport at Atlanta 1996 was a nightmare, with one busload of journalists failing to get to an event because the driver got lost.

A colleague of mine who was there 20 years ago told how the journalists became increasingly agitated and abusive as they realised they might be late.

Eventually the driver walked off the bus in a huff, quitting on the spot and leaving the doomed journalists gobsmacked.

Sydney 2000 started with some early transport hiccups, but they were quickly sorted out.

There were no such hassles at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, but there was an altercation between journalists and officials on the last scheduled bus for the rowing medal races at London 2012.

The last bus was overcrowded and the officials tried telling the hacks who were standing to get off or else the bus wouldn’t leave.

But because there were no more scheduled buses — and the journalists didn’t want to risk missing the event — they refused unless another bus was organised.

The journalists won and an ABF (absolutely bloody final) bus was arranged at short notice.

Thursday is another day, and sunshine is forecast by Friday; I think that’ll be my cue for fun times and smooth sailing.

Roll on Rio.

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