Since August 5th, Brazil and the whole world have their eyes glued on the television screens. And this will continue at least until next Sunday, August 21st. The reason? The city of Rio de Janeiro hosts the 2016 Olympic Games, a unique multi-sportive event which has the estimated participation of 12,500 athletes from all around the world. The opening ceremony, held at the Maracanã stadium and highly praised by the national and international press, was only the beginning of the first Olympics in South America.
But not everyone wanted to watch the Rio Olympic Games from TV. These five Casperians took the chance they had, left their homes in São Paulo and went to the wonderful city to watch the events and competitions more closely. With different reasons for being there, they all shared a bit of their experience with Her Campus and took the opportunity to talk a little about the legacy that will be left for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.
Thais May Carvalho watching a game at the Olympic Tennis Centre, in the Olympic Park complex in Barra da Tijuca. Photo: Personal Collection
Thais Carvalho May, a second year journalism student
This 20 years old that aspires to become a sportive journalist spent four days in Rio de Janeiro, which she described as “unforgettable”. Thais watched a tennis game while she was there, and for her the best thing about the experience was the chance she had to see live some of the athletes that she admires since two years ago: Serena Williams, from the US; Andy Murray, from the UK; and Thomaz Bellucci, from Brazil. She has always been fanatical about sports, and when she didn’t attend personally to any of the World Cup’s soccer games in Brazil, she regretted. But now in the Olympics, she knew she had to go: “It was an obligation that I feel inside me”, she explains.
For Thais, the Olympics are essential for the development of the sports in Brazil. In addition to the improvement that have been made with regard to equipment and infrastructure, the presence of great athletes motivates people to practice sports. She also does not fail to mention the difficulties that have been faced in the event, after all, as she says, “the city is made up for tourists to see”; but she also believes that when the event is over, many benefits will remain for the city, for example, in public transportation. “Now it is up to the people to enjoy the entire structure that was built”, she adds.
Bruno Ignacio de Lima, a second year journalism student
Bruno went to Rio de Janeiro to help in the coverage of the biggest sporting event of the planet for the Japanese newspaper in which he works, and he stayed in the city for two days. “I went for the experience of meeting Rio and learning how to make such a cover,” he says. That way, he could learn how the whole process behind the cameras works. But Bruno also explains that, in addition to professional experience, which gave him the chance of getting in contact with foreign correspondents of large vehicles such as The New York Times, the trip also added to him some personal experience, because he had to be by himself in a strange city, with people from all countries in it.
A special moment for him was when he could photograph the Olympic cauldron, which for the first time in the competition’s history gets out of a stadium, located in front of the Candelaria church, in the port area. According to him, the experience was very enriching.
Tourists in front of the Olympic cauldron, in the port area of Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Bruno Ignacio de Lima
“I thought that São Paulo was beautiful before I got to know Rio, especially during such an event”, says Bruno. For him, the environment there was good and the whole town was a big party: “There were people dressed in green and yellow colors all the time, with various flags… People talked to each other and the fear of violence was not so big”. And when asked about the legacy that the Olympics will leave for the country, he explains that it depends on the point of view of each person. In his opinion, it was a learning experience, because it indicated that Brazil is not yet ready for events of this magnitude, which involves a lot of money and generates many problems related to political, security, health and economic issues.
Helena Jacob, professor and coordinator of the college’s journalism course
During the 4 days she spent in Rio, Helena saw 5 different kinds of sports: canoe sprint, fencing, beach volleyball, indoor volleyball and artistic gymnastics. The first two by choice of her husband and the last 3 because she alread liked. “I love and I watch sports. I also practice, even with my tight schedule”, says the journalist, who worked with sports during her career, through the newspaper Lance!. For her, the big difference of watching live the events of the Olympics is the emotion of the crowd, which you can’t feel by the TV. This could be confirmed by her during the opening show, which she saw from the Maracanã stadium bleachers. “It was an amazing experience because the perception without the media is very different”, she describes. On the other hand, seeing the competitions that way made her feel uninformed about the other competitions, because she could only find out the results of them later, since the displacement between the arenas is long and the cellphone’s battery lasts very little.
Helena Jacob (wearing a print blouse) attends the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympic Games in Maracanã stadium, accompanied by her husband and friends. Photo: Facebook
The best of these Olympics, to Helena, was the city, because, according to her, the cariocas can make big events as no one. But she added, referring to the displacement of the populations who lived for decades in the center and in Barra, the regions most transformed by the reforms: “I have mixed feelings about the event because I love sports and these games are the high point of this world, but I know the high price Brazil paid to accomplish this competition in the socioeconomic context”.
Mariane Reghin, a second year journalism student
Mariane, 19, was in Rio de Janeiro for 20 days working as a volunteer. The desire to work in the Olympics came in 2014, when she danced at the opening ceremony of the Brazilian World Cup and saw volunteers acting. Then she wanted to participate more actively at the next opportunity. So she signed up to work in the journalism area, in the Main Press Center, assisting journalists and photographers from all around the world during the Olympics, and could follow their routine in the coverage of a major event like this. For her, the exchange was great: “I planted the seed and hope that in the future others can help me just as I helped them.”
As a volunteer, Mariane won tickets to a basketball game, but also watched other 7 other events while he was there: women’s soccer, athletics, golf, handball, horse riding, table tennis and gymnastics. She also attended the awards on the podiums and was thrilled to see the national and international athletes closely. “I was able to enjoy the event as a brazilian spectator, as a volunteer and as a journalist. I practiced my english and met people from all over the world as a true exchange without leaving my country”, she says.
Mariane Reghin poses for a photo in front of the concrete sign of the Rio Olympic Games. Photo: Facebook
Mariane makes a point by saying that she always thought that sports are something to be encouraged, although Brazil is a country with lack in this regard. In her view, hosting an event of this size is a big incentive, despite the big money spending and the very delicate sociopolitical and economic moment in our country. On several times she even had doubts about if she should really go to Rio, due to the security problems and terrorism fear, but in the end came to the conclusion that should think beyond all of this and put your name there somehow.
For her, a differential of her experience was having attended the rehearsal of the opening ceremony, which gave her the chance to see the show before the general public. “Even with the great expectation we all had, it showed that we are able to make something beautiful sight, in our own way. We have an energy that is only ours and a very welcoming people”, she says. But she adds that, of course, there was all kind of thing there: from happy people supporting the event, to those who criticize the contrasts. “There were a lot of expensive things, including tickets, food, souvenirs. It could be better, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t good”.
The experience awakened in Mariane the willingness to become a sportive journalist, an area that had not considered so far, until she realized the variety of sports involved. In addition to that, the idea of being on the next Olympic Games, covering it journalistically, is just great. “Seeing people around the world, with different cultures, customs and religions in one line makes us believe in the future”, she explains excitedly.