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What was my experience of the Rio Olympics?

The following is my experience of watching the 2016 Olympics and includes all of my favourite bits.

• SWIMMING

I’ve loved the swimming commentators Andy Jameson and Adrian Moorhouse for ages but they really outdid themselves this Olympics. Of course they’re very knowledgable and they commentate the races excellently but what makes them special is their friendship, which means that their chat (while waiting for races to start) is very entertaining and amusing. They make each other chuckle and I love the general silliness. Their enjoyment of just being present at the swimming is infectious and brings me a lot of joy.

There was also a moment where the camera panned to Matthew McConaughey sitting in the stands and at first they didn’t know who he was. After a while, one of them remembered and said “he’s that actor. The one in Dallas…Dallas something…Dallas Cowboys Club…something like that”. That made me laugh.

So what were my favourite swimming moments?

Adam Peaty, Team GB’s only gold medal in the pool, is an obvious contender. He is always electrifying to watch. There were some great silvers too from Team GB.

Katie Ledecky, of the USA, was on a whole other level to the other swimmers: magnificent dominance.

I always love watching Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. As a fan of swimming, I’ve followed their progress for a very long time. It was really emotional watching them swim for what might have been their last time (well, at the Olympics anyway). I’m glad that they got gold in the relay together. I’m sad that their era is over. Though Phelps might hold on until the World Championships.

Another favourite moment was watching the 35-year-old Anthony Ervin (USA) win gold in the 50m freestyle, consequently followed by one of the funniest moments of the Games when he punched the water in celebration and nearly (accidentally) clobbered Florent Manaudou in the process. Manaudou’s face, having just come second to Ervin, was priceless. Also, it’s always nice when someone older than me wins gold. Last Olympics I was 26 and lots of athletes were the same age as me. This time round, I’m 30 and it’s really weird knowing that most of the competitors are younger than me. It doesn’t feel real.

Another wonderful moment was when Phelps, Le Clos and Cseh all got joint silver in the 100m butterfly. I enjoyed the medal ceremony and seeing those three rivals hold hands and step up to the silver podium together; watching their faces was very funny, especially after all that brouhaha between Phelps and Le Clos.

I also love that the commentators always mention Alexander Dale Oen (the talented Norwegian swimmer who died of a heart attack) at some point in the proceedings. I like that he is remembered.

• GYMNASTICS

I adore watching gymnastics. It is spectacular and breathtaking. This Olympics, it had the added advantage of mostly being on at a reasonable time in our time zone so I got to watch a lot of it live instead of catching up on iPlayer the next day (which I had to do with the swimming and athletics).

My highlight was Max Whitlock. The bronze in the individual All-Around final was great but getting to watch his two golds on the Floor and Pommel Horse live were my very favourite moments in the whole Olympics. They were so unexpected and the wait was so tense. Those golds were what I needed when I was having some really bad days.

Nile Wilson’s bronze on the High Bar was a joyful surprise too. The same with Amy Tinkler’s bronze on the Floor.

Of course, we can’t go without mentioning Simone Biles. She was supreme. A privilege to watch.

Christine Still and Matt Baker’s commentary was a pleasure to listen to, as always.

• DIVING

I was sad that I missed watching our gold medal in the synchro 3m springboard final. It was exciting to subsequently watch Jack Laugher get a silver in the individual 3m springboard though. I also got to watch the 10m synchro diving; I was happy with the bronze but I had hoped for more. Then, of course, Tom Daley didn’t get into the final for his individual event, which shocked everyone. I was disappointed because I didn’t watch the semi-final in order to save my strength for watching the final but that never happened.

Leon Taylor was a fun and informative commentator as usual. And then there was the whole green water saga too.

• TRACK CYCLING

Cycling is a sport that I don’t find interesting enough to watch the heats. I won’t even watch the semi-finals if there’s no British interest in there. I find it immensely exhilarating and intense to watch the medal races though. I won’t mention all our gold medals (there were many); I’ll just include my four favourite bits:

– I loved the funny face that Bradley Wiggins pulled on the medal podium during the national anthem. That made me smile.
– The Men’s Keirin final. Wow. Drama drama drama. I love drama. It had to be restarted twice and the first time was a long, anxious wait for us Brits while we worried that Jason Kenny would be disqualified. It all turned out okay though, resulting in a satisfying and historic gold for Jason Kenny.
– Laura Trott. No explanation required.
– Kristina Vogel of Germany. Part of her saddle broke clean off by her powering to victory. Sad for Team GB to get silver but what a moment.

• ROWING

Lots of golds. I love when we get gold. I didn’t watch the heats or semi-finals but I did watch the finals that Brits were in. Tense and exciting.

• ATHLETICS

Athletics, along with swimming, is usually my favourite sport to watch. The athletics this Olympics was all rather sad for me though because it happened in the early hours of the morning. I went to catch up on iPlayer but it was spoilt because before I could press play, the still display picture of the video had the winner emblazoned on it and there would be a big caption saying the main headlines/results. I tried squinting my eyes so I couldn’t see these things before I pressed play but to no avail. It just wasn’t the same watching the races, already knowing who was going to win. All the thrill was taken out of it. So I didn’t watch as much athletics as I usually would have.

Still, Usain Bolt was super-duper and I enjoyed seeing Asafa Powell in the relay. The 400m world record was astonishing too but Mo Farah’s two golds were the highlight for me. The double double. I was desperately disappointed for Jessica Ennis though, narrowly missing out on the heptathlon gold.

• HOCKEY

I usually don’t watch hockey at all, even though I used to love playing it for my school and for a women’s team before I became ill. However, since Team GB were in the final and it was on at a reasonable time, I watched. I’m so glad. GOLD. Fantastic.

I’m sad that it’s all over now but it did bring me a lot of happiness. Thank you, Rio 2016.
What were your favourite moments?

I’ll just leave a screenshot of the medal table here: image

6 comments to What was my experience of the Rio Olympics?

  • Unlike you, I love track cycling. I’ll watch people ride round and round in circles for hours. I’m also a huge Mark Cavendish fan, so seeing him get his silver was my biggest highlight. Other than that, seeing the Brownlees be super stars again was great and I loved the Fijian rugby sevens side – even if they did beat us.

  • Jenny

    Oh yes! I forgot about the Brownlee brothers, Eddie. I watched that too. Brilliant.

  • Joe

    Jo and I watched quite a bit of the Olympics. She loves the equestrian events and knows far more about it than me. I just like seeing disciplines that are completely ignored by the normal sporting schedules in favour of sports that I find tiring to watch. The Olympics is fun and it was lovely to see team GB do so well. We’re really looking forward to the paras too!

  • Maureen Parr

    I love Nichola Adam’s smile! She always makes me feel happy. And it was very special to see Mo Farrah win a double gold especially as he fell in the first race. I loved the cycling and rowing and diving but it was all special and it’s great to be able to watch minority sports which are hardly ever televised. Looking forward to the Paralympics now.

  • Emma Fowler

    I adore the gymnastics, but thanks to not having a TV licence (we just don’t watch enough to justify the fee) we were stuck with catch up. As you said, the results were ruined, but also on iplayer you didn’t get the BBC coverage (I have no idea why, but it sucked). I missed Matt Baker – we got international coverage and the footage often didn’t show our athletes. I gave up, and will look forward to the blu-ray release instead. We have the London Olympics and Paralympics, and they’re amazing. I agree – Nicola Adams’ smile is beautiful. She made my day in 2012 when she was interviewed after her win. They asked what she would do to celebrate “I just wanna go down Nandos”. :)

  • Lynn

    Am so glad to see that you got to watch lots of the Olympics – it sounds like you saw the best bits. I’m really missing it today, but it was such a good championship and I can’t believe how well we did. My favourite bits were also the gymnastics, track cycling and diving plus the road cycling, the fabulous triathlons and I loved it when the GB girl won the silver medal in the trampolining, she was such a happy winner. I agree that the athletics was spoilt by already knowing the results the next morning, but it was just one of those things, we guessed that would happen. The Paralympics next month so at least that is something to look forward to.