By now the support staff will be bedded in, found their way around the hotels, training venues, competition venues and become familiar with the Olympic bubble that will begin to enclose. They no-doubt will have begun to track-test their procedures, snag any issues, to give them the best chance of being able to do their jobs seamlessly.
The athletes have now start to descend in to Brazil, through waves of flights, buses, check-ins, inductions, new surroundings, new or pre-recce'd training venues athletes will spend about a week or so in the holding camp. Over the next few days they will transition to the Olympic village, if they haven't already. The buzz is starting to build, but leading into a major competition is a strange time, because athletes do less and less training, they have more and more time on their hands, so time can go excruciatingly slowly. Having a plan of 'things to do' such as games or reading - can really help alleviate the anticipation of the looming performance.
Killing time, however, is not necessary for anyone delivering the events. The background work that goes into putting a games in action is immense. The logistics alone exceeds any global peace time operation. For example;
- 7.5 million event tickets
- 70,000 volunteers
- 85,000 security personnel
- 200km of temporary fencing
- 6755 hours of broadcast for NBC
- 37 tons of dead fish removed from the rowing and canoeing lagoons
- 60,000 meals served per day in the village
If you're heading around the Olympic venues, give a high-5 (then apply hand gel) to the folks that will be 'games makers'. Without them there would be a lot less calm, a lot less quality preparation, the event would be a total mess!
Now the games are effectively upon us support staff have to tread a delicate tightrope. They have to doing a sterling job, no surprises, being a steadying force, working long hours to do what is necessary. The best way to do this is to put their 'bullshit filters' up.
You might hear people chirp;
"It is only a sports event"
"Just like any old championships"
This type of mantra helps prevent getting carried away. This is very sensible and sound advice - you must stay grounded at the games. Hoooooowever, the Olympics is different - it is a wonderful, wonderful whirlwind, that can sweep you up, inspire you to perform (whether you're an athlete or support staff) at an incredibly high level! Why? Because it involves so clearly and tangibly working to a goal, an end-point and a climax. It is laced with PURPOSE!
The Olympic whirlwind exists because of 1) it's rarity being held every four years; 2) in simple terms it is 41 successive World Championships+ being held all at once with 306 events to be won. That's 306 occasions where the best put themselves on the line. Wherever you look there will be someone getting ready to perform, having performed, watching or helping someone perform or lots of people buying those funny little Olympic badgey things! Created by the sheer mass of activity, the scale of the event and the quality of sport, raised to the power of 204 countries, the buzz turns into a storm, then as the games begins - a wonderful whirlwind.
If you're there or if you were nearly there - get your head down and do a great job. If you're there, nearly there, were part of the journey or if you're simply a fan, enjoy the biggest, brightest* awe-inspiring celebration of achievement, endeavour and human spirit. That our little species choses to compete as a collective, coming from the distant quarters of the globe and that our representatives respect*** one another on the start line, compete like demons in the events, plying their freak like talents, and then respect each other at the end - is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Enjoy the whirlwind!
For more on supporting champions, see my No. 1 Amazon bestselling book, 'How to Support a Champion'
*Except those repugnant dopers!