Rio Games: In The Hands of The Gods

Published on August 3rd, 2016

Luca Devoti, Italian Finn silver medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, is at the Rio Games as a coach. Here he reports

These are the last days before the Games. The Opening Ceremony, especially for those who never took part in the Olympics, is a cathartic moment. From now on there is no real training anymore. It is the calm before the storm, and only those who can relax, regenerate and come fully-loaded and focused…those who know how to manage all the emotions and control the mind will have the chance to greet glory.

We went sailing this week with Rio at its best: twenty knots out of Niteroi, huge waves, the islands, the incredible colors, the vegetation, the Finns planning downwind in a brutal free pumping contest. I knew why I was there, why I have devoted my life to sailing first as an athlete and now as a coach. The sea taught me to forget the troubles I was facing ashore and Rio was as magic and beautiful as you can dream of.

But mixed feeling are surging – on one hand a sense of strength, peace and happiness, and on the other hand in Rio the tension is building up.

Life inside the Olympic Marina, at the moment, is quite relaxed as sailors are scattered around and working on their boats. There is lot of peace, with a small sailor’s lounge providing soft drinks, water, and fruit. A restaurant opened from 11 to 13 and from 16 to 18. There is plenty of space as the Marina is huge. We are not in allocated spaces, so there is semi-chaos, but everything is okay. Workers are repairing the ramp that will be ready by Friday.

Surely the waters are dirty but there is less plastic floating around and to my knowledge not anyone really has got anything from sailing here. I would not advise drinking the waters but all in all it is not as bad as depicted. Zika is like an urban myth as I have not seen a mosquito since I am here; they must have killed them all.

We are now in the hands of the gods. If there is breeze, Rio is magic. If we are lucky and get some breezy days, Rio will make for one of the top Olympics in history.

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