Why we’re skipping the Opening Ceremony
THE Olympic experience varies for every athlete depending on their sport, competition schedule, training requirements and personal needs.
As a kayaker, our two weeks in Rio will be much different to what you might think.
Attendance at the opening ceremony is one point most people think is mandatory. It’s not.
We will not be arriving into Rio until August 8, which is three days after the opening ceremony.
But we’re not fazed by it.
Our reasoning? The kayaking program doesn’t start until August 15, which is in the second week of the Olympics, so arriving 10 or more days before we race would likely jeopardise our preparation.
Many sports that are programmed for the second week will be in same situation as us.
The second point that people are perplexed by is the fact that we will not be staying in the athletes’ village while we’re racing.
The kayaking and rowing venue is based in Copacabana, which, in normal traffic, is about 45 minutes away from the village.
Add in Olympic traffic and competitors can expect a one hour – or longer – bus trip both ways. That is certainly not ideal.
Our accommodation, which will be shared by other Copacabana-based Australian athletes, is a five-minute walk from our race venue.
These alterations to a typical Olympic experience were made to help give us the edge over our competitors.
We want to ensure distractions leading into our race are minimised so a late arrival into Rio will help ensure an uninterrupted preparation.
Staying away from the village will also allow us to focus purely on our own race. Given we race in week two, many competitors will already be in party mode before we even think about getting our racing uniform out of our suitcases.
But we will enter the athletes’ village after our race is finished and will make sure we are front and centre marching proudly in the closing ceremony.
We’ll try and give you a wave!
Coast athletes Alyce Burnett and Alyssa Bull will compete in the K2 500m kayaking event at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.