Olympic Observations from Bruce Gemmell

Bruce Gemmell, one of the Coaches of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team in Rio de Janeiro and head coach at NCAP’s Georgetown Prep site, shares some Olympic Village observations. 

Friday Observations

You feel extremely safe walking around village.  Although it’s probably not as safe as you feel.

Kinda cool walking around all various athletes/countries. You have no idea if most of them are Katie Ledecky or Katie Nobody.

Automatic street cred with USA gear on, especially USA Swimming.

Simone Biles is tiny.  Smallest of all U.S. Gymnasts I think.

Race walkers just train in village. Look kinda stupid doing it.

Coca Cola pays lots of sponsorship money.

Haven’t made it over to the McDonald’s yet.   I hear it is always super crowded. Except they say they completely ran out of food.

Tennis practice courts in village. No name players (as far as I know) hit the ball really hard.

Surprising number of smokers (not all that surprising). Mostly European and older (coaches).

According to my phone I walked over 11 miles yesterday.

Saturday Observations

Today is opening ceremony. Seems like just yesterday we were in London. Lots has happened in 4 years.

All training venues close today at noon so athletes can all go to ceremonies. So after 3 weeks of adjusting to 1pm prelims and 10pm finals, we are all finished today by noon

I imagine the village will be filled with athletes dressed for opening ceremonies between 5-6pm. It will be pretty cool.

First buses for OC leave village around 5:30pm.

Only 3 swimmers + Michael Phelps are walking in ceremony since swimming starts tomorrow. We (USA Swimming) were only allowed to have 4 staff members to walk. We had a lottery. I didn’t win.

USA Swim Team had a great last full team meeting yesterday PM. It was very motivational. Finished it with a top of the lungs rendition of

God Bless America in the courtyard. U.S. Athletes on floors above us came out on balconies and joined in. We all then ran off and watched the carpool karaoke Russell produced and released into cyberspace. You can find GBA online too if you look around.

CK was fun. Some staff originally recorded bits too, but didn’t make the final cut.

Racing starts tomorrow. Everybody on US is fit, healthy, happy, excited and ready to go.

Food in village continues to get better. Most importantly food is now well marked so you know what it is. Real challenge starts tomorrow when finals are over past midnight and finalist have warm down, medal ceremonies, media, drug testing, etc and won’t get back to village until well past 2am. Will there still be good food??

Transportation to venue …. Most thrilling harrowing part of the day. More on that later. Let’s just say “bus racing” may be an Olympic event that I’m not aware of.

2 thoughts on “Olympic Observations from Bruce Gemmell

  • Aug 7, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    I really like to read the first hand experience/story. More please.

    • Aug 11, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      We just posted round two!


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