The last few days of Olympic event-hopping have been tremendously historic and exciting. It is hard to believe we have already been to 21 of the 28 events we are attending at Rio 2016. And as our schedule begins to slow down, we are treating ourselves to the sights and beauty of Rio de Janeiro both in the form of Olympic houses and attractions around the city.
Over the past few days, we have shuttled between the three major zones of Copacabana, Barra Da Tijuca, and Maracanã. In addition to the events themselves it is obvious how Olympians, both former and current seem to be much more visible and accessible in Rio than in London four years ago. Whether it is around the Olympic Park or in a restaurant – they can be spotted and are very responsive to selfies. We saw the Bahrain Athletic delegation at the popular Churasscaria restaurant, Marius Degustare in Leme that included Ruth Jebet, the 3000m steeplechase champion and Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa, the marathon silver medallist.
There is nothing in the world like the 100m final. While Games continues to struggle with empty seats in venues, the amount of energy in the Olympic Stadium for the blue-ribbon event is nothing like we have felt before. There is a buzz in the stadium as the anticipation builds, with all the talk about Usain Bolt. As the athletes are announced, Bolt is the clear crowd favourite and he plays to the gallery with amazing charisma. Then, silence. You can almost hear a pin drop, before an instant eruption as the athletes leave the blocks for the most exciting 10 seconds in sport. And of course, when crowd favorite Bolt does win - it is an experience like no other.
Swimming was one of our favourite sports in the games and as we said goodbye to it over the weekend, it was definitely bittersweet. While we were delighted with the accomplishments of the United States team who won 16 golds out of the available 33 medals during the meet, we particularly looked forward to seeing Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky swim in the pool each night in anticipation of what they would produce. Will Phelps really retire for good or will we see him at the Tokyo 2020 Games?
The Olympic Games are indeed about cheering for your country's athletes, but it is also about celebrating great performances. In gymnastics, we cherished being right in front of the women's vault competition to see Simone Biles' gold medal winning spectacle. We were equally as gutted the very next day when Simone unexpectedly had to grab the beam to keep from falling off. Still, we were awed by the grace showed by Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands as she claimed gold in impressive fashion.
Our favourite experience outside the venues have been the Holland Heineken House and the Visa Chase VIP Lounge at Copacabana Palace. The Visa event was a more intimate venue allowing us to meet current and former Olympians like Summer Sanders and Nadia Comaneci, with complimentary food and beverage exclusive for card holders. Holland's Heineken House is set in a large club equipped with a pool and a massive big screen TV from which you can watch the live competition. While the Visa Lounge has closed, we plan to return to Holland's Heineken House before the Games are over.
So, what's next? We go back to Copacabana (where our apartment is conveniently located) for the semi-finals of beach volleyball at midnight between Brazil and USA. With the American team of Walsh-Jennings and Ross being the favorites against the hosts - the energy in the venue will be off the charts!
Ken Hanscom is a leading authority on corporate sports ticket programmes. He serves as Chief Product Officer at InviteManager, which makes it easy for companies to share events, sports tickets and experiences with their customers while proving the ROI. He can be reached at Kenh@InviteManager.com and @KenHanscom on Twitter.