Olympic fever: what it’s really like in Rio

Our fitness contributor, Greg Stark, travelled to the Rio 2016 Olympics as a guest of Swisse. Read on to find out his thoughts on this vibrant city.

Rio, Olympics, 2016 Olympic Games, Brazil, Swisse, Greg Stark, Christ the Redeemer

The Olympics is the most watched event on television. It is bigger than the moon landing, AFL Grand final and the finale of X-Factor. This year marks the 31st Olympic Games, and the first in South America.

The Olympic Games was founded on the ethos that; “the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” Throughout history, the Olympics have had the power to unite. With Brazil in turmoil, and the world on edge, we needed this Olympics more than ever.

But the question on most people’s lips was whether Rio could pull off hosting the greatest sporting event on the planet?

Thanks to our friends at Swisse, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Rio. I couldn’t wait to take in the sights, sounds and smells of this vibrant city.

A photo posted by Greg Stark (@greg.stark) on

Our first stop on the agenda was to travel to Christ the Redeemer. As one of the Modern Seven Wonders of the World, the statue serves as an iconic symbol of Christianity. For the people of Brazil, the statue represents a symbol of peace. Being at Christ the Redeemer, and looking out across the awe-inspiring landscape, I finally felt I had arrived in Brazil.

A photo posted by Greg Stark (@greg.stark) on

Next stop, breakfast! Swisse had arranged for former Chief de Mission, Golden Valley fruit superstar and dual Olympic gold medallist, Nick Green to speak to us over our meal. Nick spoke about what makes a great athlete and highlighted the level of commitment necessary to qualify for an Olympic games. He stressed that many athletes competing at the games are amateurs, with the Olympics being the pinnacle of their sporting career. These athletes have had four years of preparation for this one moment, they’ve trained up to 50 hours a week and received minimal funding. They aren’t driven by money or fame. Instead, they’re driven by a desire to compete at the highest level of sport.

According to Nick, one of the greatest Olympic challenges is bringing 418 Australian athletes together, so they’ve focused on this phrase, ‘live the dream, love the team’.

Considering the Olympics were about to kick off, the streets of Rio were surprisingly mellow. Perhaps building up to the main event.

The Olympics are special and the world is waiting in great anticipation for what Brazil can produce.

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Greg has made it his fight to bring professionalism back to exercise. With a university degree in Human Movement and working with elite level athletes, Greg’s knowledge and experience is leading the way. Greg is the founder of Better Being, Australia’s only team of university qualified personal trainers delivering health solutions that suit your busy corporate life. Today, Greg continues to support the health and wellbeing of corporate executives and celebrities. He also educates trainers and regularly contributes to national publications and TV shows including Men’s Health, Sky Business and The Morning Show. Greg was awarded the 2011 Australian Exercise Professional of the Year finalist and is a proud ambassador for lululemon athletica. He has also established a charity, Active Kids, which aims to overcome childhood obesity and physical inactivity in Australia. Greg’s passion is to create ways to inspire, educate and motivate people to build a happy and healthy life.