Mon | Mar 27, 2023

Please, more samba, less snooze

Published:Wednesday | August 3, 2016 | 4:08 PM


So I've been in Rio for a few days now and I think I'm in a position to form a proper assessment of the place.

There's no doubt that this is a city of tremendous beauty - in more ways than one, if you know what I mean, but to say that the Olympics buzz is electric, or that the locals seem overly enthused about the fast-approaching Games would be, well, a lie.

The Brazilians I have met - some before I arrived here - so far seem more anxious and worried than thrilled that their city will be hosting the greatest show on Earth.

That's somewhat expected, I guess, given the seemingly countless problems that have bothered organisers over the past years, weeks and days leading up to tomorrow's Opening Ceremony.

There is a great sense of tension in the air.

I mean, it's not every day you see regular hotel lobby security guards wearing bulletproof vests and packing extension clips. It's not everywhere on the planet you will constantly be told never to walk on the streets alone, or take a taxi (Uber is highly recommended), or basic stuff like that.

And I mean, it's not like we don't have problems of our own in Jamaica. But things here seem a bit rougher around the edges.

Still, I'm expecting and planning to fully enjoy this Olympics experience. The locals I have met have certainly been most helpful and pleasant - maybe the fact I am Jamaican has something to do with that.

Like everywhere else in the world (except some Caribbean countries) ... it's a joke ... not really. Jamaicans are treated like close cousins here. Everyone knows and loves Usain Bolt, everyone claims to be a Bob Marley fan, and everyone thinks they can sing a Jimmy Cliff song. I bet not too many of you knew that Jimmy lives here in Brazil.

For now, I am not too close to the heart of Rio. That will change in a couple days when I leave the team's training base and head south, where I'm hoping that the vibe is a little more samba and a lot less snooze.