My day 3 in Rio, we get on our bus to head out to the stadiums for the swimming. We’re pumped that we’ll be seeing Women’s Health cover stars and Swisse ambassadors Cate and Bronte Campbell slam it in their swimming heats but, in what I now know as typical Rio style, officials have blocked off the areas buses were allowed to drop off passengers at, so our driver ends up taking us around and around and around the stadium before finding somewhere it’s not ‘forbidden’ to stop.
When we finally disembark, our group of about 15 rushes through the crowd, trying not to lose each other. We just manage to catch Bronte slicing through the water on the big screen OUTSIDE the stadium. D’oh. Still plenty of heats to go, though – we witness Michael Phelps in all his ripped glory, and an Australian women’s medley team being the legends they are.
Lunch is a packet of chips and a Coke (living the brand!) because the hot dogs are all sold out, the pre-packaged cheeseburgers don’t look like a good idea, and lining up for any other food takes a couple of hours out of your day. But hey, I’ve been eating like a queen – ceviche, parma ham, prawns, filet mignon – ever since I arrived, so today I’ll get by on chips.
After the swimming, we’re treated to a visit to The Edge, the Aussie Olympic team’s hangout away from the bustling Olympic village to have a swim in the pool, play simulated golf, soccer. The whole house is like a massive rumpus room. Model kangaroos, bean bags, inspiring drawings from fans on the walls.
There I meet my new girl crush Anabelle Smith, the synchronised diver who, along with diving partner Maddison Keeney, took out bronze the other day, completely shocking herself; “It was amazing, it was a bit of a shock at the start, we didn’t believe we’d got a medal, we both thought we were having a nap and were waiting to wake up,” she says. “You dream about it for so long, and for it to become a reality is just crazy.” She was high on life, I was high on getting to hold her surprisingly heavy medal.
I also had a yarn to former Olympic-gold medallist rower and head of Cycling Australia, Nick Green, and Aussie bballer, Liz Cambage. You know, just hangin’ with my Olympics crew before heading off in the evening to what has got to be the best sports match I’ve seen in my life: the men’s basketball, Australia vs the USA.
Picture this… Third row, we could almost touch the (pretty fantastic looking) guys, smell their sweat. Matthew McConaughey right across the stadium from me with his wife. A stadium packed with dancing Aussies, Americans, Brazilians. It all feels pretty unexpected because we only just got tickets. I love basketball because I used to play. I’M SEEING OUR BOYS VS THE DREAM TEAM. I’ve only eaten chips since breakfast but I’m wired on adrenaline. And the Aussie boys are creaming it – at least for the first half. They’re leading 54-49. The US team looks worried, the Aussies are stoked. The Americans in the audience are in disbelief. We’re in disbelief. Devastatingly, the Aussies start to get tired, and although it’s pretty even for most of the second half, the Americans manage to get 10 points ahead in the last five or so minutes. Final score 98-88. Bloody good effort, though, Boomers.
Me and the Swisse group start to come down from our match-long high as we take the half-an-hour walk in the dark back to where the bus is parked. Ravenous, we stop for some takeaway fettucine carbonara, have a Skol beer back in the Swisse suite of our hotel and take our weary selves to bed, ready to do it all again tomorrow. The Olympics rules.
Alice is reporting for Women’s Health with Swisse. #Swissepoweringdreams