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  • The Hula Report: Breakfast With Champions


    IOC president at breakfast with athletes. (IOC/Ian Jones)
    (ATR) The sun is shining in Rio de Janeiro as IOC president Thomas Bach arrives for a month in the Olympic city.

    Fresh off the plane he made breakfast at the Olympic Village his first stop, sharing a table with team members from New Zealand, Moldova, Australia, Iceland and the Netherlands. He spoke to the dozens of chefs de mission who are already in place and visited the living quarters for the teams from Australia, Ireland and Germany.

    Speaking to ATR at the end of the day, he said he was confident any remaining problems for the village will be fixed rapidly. "I am not worried," he said.

    Wednesday afternoon he took a look at the cauldron that will burn in the center of Rio during the 17 days of the Games. Placed in the midst of the central city redevelopment, Bach says he expects the cauldron to be a magnet for visitors.

    Airport Update 

    Banners from sponsors such as Bridgestone give the new airport terminal the look of the Games. (ATR)
    Arrivals at the Rio airport seem to be moving smoothly.

    For the team from Around the Rings, it was the first time in the new terminal opened a couple of months ago. Immigration formalities moved more quickly than in the past. Following passport screening the long walk from the airplane gates to baggage claim includes a circuitous route down the aisles of the new duty-free store. Piles of Olympic and Paralympic mascots are already discounted by 40 percent.

    The Force at the Olympics. (ATR)
    The airport experience includes extensive signage for Olympic sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Bridgestone, Samsung, Nissan and Omega.

    There is even a banner for the Brazilian Army: “The Force of the Olympics”. An army of 85,000 troops is being deployed to Rio and the football host cities. In Rio, clusters of troops are already stationed at the airport and throughout the city, ready for action everyone hopes never comes.

    A reminder that the Zika virus is still around comes from an advertisement for Off mosquito repellent that pops up on screens at the baggage carousels.

    Getting Around

    Rio security forces wisely keep an eye on the whereabouts of ATR Editor Ed Hula. (ATR)
    The drive from the international airport to Barra da Tijuca was perhaps a bit quicker than normal with no traffic jams on the 20 km journey. A green stripe on the highway to Barra marks the Olympic Lane meant for official cars and buses.

    But normal rush hour traffic in the center of Barra – where many venues are located – gives off whiffs of impending gridlock when the Olympics open.

    The Windsor Marapendi Hotel, where the IOC is quartered, is already ringed by a 3m high fence. Security screening to enter the property begins in a few days; special credentials will be required for entry.

    The sun was out in Rio this Wednesday with a high temperature expected of 27c. Cooler weather is predicted for Thursday and Friday, with highs in the low 20s and minimum temperatures the 16c.

    It’s winter here as far as the sun goes, setting around 1730, rising about 0630.

    Written and reported in Rio de Janeiro by Ed Hula.

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