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Rio 2016 – Day 9 Track & Field

Our final day in Rio and we ended with a day at the Olympic Stadium watching some athletics. The Olympic Stadium moniker is only being used for the duration of the Games, the real name is the Nilton Santos Stadium, or more fondly known as the Engenhão, and was built for the 2007 Pan American Games and is home to my adopted team Botafogo.

The journey from Barra to Enganhao de Dentro was pretty painful, and eye-opening, and for the first time pretty disorganized. We were met by massive queues when we reached the stadium an hour later than we hoped, but not for the first time our 6-year bebê came in handy with line jumping as preference is given to kids.

When in the stadium, it was impressive, if a little soul less, but probably because any reference to Botafogo had been removed and replaced by Rio 2016 regalia and assorted key sponsors trappings. The stadium has been made a bit bigger for the Olympics and has 60,000 seats, 14,000 more than previously.

Sadly it didn’t need those extra seats. All of track and field has been here, and I haven’t seen it full once. Even for the 100m. This morning’s session was far busier than it was this afternoon, when those left in the stadium mostly gathered down one end for the decathlon pole vault. That finishes tonight with the javelin and the 1,500m. Whatever happened to Daley Thompson eh?

This morning we also watched the women’s high jump qualifiers, the decathlon shot put, and on the track the men and women’s 4 x 100m heats, which in the women’s saw the USA team drop the baton, and finish last and initially disqualified. Then a good few hours later, it was announced that the USA team would be able to run again on their own against the clock, and the Brazilian team was disqualified. The fact that it was announced in English probably meant it went past the majority of fans in the stadium.

Sure enough tonight the USA team ran alone and clocked the fastest time, pushing the Chinese team out. Apparently reinstating a team or allowing a re-run is a very rare event. Shame, as the Brits who were 2nd fastest I would think had a good chance of gold.

GB just qualified in the men’s 4 x 100, but the race was noted for the fact that Usain Bolt was rested, yet the Jamaican’s still qualified comfortably. We did see a gold medal won though, American Kerron Clement winning the men’s 400m hurdles.

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