I have been fabulously privileged to share our love for canoeing with the rest of the World. Rio was a huge inspiration; deeply disturbing; profoundly sad and proof in the value of teamwork.
- We have all grown in our own ways since London 2012. The Olympics upholds the faster, higher, stronger motto. Personal bests. New records. Outstanding achievements. The Brazilian nation. Our ICF media team.
- The deprivation that is very visible around Rio is deeply disturbing. It can’t be hidden behind fluorescent Olympic colours. Nevertheless, we witnessed great individual stories of out-reach for example New Zealand’s Mike Dawson. The fact that we left more cognizant of this has to be positive. We pledge to come back. We ask the IOC to please donate all the stuffed toy mascots to the local kids in Rio.
- The canoeing world is left with a deep sense of loss too. We lost one of our own canoe slalom community. German women’s coach Stefan Henze was tragically killed in a taxi in Rio. Stefan was an Olympic silver medallist in Athens.
- We saw incredible teamwork, the Brazilian’s came together and embraced the overseas sporting world. Athletes from different nations lent a hand to each other. Sport does unite us.
In the space of three weeks, I produced a 24,000-word blog series and more than 1,000 live tweets using hashtag #ICFslalom and #ICFsprint. We have one final post soon on the Planet Canoe Rio 2016 blog with what the social analytics tell us.
Don’t forget the Paralympics. These athletes deserve our attention and recognition too. I will be tweeting #ICFparacanoe @PlanetCanoe
I didn’t compete. That doesn’t matter. I know I have left Rio, faster, higher, stronger and more enriched than when I arrived. Adeus Rio.
Featured image photo credit: Balint Vekassy, ICF photographer. In my opinion, the very best image from the canoe slalom in Deodoro. Pictured is Jana Dukatova (SVK).