MY OLYMPICS JOURNEY: Every entry from the Rio Summer Games

I’m back!

I’m back in Atlanta, I’m back to my normal routine, and I’m back to work at 11Alive.

The Olympics suddenly seem so long ago.

But the 2016 Summer Games remained a remarkable event, both for viewers at home and for those of us who got to experience it on the ground in Rio. I’m taking the week off from blogging, but in the meantime, here’s a look back at every entry of mine from these past Olympics:

Mon. 8/1: Rio is stunning, on the surface: “Within minutes [of arriving in Rio], we were graced with the sights of Baja Beach, featuring some of the highest waves I can remember. We spotted peaks in the distance and a vibrant waterside culture in front of us. It was captivating.”

Tue. 8/2: Life out here is just … different: “If you have ever traveled to a foreign land, you understand the adjustments that take place when you arrive. It’s not a ‘culture shock’ but a ‘culture shift’. You wake up at unusual times, adapt to different modes of transit, and exert much more energy than you likely would at home.”

Wed. 8/3: I’m my own boss. And I’m working myself wild: “I regularly face a daily specter of deadlines that force me to complete a story in a compressed amount of time. I still face deadlines at the Olympics, but they sit in the distance. I will put together a story tomorrow that will not air for two or three nights, which gives me additional time to make it great.”

Thu. 8/4: Getting up close and in the clouds in Rio: “The site? Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro. It’s most famous for the landmark that stands atop it: the Christ the Redeemer statue, which stands 124 feet tall and in 2007 was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Hundreds of visitors flock daily to the statue, but they equally admire the views that extend from it.”

Fri. 8/5: I tried a coxinha, and Brazilian Twitter went wild: “I am a foodie at heart and a traveler in spirit, so I relished seeing the pride in the respondents on Twitter. One little coxinha created a pretty great memory completely unrelated to the Olympics, even as it is totally related to the Olympics.”

Mon. 8/8: Watching a Bulldog go for gold: “I had not met Chase Kalisz until recently; I had not heard of Hagino until earlier that day. But I became riveted by their battle. This, I thought, is what the Olympics does so well in terms of athletic competition.”

Tue. 8/9: 10 observations from 10 days in Rio: “Tuesday marks the tenth day since I touched down in Rio. In that time I have worked for nearly 150 hours and slept for maybe 50. I have collected some pins, held a silver medal, and watched one of the most exciting sporting events I can remember seeing live.”

Wed. 8/10: What’s my Rio diet? It’ll make sense when I explain: “Such is the state of mind at the Olympics, where I have essentially hit the halfway point of a three-week assignment. Several days into Week 1, I noticed my belt felt a little looser than normal; I quickly realized I had already lost enough weight to drop a whole buckle. I also saw my daily step counts reaching the 15,000 mark and my daily sleep count dropping toward the five-hour mark.”

Thu. 8/11: Pins … they’re a habit and a state of mind: “Most pin traders, though, seem to approach it for the social element. They want to trade pins so they can remember the stories behind them. They want to be able to look at their pins years later and instantly transport themselves back to when they received them.”

Fri. 8/12: The Olympics barely hint at the real Rio: “This is not a slam on the Olympics. It’s a simple fact. The Summer and Winter Games provide the best in pageantry and competition but provide an in-person experience that is sanitized and corporate. If one spends two weeks in Rio without venturing outside of the park, one will not experience the city’s diversity of culture, cuisine, and aesthetics.”

Mon. 8/15One day, two legends on a stunning Saturday in Rio: “I couldn’t help but be grateful for the opportunities to watch both of these legends, especially in such rapid succession. Bolt ran a prelim while Phelps swam the likely last race of his career, but they both proved captivating in a similar way: I sensed I was watching history – and experiencing an event that I could see myself recounting to my future children.”

Tue. 8/16: Just hold on, we’re going home (almost): “In so many ways, this assignment is not sustainable. It pushes us physically and creatively unlike any other event. But it also separates us from our normal lives in ways that are temporary but begin to feel semi-permanent.”

Thu. 8/18: 16 odd observations from covering the ’16 Summer Games: “At the beginning of our second week, I discovered the “Quiet Room” in the main press center. It exists to enable journalists to take naps if they need them. I have used the Quiet Room for 20-30 minutes nearly every day since.”

See you with new posts next week!

Matt Pearl is the author of the Telling the Story blog and podcast. Feel free to comment below or e-mail Matt at

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