MY OLYMPICS JOURNEY: Getting up-close and in the clouds in Rio

“It is what it is.”

That’s the sentence I heard from several of my colleagues as we stood among the clouds, barely able to see ten feet in front of us.

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.

Not on this day.

We found ourselves awash in a mixture of fog, mist, and full-on rain. We had seen peeks of the vistas as we rode a cable car to the top, but by the time we arrived, we could hardly see the statue.

It is what it is.

And, in this case, “what it is” was pretty freaking surreal.

The statue of Christ the Redeemer seemed like a silhouette in the distance, even as it towered over us. I could not help but be impressed and awed.

We visited the statue as part of a day-long tour arranged by NBC. We hit a number of Rio’s most iconic spots and came upon a barrage of beautiful views and eclectic sights.  I plan to put together a full video report about the day, but in the meantime I figured I could provide a photo gallery so you can see what I saw.

Here are the highlights:


Rio’s Barra district at dawn …


At the base of Corcovado Mountain, en route to Christ the Redeemer …


In the clouds at the Christ the Redeemer statue …


Christ the Redeemer, from the front …


The iconic Selaron Steps, a mosaic masterpiece near Rio’s Lapa district …


Part of the mosaic at the Selaron Steps …


Copacabana Beach, in all of its glory …


This is the beach volleyball venue at Copacabana …


Off the Copacabana coast, until the next time …

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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