A sideline view of refereeing in Rio
Vinny Munro for On the Mark 28 Sep 2016 Getty Images
The guest speaker really put life into perspective. Antonio "Tintin" Vizintín was a survivor of the 1972 plane crash in the Andes where some people survived 72 days by eating their deceased team mates. Life isn’t too bad as we have it; “just saying”!
Then off to Rio we went and the buzz started, mingling with other officials and athletes at the airport, but as we stood in the same queue as Venus and Serena Williams, it suddenly dawned on me that no one gets special treatment here.
Before we left New Zealand we had a briefing from NZOC with hepthalete Sarah Cowley providing valuable insight into what to expect. One of her comments that really resonated with me was that one third of athletes and officials would perform to their normal level, one third would under-perform and the other third would excel. This certainly came to light as we came to do our review.
The accommodation was in apartments in the Army City of Deodoro. It was okay and our travel was reduced by being there so it worked out well.
The field, training ground and all changing rooms were all temporary and one week after the Games, the area was back to its normal wasteland.
My role was to review and select referees for six straight days. With 30 minutes allowed for each game it wasn’t too bad compared to a normal tournament where we watch 24 games straight with 22 minutes allowed.
There were upsets, there were huge surprises and there were teams that under-performed - ah ha Sarah’s words ringing true.
It was great to see Fiji nail the men’s gold as we know that when they play to their potential they are purely amazing.
The 15-day trip of a lifetime came to an end. It was an experience I will never forget with the lasting memory that the Olympics are truly the best sporting event in the world where the level of performance is amazingly high. I’m looking forward to seeing New Zealand’s talent delivers at the next Games in Tokyo.