Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sports Talk: My favorite Brazilian at the Olympics

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Sept. 5, 2012. 
Gui Buso was a foreign exchange student at Casey County High School during the 2002-03 school year where he participated in football, basketball and track.
Gui, still a close friend of mine whom I visited in Brazil in 2010, is now the communication manager of the National Basketball League in Brazil, the NBB. (Think of it as Brazil’s NBA.)
A sports lover, Gui and his bride of just over a year, Carla, recently went on a European traveling adventure that included a stop in at the London Olympics. Gui told me a little about the excitement of attending several events and looking to the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics in his home country.  
RH: What events did you get to attend?
We went to the Women's Volleyball quarter finals (Brazil beat Russia and Japan beat China); Men's Basketball quarter finals (Argentina beat Brazil and USA beat Australia); Men's Soccer final (Mexico beat Brazil 2 to 1) and we saw one of the mornings of Track (Decatlhon's 110m hurdles, pole vault and hammer; Men's 4x400m relay and Women's High Jump)

RH: Which was your favorite? Carla's favorite?
My favorite was definitely basketball, because I got to see not only the craziest rivalry in the world in Brazil and Argentina, plus the best ball players on USA against Australia. Carla's favorite event was the volleyball. She says it was such a tough and exciting game that the crowd, mostly Brazilian, helped the team get better in the fourth set and eventually win the game. They kept chanting: “The champion is back! The champion is back!” And they really came back and won the second straight Olympic Tournament. The game against Russia sure made them believe they could beat them all.

RH: Was it just the two of you or did you meet up with anyone else you knew while there?
Basically it was me and Carla, but we met for a couple of dinners two of our friends from college. One of them lives in London and the other one was traveling like us.

RH: Was any of what you watched/attended work related?
The trip was almost 100% vacation, but since I work in the NBB I always tried to catch every single detail of the Olympics organization to bring to our championships. I also wrote a few articles about all (of) the atmosphere around the Games, both for the NBA and NBB websites.

RH: In the U.S. the Olympics have a 'larger than life' stigma to them. You attend a lot of big athletic events through your work. Did these games seem as "big" as we might imagine?
Absolutely! The Olympics is the most amazing event of all. They can bring all the best athletes of the world altogether. How amazing it is to see LeBron on the court playing for the USA Team and in the stands you get to see Neymar, the Brazilian soccer sensation, or Roger Federer, or Michael Phelps. And they are all living in the same Olympic Village. Not only that, but in the Olympics all the athletes compete as they only have that shot. They get close to perfection and we, fans, just have to admire this two weeks. It's just my favorite time of all years.

RH: Did you attend any other Olympic related activities or events happening in London outside of the sporting events themselves?
We did. There was a park in Central London, called Hyde Park, where they put 4 big screens with all the Olympic action. When people didn't have tickets but still wanted to feel the atmosphere, they'd go there to watch the games. We got to watch two incredible soccer matches, both semifinals. The first one was USA against Canada. It was just incredible. And the other one was Brazil and Korea, surrounded by hundreds of Koreans. Pretty Cool.

RH: What else did you like about visiting London?
I just loved the city of London by itself. It's such an organized big city. We were jealous. Hahaha! Sao Paulo should've been like that. I don’t know if it was because of the Olympics but everyone was nice and friendly and everything just worked perfectly. Rio 2016 will have such a tough challenge.

RH: Was there any stand out part of your Olympic experience you'd like to share?
Well, you know I'm a big sports fan and I always desired to attend an Olympic event, first as an athlete then as either a journalist or a spectator. So, by the time we arrived for the first Olympic event, women's volleyball quarter finals, I just got pretty emotional and I couldn't believe I have just made my dream come true. I truly can say that (I) felt in me the Olympic Spirit they all talk about and that's one of the best feeling there is.

RH: Do you expect to have a role in the 2016 Olympics in Rio?
Actually, I already have a role in the 2016 Olympics since I help organize the Basketball National Championship, which support the athletes who will be in Rio 2016. That makes me very glad, but I'd really love to have a more important role in the Olympics and help my country to make one of the best Games ever.

RH: Did attending this year make you more excited to be the host country?
It's a mix of excitement and concern. I'm sure Brazil will be such a wonderful host city because the people are just incredible and all the tourists will love it in here. But, in the other hand, we still have some issues in infrastructure that need to be focused and I don't see the organization working on it.
RH: What would you say to all your Casey County friends about why they should start planning a 2016 trip to the Olympics?
GB: I think everyone should always get to watch an Olympic Games live, even when you are not a big time sports fan. Be able to exchange cultural experience with the whole world while cheering for your country is priceless. Now, doing all that in Brazil is an once in a lifetime opportunity. Can you imagine watch all that action and then go swim in the ocean and relax on the nice beaches in Rio. I didn't have a chance to that in London, but in 2016, I'm sure I'll be doing that in Rio.
I'd love to have every single person of Casey County coming to visit Brazil. I will never be able to thank this community for the whole experience I had there and all the friends I've made. I'll be always looking forward to have Casey County people down here, with my arms wide open as the Christ statue in Rio

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