The Olympic flame has officially been passed to Rio as we approach the 100-day countdown to the 2016 games. It’s the moment the world starts talking about one of the most exciting events in any sports fans’ calendar.
The Olympics always takes me back to my school days. We would sometimes get a day off school if a Dutch athlete was in the final stage of an event, heading for a gold medal.
There was a time when I would complain about school, but now when I look back I see it as one of the best times in life when I was living with my family in Amsterdam. Life was amazing back then. Spending days with school friends with no real responsibilities, and getting days off just to watch sport. I think a big turning point in life is when you start paying taxes because from that moment on you know you’re on your own, taking care of business.
My favourite events to watch at the Olympics are the sprint events. It’s mind blowing how explosive those guys are, running the length of a football pitch in the time it takes me to put on my socks. I mean look at Bolt. How can a man be so fast for so long, manage to keep his focus and stay on top of his game after winning so much!?
I think as a child I pretended to be every 100m gold medalist at some point. I would arrive at school and introduce myself to my friends as the name of the winner. If someone would have ever asked me what event I would want to do at the Olympics (outside of football) it would be the sprints every time.
Because of my roots and my love for Suriname, I will also be keeping my eyes on Renzo Tjon-A-Joe. He’s the man that will be carrying the pride and hope of Suriname on his shoulders, in the men’s freestyle swimming events. Suriname is the smallest country in South America with a population of 580,000, and without any Olympic standard swimming pools, Renzo’s story is already pretty special.
As a nation, Suriname has a total of two Olympic medals with Anthony Nesty winning gold and bronze in the 100m butterfly, so it would be nice to see the nation I also call home win a few more.
Brazil sure knows how to throw a party so I’m sure they will make great hosts. I was in Brazil at the beginning of the year and if I ever have the opportunity to visit for work I’d be the first to say I’m in. Rio is an amazing place and I’m a huge fan of the people and the food.
Neymar will feature in the men’s football so we can expect some great entertainment from the Brazilians, and maybe a medal for them after the disaster at the World Cup in 2014. The games come after EURO 2016 and Copa America, so like me, many football fans will be following the football.
There’s a lot of questions being asked about the preparation and some people even doubt that the country will be ready for the games. But I think there’s always a bit of panic in the run up (think back to London) and I’m sure Rio will deliver its promise.