In association with
After a late night, Saturday morning brought with it a much welcomed lie-in which made me feel slightly like a human being again.
When you’re racing from venue to venue, it can be hard to find time to fit in the actual writing and admin work that needs to be done so that was how my Saturday was spent, in the Media Centre with my head stuck in my laptop.
While there, we were glued to the television for coverage from cycling as Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal won Ireland’s second medal of the Games in the Women’s B 3000m Individual Pursuit final. These women are superstars who have worked incredibly hard over the past number of years to get where they are. We know that they are world class on the road but to achieve a medal, and a silver one at that, on the track, shows their exceptional talent. They even set a new world record – even if it did only last for five minutes.
The best is yet to come from our cycling team with the road events beginning early next week. It’s a trek to the Fuji International Speedway which is 114km away from our base in Tokyo but no doubt it’ll be a very worthwhile trip.
So after the excitement of that tremendous victory, and the performance of Martin Gordon and Eamonn Byrne in the 1000m Time Trial final, it was time to grab a quick lunch before jumping in a taxi to head to the Olympic Stadium to watch Greta Streimikyte in acton in her 1500m final.
These bus/taxi journeys have been one of my favourite aspects of the Games so far. You can look at as many photos as you like but seeing the Tokyo skyline in person is astonishing and every single time we cross the Rainbow Bridge, I do a double-take at the magnificent views surrounding me.
Mind you, the Olympic Stadium, home to the Para Athletics events, is no less impressive and it was a special moment for me to see such events live having watched them religiously on the television since I was a child.
Media have to walk around the tunnels of the stadium to find their way to the venue’s media centre and really it’s no different than the walk you make through the tunnels of Croke Park on your way to a post-match press conference. It even smells the same. Well that’s a lie, there is one major difference. Croke Park is constantly chilly regardless of the time of year whereas the Tokyo Olympic Stadium was close to suffocating. At 6.30pm, the temperature was 32 degrees with 53 percent humidity. Enough to warrant a red flag in the official heat intensity scale.
We’re gearing up towards Ireland’s first Athletics final of the games!
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) August 28, 2021
There’s no point in denying it, we went there tonight very hopeful of a third medal for Ireland but unfortunately that was not to be. Greta gave her all on the track tonight, and after the race her tears were literally mixed with sweat. Sometimes finals don’t go the way they should on paper. And it’s heartbreaking for the athletes involved and their coaches, especially when there’s no clear reason why. But we all know what Greta is capable of and she knows it herself. Paris is only three years away so no doubt she will take some time and come back better than ever.
The Olympic Stadium will be my home again tomorrow as ‘the fastest Paralympian in the world’ Jason Smyth takes to the track in the Men’s 100m T13. This is geared up to be a special one.