Garside at the Games: Playing it cool in rush hour

A bus journey, as you might have noticed in this column, is central to the Rio experience for working press, a great arterial blood supply feeding the Olympic organism.

Friday, 12th August 2016, 12:05 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:24 am
Bradley Wiggins, effortlessly cool - unlike some journalists. Credit - landmarkmedia /

As well as a fine way to see the Rio hinterland, albeit within the Olympic bubble, it can also be a window on the world of the athlete, well a particular kind of athlete.

There he was, Bradley Wiggins himself, leading out the British track team on the late afternoon commute from the Athlete’s Village to the Olympic Park.

The weather was filthy. Wiggins and Co might have taken a bus of their own, but that would have meant bowing to convention and convention is something Wiggins does not do.

He is known to cycle from home in the western burbs across Manchester to the velodrome in rush hour, so what’s a short blast through the Rio traffic with the lads?

Mind you, he could have done without the banging on the window by an excited colleague frantically screaming “heh, heh, there’s Wiggo!” Journalists eh? Commendably Wiggins kept his head down and rode on.

Right in the pocket

It was bound to happen, golfer slaps his tee shot outside the ropes and punter bends down to pick it up. Well, an Olympic golf ball would make some souvenir.

Thankfully there were enough people in the gallery who knew enough about the rules of the game to keep Anibar Lahiri’s ball out of the pocket of an offender and in play on day one of golf’s return to the Olympic fold.

“Noooooooo” needs no translation in situations like these, especially when the collective issuing the instruction bears down on you with the intensity of James Haskell smashing into the breakdown.

Youthful enthusiasm

At the end of a long day I would recommend plugging into Nile Wilson. Ten seconds in the company of the 20-year-old gymnast from Leeds has the same impact as ten cans of Red Bull. After finishing eighth in the men’s blue riband all around gymnastics event Wilson set fire to the mixed zone with enthusiasm.

“First Olympics, top eight in the world, I can’t be happier. I’m just loving every second.This is the pinnacle of gymnastics, for someone to have the highest score on every piece of apparatus, there’s nothing that beats that. It was an incredible experience. I seem to soak it up and just want to show the world what I am capable of.”

Good lad.