Volunteer spirit lifts athletes in Rio
RIO DE JANEIRO – Rio de Janeiro is a big place, but no matter where I have gone in this city, I have been helped and greeted by the incredible volunteer workforce that helps run the enormous undertaking of the Olympic Games.
None of these events are possible without a unified vision and the extraordinary number of hours that volunteers give of themselves.
Whether it’s the person directing crowds in a busy metro station, or the person welcoming athletes at the Olympic Village, each plays a role in ensuring the success of this event. The volunteers here in Brazil have been nothing short of amazing.
This contributes to an athlete’s ability to perform, and Team USA is proving that point.
On the men’s side, the event of the day was the triple jump. Christian Taylor defended his 2012 gold medal with a world-leading jump. He was followed closely behind by Will Claye, who earned the silver and snagged a PB in the process. Devon Allen placed 5th in his first Olympic appearance and Ronnie Ash’s all-out effort was inspiring. It was also another day of advancement: all three of our men made it into the semifinals of the 1500m (Matthew Centrowitz, Robby Andrews and Ben Blankenship), and all three men advanced to the semifinals of the 200m (LaShawn Merritt, Ameer Webb and Justin Gatlin). Kerron Clement also advanced to the finals of the 400m hurdles.
For the women, the night was highlighted by Jenny Simpson’s bronze medal performance in the 1500m. It is the first time ever an American woman has earned an Olympic medal in that event. There were advancements across the board, as well: Shelby Houlihan and Abbey D’Agostino qualified for the finals of the 5,000m, Jenn Suhr and Sandi Morris advanced to the finals of the pole vault, and all three Americans advanced to the semifinals of the women’s 100 hurdles (Nia Ali, Kristi Castlin, Bri Rollins). Britney Reese and Tianna Bartoletta will both move on to the long jump final. Tori Bowie and Deajah Stevens both qualified for the 200m final. Finally, Dalilah Muhammad and Ashley Spencer advanced to the 400m hurdles final.
With performances like that, there’s only one thing to say: Obrigado, Rio!
2016 Olympic Head Coach – Men’s Track and Field