Rio restaurant crowd watches Bolt take the gold
The plan was to make the long trek out to the Olympic Stadium – which is, this being Rio, nowhere near the Olympic Park or any other venue – to see Usain Bolt last night. That was the plan.
After what should have been a 10-minute bus ride each way for a quick interview turned into a 90-minute trip followed by a 30-minute walk back, there was no time to get to the Olympic Stadium, even if I'd still had the energy at that point.
Instead, I watched Bolt on a big screen at a restaurant in Copacabana, and it was an entirely different kind of spectacle.
As the 100-meter final approached, the TV was turned from Brazilian volleyball – every TV in Brazil is turned to whatever event the Brazilians are in at the moment, no matter what else is going on, unless it's Bolt running – to Bolt and every chair in the restaurant turned toward it. Taxi drivers wandered up to watch. Two dozen people walking along the beach stopped and formed a clot at the entrance to the restaurant.
For 10 seconds, Copacabana's buzz was silenced and activity came to a halt.
As the race began, there was silence, but as Bolt pulled ahead of Justin Gatlin, the restaurant erupted in a roar, followed by wild cheering as Bolt won.
It wasn't the same as being at the stadium, but it might have been just as memorable.
Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, email@example.com, @LukeDeCock