Editor’s note: Carlo Prandini and wife Theresa of Clovis, along with daughter Chrissy and son Mark, are providing updates on their Rio experience, which included a thriller Monday morning as daughter Jenna roared to victory in the 200 meters in her Olympic debut. Here is Carlo’s account of the race and post-race family exchange:
Sunday, we finally connected with our kids Chrissy and Mark and the intensity of the day was turned up!
We promptly hit the Copacabana Beach area and like seasoned veterans we made our way through the crowds. Remarkably, amidst tens of thousands of locals and Olympic visitors we came upon Fresno area swim coaching legend Rick Klatt and his family. The Klatts were in town to watch son Dan, another Clovis Unified Olympian, who is now coaching at UC Irvine and assisting with the USA Women’s water polo team. Nice people.
Monday was Jenna’s first day to race at 9:30 a.m. Rio time. With our usual excessive preparation we were up by 5 a.m. and out the door by 6 a.m. for the 15-minute walk to the station. Fearing the worst because we heard the stories of problems with mass transit, we were presently surprised with the efficiency and helpfulness of the staff dealing with semi-bewildered travelers. Our “Go Jenna Go” shirts that we broke out for the first time in Rio predictably helped us to converse with curious folks from all over the globe.
The Brazilians are fun to watch as they are over the top in support of their athletes. The Americans had a good day on the track and it adds to our excitement personally knowing so many of them.
The Olympic Stadium, which was not specifically built for these Olympics, is not in pristine condition on the exterior but was sufficiently updated on the inside with two huge video screen on either end to follow all the action.
Jenna ran a workman-like race and easily advanced to the semifinals by winning her heat. The highlight of the day was to spend a few minutes with her after she warmed down and before she headed back to the Olympic Village. There were hugs all around and small talk about life in the village. She was upbeat and joked around with her brother and sister with their usual sibling banter. After being stopped for pictures with a few fans, she headed out to the team shuttle to relax and prepare for Tuesday’s semifinals.
With Jenna competing in the evening, we will “prepare” by sleeping in and continuing to explore Rio to help keep our nerves in check!