Olympic official Greetham full of praise for Rio games

Sam Greetham
Sam Greetham

Scarborough swimming supremo Sam Greetham was impressed with the superb job Rio did of hosting the Olympics during his time there as an official last month.

Greetham was at the Brazilian city to run the open-water and triathlon events, which included looking after the safety of all the competitors and boats at the Copacabana Beach venue.

The head coach of Scarborough Swimming Club, said: “This was my fifth Olympics, but Rio was one of the best Games I have been too, the lack of funding was made up for by the locals’ enthusiasm for the event.

“The home crowd really got behind Team GB, who surpassed anything they had achieved at an Olympics for over 100 years.”

“The highlight of Rio for me was Northern boys Chris Mears and Jack Laugher achieving a gold and beating China.

“This was an unexpected achievement but was very well received.

He added: “This included the aquatics disciplines, marine police, divers, as well as all the world press and television representatives.

“When you consider there were 105 people and 35 boats, including ones used by special forces, there was a huge potential for a bomb threat.”

Greetham, who is highly-respected in the international world of swimming, added: “Before the Games, the media had reported that the water conditions were hazardous, it looked like the water was going to be terrible.

“The water actually turned out to be crystal clear, the possible reason for this was that a typhoon hit the area just before the event.”

Greetham also had a lot of praise for the way that the locals welcomed him, as well as the other officials and athletes.

He said:“There may be a lot of people in Rio living in poverty, the city has a population of between 11 and 12 million, but they could not do enough to help me, I was overwhelmed by their great hospitality.

“I also got a rare chance to visit the Olympic Village which was a great experience, as usually only competitors are allowed in.

“When I went to the huge restaurant in the village I saw Andy Murray just sitting over from me, as well as the USA basketball team, it was a great atmosphere.”

Greetham is already in discussions about a key role in the open water events at the Tokyo Games, which will be held in 2020.