At sprawling Rio Games, even spectators are worn out

Rio Olympics 2016, day 4 highlights

Less than a week into the Olympics and people are looking tired around Rio de Janeiro.

That is not just the athletes, mind you, but the spectators trekking between hundreds of competitions across the sprawling city, where long commutes, vibrant beaches and alluring nightlife add to the exhaustion of actually watching the sports.

SEE MORE: Everything you need to know about the Summer Olympics

Catch a bus or subway back into town from one of the Games' many outlying venues, or merely walk around Olympic sites between events, and you will see people as spent as if they had completed a decathlon.

"I'm dead," said Rodrigo Escobar, a 24-year-old Argentinian who lay next to his father on a patch of grass after a handball match. "We were planning to go out tonight, but there's no way – we wouldn't have energy for tomorrow."

Part of the fatigue has to do with the logistics involved in such a large program, featuring more than 300 medal events, 11,000 athletes and venues that can be as far as 40 km (25 miles) from one another, as is the case if you wanted to catch beach volleyball and, say, canoeing in the same day.

But it also has to do with the fact that many visitors want to pack it all in, like an overeager toddler at Disney World or the first-time tourist in Paris hoping to see the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame in one day.

"People should know they have to pace themselves," says Duane Penner, a sales executive with Roadtrips Inc., a Canadian tour operator, who is in Rio with Olympic clients and says he tells them as much even before they leave home.

"You need to build some time in to rest or even take the sights in."


At a spectacle about endurance, though, many spectators are as singleminded as the athletes.

Consider Lorna Montgomery, a 54-year-old visitor from England who came with her husband, Billy, to attend events each day for the duration of the Games. Some days, they get home at 2 a.m.

From a rented room in the central neighborhood of Laranjeiras on Tuesday, they awoke at dawn to make a rowing event at a lagoon 45 minutes away by car, lunched briefly at a nearby shopping center and then proceeded another 90 minutes by subway and bus to watch basketball in the evening.

"It can be hard," Montgomery says, sitting with her husband on two towels they brought, along with water bottles and rain ponchos. "But you just have to keep going."

With fatigue in mind, organizers point to the amenities they provided for spectators, roughly a million of whom are expected to attend the Games by the time they end Aug. 21.

At the Olympic Park, more than 1 sq km of concrete that houses nine arenas for sports such as swimming, gymnastics and fencing, as many as 150,000 people are passing through daily. However enthusiastic they may appear inside the venues, cheering and heckling at an Olympics already known for its noisy crowds, many of them by nightfall are exhausted.

Late on Tuesday, as the sun set behind a multicolored tennis arena where Rafa Nadal had just won, visitors sprawled across astroturf swatches, some of them sleeping, some of them watching events on giant screens set up before them.

Nearby, a golf cart driven by an Olympic volunteer pauses at a stop on a circuit set up for elderly and disabled visitors to hitch rides.

"Even healthy people want to get on," says Marcos Bertão, the 58-year-old driver, who says he has to change carts every three hours, after driving the circuit dozens of times, to get a fresh battery. Just then, a coupled of middle-aged Brazilians, tired but hardly infirm, ask if they can get on.

"They're not supposed to," Bertão says, but then turns, relents and drives them toward the exit.


Athletes who got rich after winning the Olympics
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Athletes who got rich after winning the Olympics
20. Sanya Richards-Ross Net Worth: $1.5 Million

Five-time Olympic medalist Sanya Richards-Ross retired just ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics after suffering a hamstring strain during the Olympic trials, ESPN reported. The 31-year-old walked the final portion of her 400-meter sprint, waving to the cheering fans in the crowd.

Just after announcing her retirement, the American sprinter announced that she would join NBC as a member of the network's Olympics broadcasting team in Rio de Janeiro.

Via GOBankingRates

19. Nastia Liukin Net Worth: $2 Million

Retired Russian-American gymnast Nastia Liukin won five medals at the 2008 Olympics, tying the U.S. gymnastics record for most medals won at one Olympics set in 1984 and later matched in 1992. The daughter of two champion gymnasts, Liukin was born in Moscow, and grew up in Parker, Texas, according to

After her 2008 Olympics success, Liukin appeared in several television shows, including "Gossip Girl" and "The Biggest Loser," according to

Via GOBankingRates

18. Gabby Douglas Net Worth: $3 Million

This year, Gabby Douglas will compete in the Olympics for a second time. She made her first Olympics appearance at the 2012 games, where she was crowned the all-around champion as a member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. team, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In Rio, Douglas will become the first reigning Olympic all-around champion to return to a second Olympics since 1980. Since her 2012 win, Douglas has made a name for herself outside the gym, recently unveiling her own Barbie doll, reported.

Via GOBankingRates

17. Lindsey Vonn Net Worth: $3 Million

Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn made her team U.S.A. debut at the 2002 Winter Olympics, competing through the 2010 games where she won two medals, including a gold, the Huffington Post reported.

Following her 2010 success, Vonn suffered a few injuries and did not compete in the 2014 games. She's currently training for the 2018 games in South Korea and will soon release her first book, “Strong Is the New Beautiful.”

Via GOBankingRates

16. Dorothy Hamill Net Worth: $5 Million

Figure skater Dorothy Hamill won a gold medal at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. She earned her $5 million net worth thanks to starring roles in “Ice Capades” and television shows, along with countless endorsement deals.

Hamill was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and has been cancer-free for the past six years. She launched a national campaign, “Be WisER+ About Breast Cancer” to empower other women battling the disease, People reported.

Via GOBankingRates

15. Tara Lipinski Net Worth: $6 Million

Figure skater Tara Lipinski took home the gold medal at the 1998 Olympics at the age of 15, becoming the youngest winner of an individual event in the history of the Winter Olympics, according to

These days, Lipinski is traveling to Rio as an NBC Olympics correspondent alongside friend and fellow figure skater Johnny Weir. The duo steals the spotlight at many public events year after year, including the Kentucky Derby, the Super Bowl and even the National Dog Show, NBCOlympics reported.

Via GOBankingRates

14. Asafa Powell Net Worth: $6.5 Million

Jamaican Olympian Asafa Powell set the world record in the 100 meters in 2005, becoming the first Jamaican to hold the title since the 1970s, The New York Times reported. At the 2008 Olympics with the Jamaican team, he won a gold medal and set the world and Olympic record in the 4×100 meter relay, according to

Puma announced an endorsement deal with Powell in September 2015.

Via GOBankingRates

13. Kristi Yamaguchi Net Worth: $8 Million

Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi took home a gold medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, but her career didn't stop there. Yamaguchi has published two children's books, made fitness videos, won “Dancing with the Stars” and founded the Always Dream Foundation.

Via GOBankingRates

12. Shawn Johnson Net Worth: $9 Million

American gymnast Shawn Johnson won four medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing: one gold and three silver. She went on to dance into Americans' hearts as the winner of reality competition show “Dancing with the Stars” in 2009.

Johnson hoped to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics but announced her early retirement due to complications with a knee injury, according to She is married to professional football player Andrew East.

Via GOBankingRates

11. Katarina Witt Net Worth: $9 Million

East German figure skater Katarina Witt has two Olympic gold medals to her name, having competed at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.

Two years after her last Olympic games, Witt appeared in HBO's Emmy-Award-winning “Carmen on Ice,” going on to earn mainstream acting gigs in films, including “Jerry Maguire,” and television shows “Frasier” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.” In 2013, Witt was the subject of the documentary “The Diplomat,” Biography reported.

Via GOBankingRates

10. Apolo Ohno Net Worth: $10 Million

American speed skater Apolo Ohno won two medals, a silver and a gold, at the 2002 Winter Olympics, returning to the games in 2006 and 2010 and taking home eight medals — a record for a U.S. Winter Olympian. In 2007, Ohno competed in and won “Dancing with the Stars,” beating out celebrities like Billy Ray Cyrus and Joey Fatone.

He returned to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but this time as an NBC correspondent — not an official member of team U.S.A. He's had endorsement deals with several brands, including Coca-Cola and Nabisco.

Via GOBankingRates

9. Tyson Gay Net Worth: $12 Million

Two-time U.S. Olympian Tyson Gay is returning to the track this year in Rio after years of setbacks and injuries, WPXI News reported. In 2013, a positive doping test cost Gay the silver medal he won at the 2012 Olympics. The test results also cost Gay one year out of the sport, according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Via GOBankingRates

8. Michelle Kwan Net Worth: $16 Million

American figure skater Michelle Kwan won a silver medal at the 1998 Olympics and a bronze in 2002. After retiring, Kwan went back to school and later returned to the games in 2010 as an ABC correspondent, according to Biography.

She recently campaigned for Hillary Clinton as a paid staffer, working on outreach efforts from the campaign's Brooklyn headquarters, The New York Times reported.

Via GOBankingRates

7. Carl Lewis Net Worth: $20 Million

Track and field athlete Carl Lewis has a staggering nine Olympic gold medals to his name. He competed in four Olympic games: 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996.

Even though he never played college football, Lewis' athleticism led the Dallas Cowboys to select him in the 12th round of the 1984 NFL Draft, and two months later the Chicago Bulls drafted him in the 10th round of the NBA draft, according to Biography.

Via GOBankingRates

6. Scott Hamilton Net Worth: $30 Million

Figure skater Scott Hamilton took home a gold medal for team U.S.A. at the 1984 Winter Olympics. From there, he used his skating skills to tour with “Stars on Ice,” and he later became a figure skating television commentator, according to Biography.

Now, Hamilton oversees the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation and the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy in Nashville. He has four children, two who were adopted from Haiti in 2014, People reported.

Via GOBankingRates

5. Shaun White Net Worth: $40 Million

Snowboarder Shaun White competed in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics for team U.S.A., winning a gold medal for men's halfpipe in 2006 and 2010. White is also a professional skateboarder and became the first athlete to compete in both the Winter and Summer X Games in two different sports.

He is also the lead guitarist in an L.A.-based band and the CEO of his own company. On top of that, White works with several other companies, including Burton, Oakley and Air +Style.

Via GOBankingRates

4. Michael Phelps Net Worth: $55 Million

American swimmer Michael Phelps is heading to his fifth Olympic games this summer in Rio as the most decorated athlete in Olympics history. He's the first U.S. male swimmer to earn a spot in five Olympics.

Although he gained fame for his Olympic success, Phelp's personal life has captured the spotlight over the years, most recently for the birth of his son, Boomer, who watched his father compete in this year's Olympic trials, ESPN reported.

Via GOBankingRates

3. Usain Bolt Net Worth: $60 Million

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt ran into the spotlight when he won three gold medals and broke three world records in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He took home another three Olympic titles at the 2012 London games, setting another new world record in the 4x100m.

Bolt initially withdrew from the 2016 Olympic trials due to an injury but was added to the Jamaican national team on a medical exemption, according to Sports Illustrated. Bolt has an endorsement contract with Puma.

Via GOBankingRates

2. Caitlyn Jenner Net Worth: $100 Million

Olympic gold medalist and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, gained fame for taking home the gold for the United States in the decathlon event at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Since then, Jenner has stayed in the spotlight as a part of popular reality television series “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “I am Cait,” a docuseries documenting the athlete's transition from male to female. She was named Glamour Magazine's Woman of the Year and received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs.

Via GOBankingRates

1. Serena Williams: $150 Million

Tennis star Serena Williams won an Olympic gold medal in Sydney 2000, a gold medal in Beijing in 2008 and two gold medals in London in 2012, according to

With career prize money totaling $77.6 million and more than a dozen endorsement deals, she recently took the top spot as the highest-paid female athlete, Forbes reported. Williams also has equity deals with the Home Shopping Network and Mission Athletecare.

Via GOBankingRates


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