The Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Rio
Described as one of the most visually stunning outdoor stadiums ever, the venue was built around a natural feature, the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon. It has a surface area of 2.4 million square meters, fed by ‘fresh’ water from the surrounding hills. Nearby, from the top of Mount Corcovado, the massive statue Christ the Redeemer watches on.
Being a open lake right in the city, the public will be able to watch the racing from the surrounding streets and fancy apartment buildings that line the lake. The brand new stadium holds 10,000 people. But will that be the best place to watch the racing?
Rumours that a kayaker training in the lagoon capsized after hitting a sofa sent twitter has into a frenzy on #kayaksofa. The couch now has its own twitter handle identity, @KayakSofaRio who at first claimed he was "just minding my own business", but now says he was “put up to it by the Russians”.
Although the Olympic Officials claim to have heard nothing about it, the case highlights the public’s apparent thirst for the ‘Schadenfreude Olympics’ (being a German word for the pleasure one gets from someone else’s misfortune).
The Sprint Canoe and Kayak teams share the venue with the rowing regatta, who race in the first week. High winds have already affected their racing, even capsizing one heavyweight pair’s boat on day one.
Water quality has been a concern for years: sewage overflow, storm drain run-off and dumped rubbish are still visible, with virus and bacteria levels continuing to test off the charts. Athletes have been variously advised not to open their mouths, leave drink bottles on land and shower after races.
For the first time at the Olympics, boats are allowed to use a weed deflector - a small blade that cuts through weed (or anything else) that may get caught on the rudder.
Whatever happens on the water, we’re sure to enjoy the gorgeous Rio scenery above – and be entertained by more stories of what lurks beneath. Whoever this couch character is, he's pretty funny and well worth checking out.
Scott Martlew has competed his Rio Paralympic Dream with an eighth place finish in the A Final.