Oisin Langan's view from Rio: 'You learn to accept early on you can’t do it all on your own'

Newstalk Sports broadcaster is reporting from Rio during the Paralympic Games

Oisin Langan is Newstalk's man on the ground for the Rio Paralympics. In his latest update from Brazil, he talks about the importance of collaboration between members of the Press..


ME : is that it over there ?

FELLOW PRESS MEMBER: No that’s pylon!

And so went the conversation between a fellow member of the press and I as we searched the surrounding hills of Rio De Janero for Christ the Redeemer.... now a class 2 relic and long time wonder of the world. The wonder of my Paralympic world that despite being here since Wednesday I have yet to catch site, partly through business, I am here to work, and partly because of the cloud cover which hovers over the City observing from above but never actually dipping down to join us.

I’m sure upon my return I’ll be asked what Rio is like but if my trip continues as it’s already gone, I won’t be able to answer that question honestly as the only time you get outside the venues is via bus when you’re going to another venue. I’ve seen enough from the windows of the buses to know that large parts of this City are pretty much forgotten and that no amount of Olympic/Paralympic legacy talk is going to solve the multiplicity of issues that exist there. We maybe here but we’re not really here, we have the luxury of staying in a nice area beside the main Olympic park and all the transport we take is designated to Journalists so we never really step outside the bubble.

This is my first taste of the Paralympics and so far the buzz is amazing, given the nature of those who have reached Rio pretty much all of the athletes have amazing back stories and it’s an honour to see up close the drive and determination that has taken them to the top of their respective sports. It seems Channell 4’s pre game promo could not have summed up the athletes any better than it did. It was enjoyable bonus that they did it through song.

From a press point of view at the Paralympics you learn to accept early on you can’t do it all on your own and while you maybe working for different organisations a team ethic is required between sharing audio, quotes and information. I’ve found the Irish press core as well as the representatives from Paralympics Ireland and the relative associations are living proof that a form of Communism can work!  That story is true but some of the names have been changed, that was literally the case with one member of our “Irish press in Rio” whats app group when the Fr Dougal like administrator...it’s me... accidentally included a Sports Ireland official under the wrong name... rather than correct it the name has stuck and upon her return Anne Mc Carthy shall be referred to as “ Ash”.

The nature of these games is that sometimes you are flying around trying to get to 5 different venues in an hour all of which are seven buses apart or you’re sitting in some form of press area waiting between events that are hours apart. As glad as my colleagues are to have me here for my wit and charm I’ve decided to give them a rest and throw my energy into writing this diary.  During these down times you try to get a plan together and get organised but the irony of that is getting yourself into even more of a confused state trying to work out what time it is back home when that event takes place and would it be better to go to another event if we have a better medal chance or if there’s a better story to be had! This is where I’m jealous of my RTE colleagues who are doing what a state broadcaster should ploughing resources into these games in order to provide comprehensive coverage.  

My only real away trips on behalf of Newstalk, with the exception of the Lions in 2005, have been to the GAA all-stars and International rules so actually having to work when away is something that has come as a massive shock. So far, this is an amazing experience and it’s given me a taste for more of this stuff ..except Ryder Cups.... and upon my return, I will hopefully regale anyone who is interested about records broken, medals won, wi fi strengths, terrible press are coffee and long days. What I probably won’t be able to do is tell you what Rio is actually like - restaurant recommendations, if Lola is still at the bar at the Copacabana, if the Girl from Ipanema is better than the Rose of Tralee, or are there any street footballers left?  

I also can't tell you what legacy the Games will have.

Saturday is a relatively quiet day for the Irish and it just so happens, I may be able to watch my beloved Waterford play Galway in the Bord Gais Energy All Ireland under hurling 21 final. If we win a trip to the Redeemer, which may have to happen as I’ve always felt it looked incomplete without a blue and white flag draping form the top.....that said the cops here have big guns so I may leave it.