As the longest continuous sponsor of the Olympic Games, The Coca-Cola Company has had the privilege of sending associates from many of the places we operate globally to represent their countries and attend. This year Calgary’s own Jessica Belair was one of 28 employees selected from around the world to attend the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as recognition of their dedication to personal wellness. For five days, Jessica and the other lucky Coca-Cola associates were given the opportunity of a lifetime, a front row seat to arguably one of the most exciting sporting events in the world.
So please read on and enjoy as Jessica shares with us a brief snapshot of her incredible Olympic Games adventure in her own words.
I was fortunate enough to bring my husband on this once-in-a-lifetime trip and have him experience the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with me. He is a huge sports fan so this was definitely a bucket list item for him.
This was my second trip to an Olympic Games thanks to Coca-Cola, the first was Vancouver in 2010 where I served as a Venue Manager. Having been to an Olympics already I had some expectations before going on the trip, but I can honestly say that the team in Brazil blew my mind with the amazing job they did!
Our adventure started when we were greeted at the airport by a wonderful team of Coca-Cola Brazil ambassadors. At the hotel there was a Coca-Cola lounge and the entire floor was themed and decorated around our Taste the Feeling campaign.
Instantly we developed some amazing friendships with other Coca-Cola employees from around the world – from Egypt to Nigeria, Australia and Japan, just to name a few. One of my favourite parts of this trip was learning more about their cultures and asking questions about their families and lives back home. I made friends for a lifetime on this trip and look forward to visiting them in the near future.
Some of the events my husband and I got to enjoy were beach volleyball, gymnastics, handball and rugby. Beach volleyball was by far one of my most memorable events as we got to watch Canada vs. Italy. Naturally we had a friendly wager going between us and the two Coca-Cola ambassadors from Italy; unfortunately we lost the bet but it was still a lot of fun to watch and root for our Canadian athletes in person! Best of all, because the arena was located right on Copacabana beach we had the surreal experience of hearing the waves crashing behind us while we watched the game.
In the Olympic Village there were many exciting events going on, including one from Coca-Cola where fans learned about our partnership with the Olympics, took pictures with the torch and sampled our refreshing beverages. We also sampled some of Rio’s extraordinary cuisine as well. My favourite was ‘Pao de Queijo’, a cheese bread that Brazil is well known for, which I enjoyed alongside my first bottle of Coca-Cola Life
Experiencing another Olympic Games through Coca-Cola was a dream come true for me. I have always been an extremely active person, at home I teach spinning, boot camp and yoga, so I’m always excited when it is an Olympic Games year. I am incredibly grateful for having had the opportunity to experience the Rio Olympics and to share it with my husband and other fellow Coca-Cola associates. It is truly an experience that I will never forget.