BOSTON - As an October chill certainly made an appearance on the bank of the Charles River in Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday and Sunday, that didn’t deter people from attending the Head of the Charles Regatta and making their way to the Road to Rio Tour event site.
Lines were swarmed with people waiting for autographs of current and former Team USA athletes and many were eager to escape the cold inside of event trucks that had a wide range of hands on activities.
One of the activities at the event people were able to partake in was a 3D virtual simulation giving you the opportunity to witness the training of an athlete. The experience was breathtaking as it gave you a different perspective of a variety of sports. This virtual reality was just one of the many chances you had at the Road to Rio to really put yourself in the shoes of the athlete.
David Giglio, a member of the U.S. Olympic committee, said that the main goal of the Road to Rio Tour is to build awareness around the athletes and the sports for the upcoming Olympic Games. The “Road to…” tours were established prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics and have been featured throughout 35 cities and more than 200 Team USA athletes have been a part of it. This is the first time the tour has begun in a non-olympic year and Giglio says this is because “we are trying to stretch that awareness and really set-up the journey of the athlete.”
More than anything Boston was the perfect place for this. With over 140 Team USA Olympians having Boston roots, and the first ever U.S. Olympic winner, James Connolly, hailing from the city, it seemed like a “perfect fit for what we are trying to do to capture the Olympic history from a city,” Giglio said.
The Road to Rio took place in partnership with the Head of the Charles Regatta which is one of the largest national rowing events. The Head of the Charles draws over 11,000 athletes and over 400,000 spectators from all over and this gave Road to Rio the ability to connect thousands of Team USA fans and supporters with some of the stories of these athletes.
Behind the scenes is Liberty Mutual Insurance who is a large sponsor and main presenter with the Road to Rio. Director of media relations and sponsorship at Liberty Mutual, Glenn Greenberg, feels it is important for the company to connect with consumers on a deeper level, and that is one of the reasons why they have partnered with several governing bodies within Team USA.
“The Road to Rio Tour presents us with opportunity to go to some signature events in marky cities around the country,” Greenberg says. “This will give them the chance to interact with who we are as brand, what we do as a company, and feel good about our support of Team USA.”
Three-time Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte was present at the Road to Rio Tour both days and he said that “the best thing about the Olympics is that it’s a time when everyone can come together.”
The Road to Rio Tour in Boston over the weekend felt like one of those coming together parties. People from not just Boston, but all across the United States were able to participate in a variety of hands on activities and meet some extremely inspirational Olympians. You left there feeling as if you had become part of Team USA, which, in truth, we all really are.