Jamee Lind

Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016

Spectators stuck in long lines as Rio Olympics open

RIO DE JANEIRO — Keith McCormack waited more than an hour to get into the beach volleyball arena along Copacabana Beach to watch Canada play Saturday.

When asked how the long line stretching down the iconic white-and-black patterned sidewalk compared to what he expected, McCormack said that it is “a little bit busier, but I understand. A lot of people showed up here to see this.”

Lines were a common site on the first full day of Olympic competition in Rio de Janeiro, with some fans outside the Olympic Park reportedly waiting more than two hours to enter the space that is home to several Olympic venues here.

Rio Organizing Committee spokesman Mario Andrada said organizers will enhance entry systems to prevent the long lines in the days ahead, bringing in more people to help.

“We apologize to everyone who is standing in the sun in lines outside the venues,” Andrada said early in the day.

Every Olympic spectator must go through airport-style security before entering any of the venues, which may have contributed to the delays.

“This morning is the first morning of the Olympic Park with a full crowd and some of the procedures and some of the systems did not talk to each other,” Andrada said.

Two travelers, Daniel Phelan and Owen Fetiza from Queens, New York, missed the first volleyball match of the day while waiting in line.

“We missed the first game, but they just let us sit and watch the second game,” Phelan said. “The second game was better because it was Brazil vs. Canada, so we didn’t even care.”

The two ran into a similar organizational issue last night after going to the opening ceremony.

“I don’t think they planned on getting everyone out,” Fetiza said before explaining that it took them two hours to get from the event at Maracana Stadium to the train entrance to get home.

Both are anticipating long lines for the rest of the games and are trying to align their schedules accordingly.

“For sure the Brazilian games are going to be insane,” Fetiza said. “There’s a lot of Americans here too so the U.S. games should sell out.”