On the occasion of the sports sponsorship signed last June by the DIA Group and the Spanish Basketball Federation, the latter invited one of the employees of the company to experience in person an entire historical event: the Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro.
Thierry Combret, whose flight had recently landed and who had the feeling of being present at an event that will be remembered forever, tells us himself how he has been part of the Spanish delegation at these games. An event at which Spain has also completed the second-best performance of its history with 17 medals, just behind Barcelona 92. “The truth is that it is amazing to realise that you are where the world’s sporting elite is present too,” says Thierry.
And it turns out that the Spanish Federation wanted the DIA representative to immerse himself just like everyone else in all the selection´s activities during these games. “In the hotel, you have breakfast with the referees of the competitions, dinners next to the US delegation celebrating their victory in women’s wrestling, travel around the city (jammed with traffic) that has been coated with the colours of the Olympics, walk through the Olympic Park full of crowds of people from every country and very, very happy,” says Thierry, for whom the historical character of the event makes everything much more special.
Of course, one of the most anticipated moments was the participation of the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Dressed for the occasion with the appropriate red and yellow attire, flags and noise, a lot of noise, Thierry had the opportunity to experience what is already the best performance by both selections of Spanish Basketball at the Olympics. “It was amazing to see how the girls fought all the way in the semi-final against Serbia. And then fiercely enduring the American steamroller in the final as well as the emotional awarding of the silver medal,” he explains. “And what about the boys? They managed to scare the Americans (only 6 points apart) in the semi-final. Well, the match for the bronze was enough to bring on a heart attack, with the colossal duel between Gasol and Mills and Claver’s hand deflecting the Australian shot with five seconds to go from the end with a single point advantage. It was incredible”.
For the Basketball Federation, Thierry only has words of gratitude. As he explains, the newly elected president of the Federation, Jorge Garbajosa, has a mountain of challenges ahead that signify a new model for promoting basketball, especially women´s, while consolidating the men´s. And what better than an Olympic Games to capture the public´s attention? “For me, it was a surprise to hear how the Spanish Basketball Federation and the teams thanked the DIA Group for their sponsorship. I expected an institutional speech and something very formal, but there was none of that. The Basketball Federation is very grateful that the DIA Group has believed in them”, explains Thierry. “As for our company, I think it´s fabulous that DIA can be associated with this success, in terms of its image, of its involvement with this sport that is both so physical and so human. It goes very well with our values. It makes them visible and sets them as an example,” he says.
Once the experience is seen with more perspective, Thierry highlights above all the example that both selections represent. “The team spirit, the effort, commitment to the goal… All this with so much enthusiasm! Yes, I´ll try to apply it and live it in my daily work”. Asked if he would repeat the experience, Thierry does not hesitate: “Hopefully! It´s been a unique experience. I know I´ve been very lucky and am aware and appreciate it. I hope you can experience it at the next Olympics in Tokyo. Who knows?”.
*Fotos cedidas por Thierry Combret