During the track and field events held at this year’s Rio Summer Olympics, the athletes are chucking all manner of objects: hammers, discuses, javelins and shot, hundreds of times, over and over.
Did you ever think “Who has to go get all that stuff?” In Rio, it’s the job of a green, quarter-scale pickup truck, controlled the way an eight year old would control a sand rail in your driveway.
Once the judges mark the distance of a thrown object, an official controls a truck to a spot near the object. A human assistant picks it up and placed it in the truck, and off it goes, back to the throwing cage.
“That truck is the best thing in the world,” American hammer thrower DeAnna Price told the Chicago Tribune. “I want one. If anyone wants to donate one to me so I don’t have to go pick up my own hammers, please do.”
During the London Olympics the cars were bodied to look like Mini Coopers, and you can bet that Mini paid dearly for the privilege.
In Beijing in 2008, the cars were something more nondescript:
The trucks in Rio aren’t branded with anything other than the Rio Olympic logo, and they’re painted uniformly green to try and camouflage any family resemblance to real manufacturers that didn’t pony up the cash to have their brand emblazoned on the side.
However, they do look like a hastily cobbled-together version of the 1997 Toyota Tacoma Ivan “Ironman” Stewart trophy truck, only painted with a wet bath mat and Sears Best Latex instead of air brushes and clearcoat.