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Posts Tagged ‘gear package’

Arriving at the Olympic race course

As the years go by, it sometimes gets hard to remember how I celebrated a certain birthday. Was it my 23nd when the team threw me a surprise party? Was it my 16th or my 17th that fell during our family raft trip on the St Joe River? How old was I when we celebrated with a backyard bbq? Well, I will never have any problem remembering my 26th birthday: I WAS AT THE OLYMPICS!

An Olympic Birthday!

Coach tries to stress that, for all intents and purposes, this event is just like any normal World Championships, but there are still minute-by-minute reminders that this is no ordinary competition—this is something special!

The magic started the moment we landed at Heathrow. A LOCOG (London Organizing Committee) host and a USOC rep met us at our gate to expedite our trip through Customs and Immigration. On the bus to the Olympic Rowing Village, we took advantage of the “Olympic Lanes” on the highway—designated lanes to help athletes and othe VIPs avoid the typical London traffic.

Arriving at the Olympic Rowing Village. Despite their huge guns, the policemen are actually quite jolly and excited to see us.

We arrived at the Village, where a security team greeted us, checked the bus for bombs, screened and x-rayed our luggage, sent us through a metal detector, and put us onto a secure internal shuttle to pass through two more guarded gates before we reached the Village Center. (For all the media hubbub over Games security, the athletes at the Rowing Village are feeling *very* safe! It seems that there are more policemen, soldiers, and armed guards than there are athletes!)

I get my own room!

This superstar treatment didn’t end at the security checkpoint– as we were one of the first delegations to arrive, our reception was especially enthusiastic. The LOCOG volunteers and staff could not be more cheerful or accommodating (“Oh my, look! A real athlete!”, spoken by the volunteer in the athlete internet lounge). We have single rooms (!), a laundry service (!!),  a well-equipped gym and hi-tech rec center, and a 24-hour dining hall! AND, if all this wasn’t enough to make my birthday special, there was the gear!  Nike and Ralph Lauren were almost overwhelming in their generosity, and thanks to my awesome teammates, Amanda and I are outfitted in head-to-toe USA Olympic gear!

Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.

Of course, we don’t spend all day just trying on posh Ralph Lauren outfits and noshing on tea and biscuits in the dining hall. We also have a job to do: stay fit, hone our top-end speed, and perfect the final race plan. We’re logging the miles out at the race course in Eton Dorney, enjoying the quiet boatyard before all the other countries start arriving. (Like the Village, we’re one of the first countries to show up at the course, so the multitude of officials and volunteers are extremely excited to see us!)

Two friendly volunteers gave me a tour of the bike rental tent (free bikes for any athletes or coaches who want to ride around the lake!)

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a more memorable birthday! Definitely one for the record books!

Hurray for the Olympics!

I just posted many more photos up online! For a more detailed behind-the-scenes look at our life at the Games, check out my two facebook albums!
“Headed to London”: Team USA flies across the Atlantic and arrives safe and sound at the Olympic Village
“Welcome to the Olympics”: Team USA begins their final week of preparations at the official Olympic race course at Eton Dorney

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I’ve been delinquent about updating my website, and all the exciting happenings with Team USA warrant not one, but *two* blog posts.

Coaching future Olympians!

It’s been a wild few weeks here in New Jersey. Public appearances, National Selection Regattas, erg testing… the fun just never ends!

Communiversity-
This annual arts fair and street festival is cosponsored by the Princeton Township and the University. The entire downtown is blocked off, and upwards of 30,000 people fill the streets to enjoy the live entertainment, food booths, and the tables set up by local artists and organizations. This year, USRowing hired several athletes to man a booth, and so for several hours on a beautiful spring Saturday, I signed autographs, answered questions, and showed visitors how to row on the two demo ergs. There’s nothing like autographing posters to make you feel like a total superstar! (The stipend for the afternoon wasn’t shabby either, too bad I promptly spent it all on Patagonia’s spring sale. oops…)

30,000 people take to the streets at Communiversity

National Team Meet and Greet in Palmer Square-
It’s good that I had a chance to practice signing autographs at Communiversity, because it prepared me for the National Team Meet and Greet in downtown Princeton the following weekend!  This unique event, organized by US Rowing and Princeton’s Palmer Square, aimed to introduce Princeton’s resident athletes to their community. The goal was to provide a basic glimpse into the daily lives of “the Olympians in your backyard”, and featured both the National Team and local rowing clubs. I ended up on erg duty, teaching Princeton’s littlest athletes how to row on a rowing machine. Super fun, but super exhausting– it’s fatiguing to cheer for three hours! My voice was gone by the end of the afternoon…

Teaching Rowing 101 at the Nat'l Team Meet and Greet

Gear Day! 
Definitely one of the highlights of the spring: receiving the US Training Center gear package! Kudos to the Boathouse Apparel team who designed our kit. Among the favorites: super fuzzy sweatshirt and sweatpants (with a long inseam!! hurray) and a sweet vest (I’ll be rocking it next Christmas on the Mt Spokane ski trails!). And despite the grumblings of some of my fashion-forward teammates, I personally think the pale blue color scheme ROCKS.

Rockin' our new blue unisuits!

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Amanda and I modeling our new track jackets and visors!

One of the best days of the year (after Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving and my birthday) is National Team Gear Day! As if earning a spot on the US roster isn’t reward in itself, we are presented with a package filled with all manner of red, white, and blue clothing– it’s like an early Christmas!
 
Our gear sponsor, Boathouse Sports, was especially generous this year!  Team USA will be traveling in style! 
– a BRIGHT SANTA RED track suit (I’m just a tad excited)
– a sweet USA softshell jacket and a polo shirt for travelling
– racing unisuits
– technical tees and longsleeves for practice
– an awesome vest (white, with a bright red “USA” on the back)
– athletic shorts and tights
– a Headsweats hat and visor
And, as an added bonus, Rudy Project outfitted the entire team with awesome sunglasses! 
 
Now, the returning Olympians aren’t *quite* as enthusiastic– I’ve heard legends of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when athletes scored heaping shopping carts of team-issue gear, filled to capacity with Polo Ralph Lauren, Nike, Oakleys, and all other types Olympic apparel. However, as my fellow rookies and I have yet to experience the awesomeness that is the Olympic Games (fingers crossed!), we remain enthusiastic about the 2010 gear package!
 
Speaking of gear, it’s about time I started packing… t-minus two days until we leave!
 
And on an unrelated note, check out this recent article in yesterday’s NY Times:  “How to Push Past the Pain, as the Champions Do”


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