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Posts Tagged ‘Olympic Village’

Sorry for the much-belated blog post… I’ve done a much better job at updating my facebook albums!  Please check them out (and share!) for a behind-the-scenes look at the Olympic life.

Let The Games Begin: our final week of training before Olympic racing begins
US Rowing at the Olympics: racing for gold! and out and about in London with the Redman posse
A quick photo tour of the Main Village Dining Hall
A Photo Tour of the Olympic Village:
Time to Enjoy the Olympics!: front-row tickets, VIP lounges, rubbing shoulders with celebrities… life is sweet for Olympians!  I’ll be adding photos everyday or so, so keep checking back!

Watching my teammates launch for the Olympic Final

This week has been the complete emotional rollercoaster… watching my teammates race for gold in their Olympic Finals was one of the most inspiring moments of my life. I’m so so so happy for their success, and I’m honored that I had a role to play in helping them achieve their Olympic dreams.  It was a total affirmation for me to see the American women perform so well  (6th in W2x, a close 4th in W2-, bronze in W4x, gold in W8+)– it is a small comfort to know that I didn’t lose my spot in the boat to mere mortals, but OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS.  I am so so so proud of them, and proud to be called their teammate.

The best cheerleaders a girl could ever hope for

Now that racing is over, we’ve moved into the main Olympic Village in London (we were previously located in the satellite Rowing Village, about an hour away).  As is evident by this much-belated blog post, life is a complete whirlwind. So much to do, so much to see, so many people to meet, and SO LITTLE TIME TO DO IT ALL!  I’ve sadly neglected my email inbox, I haven’t even unpacked my suitcase, I barely have time to sleep or shower… there is just *that many* amazing opportunities!  Paradise on earth!  (Don’t even get me started on the dining options)

Look who we ran into on the bus ride back from the gymnastics arena! Pictured: The Fab 5 (!), Anthony and Robin (LM4-), and Ty (reserve pair)

For example: several nights ago, I was faced with a tough decision. Do I go to the Team USA hospitality house (delicious buffet, open bar, fun scene) where the US Swim Team (Lochte and Co.)  was having a reception? Or do I get a free ticket (front row balcony) to gymnastics finals?  Or last night: do I go to an exclusive party thrown by Coca Cola for their corporate execs? Or do I stay in, and watch track and field finals with other athletes in the US Athlete Lounge?  Does this decision change when I realize that the other athletes are the men’s 4x100m relay team and Serena Williams?  (On the outside: a super-chill rower, just playing it cool and chillin’ with her fellow American athletes. On the inside: “AAAAHHHHH!!!”)

Track and Field: capacity crowd, great seats, amazing competition… my ears are still ringing from the deafening cheers

This experience  has been completely surreal. I am so so so blessed and excited to be here. THANK YOU for all the support and encouragement!

Inspiration for Rio? (a big thank you to Esther for loaning me her medal)

Hurray for Spokane Olympians!!!! (Amanda Furrer, Mead HS, 50m rifle)

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**For more behind-the-scenes photos, be sure to check out my facebook albums! I’m adding new pictures every afternoon or so!  Album #1  and Album #2

The Olympic Torch!

The Olympics are *almost* here: t-minus twenty-four hours! All fifty-eight countries have arrived at the race course, ranging from the lone single scullers from Ireland, Algeria, or Cameroon, to the full squads from Canada, Great Britain, or Germany. Everyone tries to be courteous and professional while on the race course, but there are still some close calls!  (For example: in our effort not to get run down by the Italian men’s double, we nearly stampeded the Iranian women’s single. But no harm done, we all emerged unscathed!)

58 countries, 500 athletes, and one goal: GOLD!

It’s been exciting to see the transformation of the venue into a race-ready Olympic stadium. Yesterday was the “dress rehearsal” for the hundreds of volunteers, timers, stake-boat holders, announcers, and safety launches… it was fun to watch the teenaged volunteers stage a mock medals ceremony, complete with the inspirational music (from “Chariots of Fire”), honor guard, and national anthems. The starting-line officials were also also rehearsing yesterday, so everyone had the chance to practice a mock “start”, complete with the boat-holders, the official countdown, the lighting system, and the “boot” (a little plastic starting gate that holds our bowball—very cool!). The best part about the start simulations was that the officials didn’t discriminate between boat classes, so we were able to race it up with the Canadian M8+, British M4x, and an assortment of doubles/fours. Fun!

A morning practice at Eton Dorney (photo by http://www.row2k.com)

Amanda and I have been busy—even though we’re not officially listed in a boat roster, we still have to be fit and able to race should our team need us. So we’ve been putting in some mileage in a pair, sometimes by ourselves, sometimes pacing our official US pair, occasionally hopping in the eight when someone needs an afternoon off.

Brrr! Team USA’s ice baths

USA has garbage bins, New Zealand has a kiddie pool… tomato, tomahto; if it holds freezing water, it’ll work!

Now that racing is around the corner, the Village is bustling with athletes. I first noticed it a few days ago in the dining hall… the evening before, Team USA was King of the Cafeteria—no lines for hot food, plenty of extra dessert, our pick of which table to sit at. The next morning, it was a completely different story! Hundreds of athletes scampering around for their pre-practice breakfast, waiting for the harried catering staff to refill the coffee/ oatmeal/ cornflakes/ bananas, trying to find an empty seat near one of their teammates. The zoo atmosphere only lasted until 6:55am, when the dining hall abruptly emptied as everyone left to catch the 7am bus to the race course (only to repeat itself in the twenty minutes prior to the 8am bus!). Thankfully, everyone has quickly adapted to the increased traffic in the cafeteria, and both the athletes and dining hall staff are working together to keep the chaos to a minimum!  *More details to come about the Olympic dining experience, a culinary blog update coming soon!*

An example of some AWESOME rowing shirts– Team Ukraine wins for “most colorful”!

One interesting distraction is the colorful and patriotic Olympic apparel worn around the boatyards. A popular favorite is the colorful print on the Ukrainian coaches’ outfits. The British uniforms (designed by Stella McCartney!) are chic, but can’t compare with the fashion-forwardness of the Portuguese double’s green berets! Also interesting—despite the warm temperatures (hottest day so far this year in the UK!), the Egyptian W2x still train in head scarves and long sleeves.

The Portuguese 2x: super stylish! (photo by row2k.com)

The Egyptian W2x (photo by row2k.com)

The Opening Ceremonies are tonight (wow!, where has the time gone?!), and as much as I’d LOVE to be in the Olympic Stadium to enjoy the festivities, Team USA is headed to bed early… racing starts tomorrow!!!  (You can see the heat draw here)

Go USA!

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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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