For the first time since preparing for the Olympics took over my life in the spring of 2007, I spent some idle moments actually browsing the upcoming Beijing Games as a fan, and not a marketing geek. My sport of choice is rowing (of course) so I started poking around my favorite rowing site – Row2k.com where I was delighted to see Elle Logan featured on the homepage as one of the youngest members of the U.S. Olympic women’s rowing team, representing the US in the pair. I got to know Elle when she rowed at my prep school alma mater, Brooks, with my daughter. Their four won the New Englands and the nationals, an experience which was pretty intense for me as an overly concerned paternal spectator.
I head to Beijing in a week, arriving on the fifth, then settle in for three weeks of helping our China team manage our sponsorship, make friends of our 100 athlete bloggers, and do some intensive blogging myself. I am assigned to our command center, have been asked for my “uniform size” (I forsee a baby blue jumpsuit and a visor in my future), and will be staying at the Empark Grand Hotel out by the Summer Palace. Other than that, I have no solid agenda other than to get to meet as many of the 100 bloggers as possible, see Elle row (I also have no tickets to any events, but will deal with that when I get there), and try to stay on track for own athletic endeavors and the fall rowing season.
I’m kind of excited. Make that very excited. I’ve been a total Olympics sucker since I watched the 1968 Games and first heard that hokey Olympic fanfare and the voice of Jim McKay. I was outraged at the tragedy of Munich, envious I was so close yet so far from Montreal, and for a brief spell in the late 1970s wondered if I had what it took to make the 1980 team (as it turned out, definitely not and thankfully so given President Carter’s decision to boycott Moscow over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan). I have a very close friend who is a medalist and look up to him as someone who has truly distinguished himself through the kind of preparation and dedication clichés can only begin to describe. So, this is my first Olympics, and if I have my way, not my last.
Cruising through our aggregation of the athletes’ blogs, it is pretty cool to see their first posts from the Olympic Village.
our Indian target shooter writes:
“Hi Guys, reached the village yesterday night, late night. The first thing that we did here? Walk into the dinning hall ( i guess the size of 3 football fields put together), mind you we had been at the security check area of the village for 6 hours (unusually long) waiting for India’s Delegation Registration Meeting with the organisers of Beijing Olympic Games to be finallised so that we could get into the village as residents.
“Morning was at 7.30 am and we headed off to the shooting range. I had an italian shooter, Daneillo Francesco to give me company and we did a bit of training.
The targets seem fine, not so hard as last time that we were at Beijing for the test event. They were flying pretty smooth. The humidity is really something here, you are dripping of sweat in a few minutes, got to watch for our hydration. I guess i should not be complaining at all about humidity, being from Delhi, India. Cool, no probs, we’ll handle all this… and more. Adios Amigos”
Brady Ellison, the American archer, was also impressed by the size of the dining hall:
“well i arrived at the village yesterday and its absolutely amazing here. we got off the plane and got on a bus that took us to the village were the Chinese are more that helpful got us right through with no problems. The village is huge. Im at a loss of words of how cool it is here, the people are very friendly the food is great. The dinning hall is huge, 200 yards long and thats pushing the small side of it.
I shot today, for the first day off the plane I am very happy the way i shot. there is really no wind so far. they have made some changes since the test event they had last year. new shade canopies and that sort of thing.
I cant really think of anything else if anyone has a question or want to talk about something let me know and ill do my best. Im just so excited to be here we are about to go and shoot again for the afternoon then dinner. ”
This is getting me psyched to get on a plane and get over to Beijing ASAP. Well, a few more days of preparation and pre-blogging, and off I go.