And so my coverage of my Olympic Games experience begins!
I flew out Wed July 25th at 7pm and arrived Thursday July 26th at 7:30am. The flight was not bad although one of the stewardist kept coughing over everything she handed out, yuck! Other than that I got in a decent about of shut eye about 3 hours on and off, which is great for me on a plane.
I landed at LHR and walked about 100m before I was identified by the LOC (local organizing committee) and ushered to a side area. There I met one of the USOC (US Olympic Committee) staff who gave me my accredation packet so that I could get my credential. Credentialing was simplisticly easy, the only negative is they use a picture which you are not allowed to smile in. I look pretty scary, but so does just about everyone’s credential picture.
Then I got ushered and escorted through every step of boarder control, baggage claim, and customs. What a breeze, I felt like a 2 year old being led by mommy. I’m not complaining because simple is perfect in these situations. Then it was time for the shuttle bus to the Olympic Village. A 1.5hr ride, not so great because I unfortuantely had to pee when I got on, so needless to say I rushed off the bus when we arrived. That’s what you get for diligently hydrating on the plane!
In the village I met up with our USATF (USA track and field) staff at USOC headquarters. The USA team is staying in section termed Heritage 1. I got a quick run down of the village, likely most importantly where the cafeteria is and then led to my room. The rooms are set up like a college suite. Mine has four girls, two bedrooms, one bathroom, and one common TV area. My name was already on the bedroom door and my opening and closing ceremonies outfits were laid out in a garment bag by Ralph Lauren on my bed with an additional shopping bag. Then we were also given another huge rolling suitcase of Ralph Lauren Team USA Olympic Gear. This is gear that we are to wear around the village and venues. The gear is awesome, only downside is most of the items I received are a size medium and I am a XS/S. This is kind of dissapointing because the stuff is so nice and I want to wear it all. Hopefully they will be able to do some size swaps later.
I also tried on my ceremonies garments. They were custom tailored to us at Team Processing after Olympic Trials. I expected these pieces to fit perfectly. Unfortunately my button down shirt and blue jacket blazer are way too short. This means I have to get them re-fitted tonight, off site. Looks like it will be a late night.
After trying on all my gear I headed over to lunch with one of my suite-mates, Lacey who is a pole vaulter. We were blown away by the enormity of the cafeteria. They have stations, huge stations for every type of ethnic food. Seeing as I don’t race til the end of the games and I have a light workout tomorrow I opted for Indian food for dinner. There was no Chicken Tiki Masala but a lot of what I tried was pretty tasty. We sat and chit chatted for some time and I got some pointers on planning a wedding as Lacey will be getting married at the end of this December.
We finished wrapping up our leisure lunch and headed out to the “Village Welcoming Ceremony”. This ceremony consisted of several nations parading in, being entertained by a theater/musical group, welcoming remarks, raising of each of the participating countries (done in sets of 5 countries) flags and another few dance/song numbers. The performers were very jubilant and energetic.
The whole time I kept feeling like this was somewhat like the Hunger Games parade, as the performers were dressed in some whacky costumes with crazy colored wigs and makeup. The performers deserved a round of applause, especially for entertaining us all dressed up in the hot sun.
Then it was time to get even more free gear. We received our USOC Nike apparell. This is gear that the entire US Olympic Team regardless of which sport you perform receives. The majority of this stuff fit, a few random size errors like size large sweats and size 0 skinny jeans but for the most part it was perfect. We all received 3 pairs of sneakers and 1 pair of Nike flip flops. If you total in the Ralph Lauren shoes that makes 5 pairs of footwear!
Here’s a quick summary:
3 rolling suitcases, 4 backpack, 2 draw string bags, 11 hats, 2 pairs of sunglasses, 3 pairs of headphones, and easily another 50 pieces of apparel ranging from socks and sports bras to outer layer jackets and rain gear! Wow, we are spoiled!!! Now I’m really hoping to get the correct sizes for everything and I can open my own Olympic Apparel store, just kidding I don’t want to get rid of anything this stuff is so awesome and it is so incredible to have earned the privileged of sporting around the Olympic Rings on my clothes!
By the time I was done with trying on all my new Nike USOC gear it was dinner time. I met up with TEAMmate Rachel (from Canada) and we sampled some more foreign cuisine. It was great to get to catch up with her as I have not seen her personally since leaving Germany early. We have traveled to so many competitions together over the years as we have moved up from the Junior age group US vs CAN dual meet competitions, now to the highest level of athletic competition: The Olympic Games! Pretty awesome, and our Olympic experience has only just begun!
Off for my re-fitting of my opening ceremony tops! Will update post later to include some pictures!