I've competed in the Olympic Games 5 times. My experiences are immeasurable, my regrets are few....and I wouldn't trade them for all the world!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Last night was the Opening Ceremonies for the 29th Olympic Games. It was quite the experience. The day started with me going to practice at 9am. Having arrived in the village late Thursday night at around 11:30pm, I was pretty exhausted but I had to be up at 7:30am to get to the track on time. I didn’t do too much but I needed to do a shakeout to get that travel out of my legs.
I had a massage later on and then we had to be ready by 6pm to leave the village, headed for the gymnastics arena where all the athletes gathered before marching into the stadium. This is a picture of what it looked like inside that gym as we waited.
We sat there for at least 2 hours or so before we were called. They were using the Chinese alphabet and so we were team #42 in the order out of 205 teams.
We walked across over to the Bird’s Nest and then processed into the main stadium
where we were greeted by over 100,000 cheering spectators.
It was a pretty fantastic moment and I tried to take it all in as I knew that this would be the last time I would ever have this experience this. We walked around the stadium once and then gathered on the in field while all the other teams walked in. I will have to say that this might have been the hottest night EVER in Beijing. We were sweating to death!!! I mean I was so drenched underneath my blazer that at some point I had to take it off and take a seat on the infield, lol. Not a good look but with that satin lining underneath my jacket and skirt, I felt like I needed my own personal air conditioner!
I saw a lot of the more notable athletes parading in like Kobe and Lebron and Yao and Roger Federer. It’s a thought I’ve had before but on this night, in this place, we are all the same…Olympic medal hopefuls. Nothing is guaranteed. No one is given the gold medal. You have to earn it, on the day, at the designated time. But we all start here – happy, and hopeful and eager and proud.
It was a long night to be honest and by the end of the night, I was beyond tired. We made the mandatory rush to the buses to try to get back to the village and to the dining hall for some sustenance after a very long day. We didn’t get back until after midnight. I don’t know whether or not The Bahamas team was shown on the NBC coverage but I know that my cousin in Australia saw us and the Chinese coverage showed us walking in.
Now that that is over, it’s time to look to the real business at hand. I don’t start competition until the 19th but this morning it was back out to the track for a sprint workout and an ice bath.
By the way, I was walking into breakfast this morning and a guy stopped me out of the blue and asked me if I was Jackie Edwards and I was taken by surprise because I was sure that I didn’t know him. I said yes and he told me that he knew me because he reads my blog!!!! How cool is that!! Another athlete reading my blog. He is also a part of the Lenovo blogger program. I don’t remember his name but I will try to find him and look him up and add him to my blog roll.
Anyway, that’s it for now. I need to get some well deserved rest. Brooks, David and Tiffany arrive tomorrow and I look forward to seeing them.