Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kim Kreiner Team USA Javelin

Ok one more athlete I wanted to update our blog on.
It's Kim Kreiner, the Team USA Javelin member we took a picture of signing an autograph on the plane ride out -for those thrilled kids who (like us) had no idea who she was.
Kim Kreiner of Fresno, American record holder in women's javelin, competed for the U.S. at the Olympic Games in Beijing. This is her latest blog, after her competition on Tuesday 8/12---see if link below works.
And looks like she competed in the qualifying round on Tuesday and didn't make it. The results I found show she was 19th out of 26 in her group B and the top 12 qualify to move on.  Too bad for her.
On a side note: It's crazy how difficult it is to track down and find results for athletes you aren interested in.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Team Russia and the Bosco Club

We saw several of these cars in one area of Beijing and wondered what they were.

Turns out ....
I found this description on the web.....

Team Russia has officially taken over Qianhai's norther edge, transforming the Xiao Wangfu restaurant into a flashy entertainment club. Sadly, only accredited Russian athletes and VIPS will be allowed inside to enjoy the scheduled Russian feasts and performances (and I would NOT recommend challenging the guards they have stationed at the door). The restaurant's unique glass room will also be the headquarters of Russian TV's Channel 1 nightly Olympic broadcast.
this had a cool photo
crazy fun

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reflections on our Olympic experience

Just felt the need to write a few thoughts about my overall experience at my first Olympic Games.

In short, it was so amazing every step of the way. I have a whole new perspective on both a spectators view, a little view into the athletes Games and some insight into the infrastructure of running the Games.

The venues were all fabulous. Except, of course, for the food, bathrooms, and logistics to get between venues. The seats were good, helpers were always nearby. Being able to see an entire venue was fascinating to me, to see where the athletes entered, exited, practiced. Where the judges walked in, how the athletes equipment was picked up, all the details. I just wish I could have had some back stage passes or tours of the logistics behind the spectators eyes. I was dying to see the practice pool at the Cube.

A few examples of the unique perspective we saw as spectators at the events (and I have to admit, I haven't been to any high level competitions for any sports ever really so some of this was just probably newbie stuff):

At gymnastics, I was fascinated by the parade of athletes, the music and the crowds enthusiasm as the athletes move from each routine area. The place rocked. I now see that on TV they don't show this -a shame.

At the Cube, I was in awe, when we walked in and athletes were practicing and coaches were walking around. Then during the events, the logistics and formality that goes into the entrance of the swimmer, to their belongings being picked up in a box by the volunteer teams -they did this as though it were a military exercises all in sync.

As the host country, the Chinese always turnout in force at each venue. They filled the seats high up where we often were. Their home pride so enthusiastic, waving Chinese flags, decorated in clothes and face tattoos and doing stadium wide cheers -not sure what they said thought : ) They not only cheered for their team but for others too.

As I said, I was fascinated by the "running" of the Games. The infrastructure was amazing. On one of our long walks between venues we saw a huge area that was full of trailers, clearly a mini town where all the volunteers and hired BOCOG people lived, rested, ate. And on one fence there had been some laundry done and the "official" Beijing shirts were hung to dry on the fence -ok an only in China thing don't' you think? I think I took a photo, I'll look for but this. I have to say had it been the blue shirt that all volunteers wear I might have tried to steal it -I really wanted one of those -but trading for those won't come to the Games are over.

Speaking of trading... My first time Olympic spectator trip wouldn't have been complete without getting into the Olympic pin trading. I did wear some pins on my hat and once at McDonald's one of the girls working their asked to trade my Atlanta pin for her Beijing McD's pin, I declined- she was bummed. Going forward I got more prepared and gathered my give away pins and set out to get that Beijing McD's pin- after all McD's now represented the staple of my meals at the Games it had to be commemorated with a pin. A day later, I sat next to a nice volunteer on the subway and she had one. I was thrilled she wanted to trade and gave her three pins for hers. My real pin trading happened by accident. In yet another trek to a venue, we ended up walking right next to the IBC, opening a gate with a BOCOG reporter who was trying to help us get out of the Green and onto the surface streets in the direction we wanted. Anyway we entered a restricted area but kept going. As we exited right next to the IBC where there were a dozen pin traders -the serious ones. I had one pin left to trade: Sports Traveler (ticket broker we used) and I really wanted and IBC pin. I got it!

So, all and all, from a spectators view the Games were great. A tad hot, muggy, sticky with lots of walking. We really spent each day just getting to one venue, then walking to the next then going home happily exhausted.

From an organizational standpoint, I can't get over the size of the Green and the lack of food and souvenir stores. It was really frustrating to only have McD's really. I think there were great opportunities missed by food sponsors. And we were stunned that the store we found inside the Green was not on any map, printed or posted on the Green. Also frustrating was there you can't get there from here problem -from venue to venue the most direct way was never possible either by walking, subway or bus.

As for the Athletes, I can only summarize based on what we heard and read in the media while there and by what I saw at the venues and of the Olympic Village. I think BOCOG did a great job of providing the best venues for the athletes sports, and by providing lots of practice areas (both on site and off) and that the Olympic Village they created and secured was absolutely amazing -I really was dying to get in there somehow! The organizers also made sure athlete's and VIPs had an Olympic only lane on the main roads -just wished ticket holders could have used it :) As for the quality of air and the outside temperature.... well not sure it was ideal. But since we saw tennis at night -after it had rained and saw field hockey at night after a rain, I think it was good for the athletes (oh except for the bugs -the William's sisters did not like the bugs on their court :) -Did you know there are practically no birds in Beijing!? -No birds to eat the bugs. Also never saw a single squirrel or rats seen either anywhere -the streets are clean.

Not surprising, I think my favorite was the Opening Ceremonies. It was such a grand production and so moving to see the athletes come in and the Olympic Flag raised and the torch lit. But I also feel fortunate to have seen Team USA win the Gold in the Men's relay and to have seen so many athletes take their game to the highest level. Having been a competitive athlete I just got chills from being their in person watching each athlete give it their all.

Thanks for reading my thoughts. Kristin

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Team USA Dawn Harper win's in women's 100-meter hurdles

Olympics Day 11 - Athletics
Harper strikes gold in hurdles

Dawn Harper completed a remarkable showing at the Beijing Olympics with a win in the 100 hurdles on Tuesday night.

...Harper came through with an unexpected win...

"The amount of work that goes on is amazing," Harper said. "But the person still has to win the race on the day - and today was my day."

The third-place finisher at the USA Olympic trials, Harper, 24, took advantage of a bad break by fellow American Lolo Jones and the absence of top contender Susanna Kallur of Sweden to win in a personal-best time of 12.54 seconds.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Anne hit the road running when she arrived Mon. Aug. 11th

Just for fun I thought I'd post an email that Anne sent me after she arrived last Tuesday.... can't believe what she packed into the day -and I'm sure her days since then have been filled too. Needless to say we were two ships passing ... and didn't see each other.

from Anne....
Just arrived at 3pm today.. went to hotel, then to USA House, then to World Olympians Reunion Center, did TV interview, then back to USA House for Chicago 2016 press event.

Anne Warner Cribbs
President & CEO
2009 Senior Games LOC

Greg Massialas' fencer

Oops, sorry, I made an error when I tried to post this last week..
Just an update on Greg Massialas' fencer

Gerek Meinhardt wasn't exactly dejected after his Olympics came to an end Tuesday night. In the past week, San Francisco's fencing prodigy has marched in Opening Ceremonies, gotten his picture taken with his favorite NBA stars and even made fencing history.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Field Hockey - a few photos

We captured a few photos at our Field Hockey match between New Zealand vs Korea. We sat in front of a raucous group of Kiwi's - the Chinese took more pictures of the group than they took of the actual match. Field Hockey was fun to watch - fast pace, a mix between soccer and lacrosse. The low scoring nature was a bit trying on David's need for scoring but we got into by the end of the match.

We definitely spent most of the match trying to figure out the specific rules with our fellow Americans - clearly the U.S. fans were more clueless than others...

A few more photos here.

Catching up on photos

We're slowly catching up on photos from the various events we attended.

Click here to see a gallery of our night at the Tennis stadium. Jelena Jankovic (#1 women's player) easily won. Williams' sisters struggled in the first set and then one easily in the second. Federer cruised. We finished the night watching James Blake start his match. It was about 11PM and we headed home midway through the first set.

Some upsets in Tennis today. Both Venus and Serena are out of the Singles tournament, still alive in doubles. Blake beat Federer for the first time in his careeer - exciting to see him move on.

These go back several days - during our day at the "Cube" stadium where we saw the Men's relay team pull it out in the now infamous finish.

Click here for the album.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Headed home

Our incredible adventure is coming to an end. We're at the airport and
plan to do some photo and blog catch up a bit on the plane and over
the next few days.

We'll post again soon with photos and more reflections on our

All is good

After warm up Venus was brought a white skirt and now all is good.
Game on. :-)

Venus and Serena

We're back with the William sisters again - it's really like we are
basically very close friends now.

You'll read about this tomorrow -- there was an outfit controversy
with one of the sisters' outfits. We think it had to do with the non
matching outfits (one blue one white) or that Venus has here own
design on, vs the official USA outfit.

We chose to leave center court (Hewitt vs Nadal!) to visit the
sisters' on court 2. We are literally about 30 feet from them. Most
likely, they will invite us to dinner after the match...

It's on to tennis

We have an incredible evening ahead of us (and of course we fueled up
on the only full meal option on the green - golden arches)!!

First match: women's singles Jelena Jankovic vs Bondarenko

Second: Hewitt vs Nadal!!!

Third: Federer vs someone (can't remember their name)!!!

Fourth: women's doubles with Chinese team

Oh, an out on court 2 Venus and Serena are playing doubles in an hour
or so.

The complex is quite nice, clearly built for the Olympics.