Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Don't call them little

If someone says “The big three” when referring to Olympics sports, can you guess what they are? At the Games, they are usually clumped together in venues that tend to usher their spectators into the same giant quad like area, and they often get a lot of the prime time TV love. They are: swimming, athletics and gymnastics. But we need to remember that they are only 3 of 26 sport played at the Olympics Games. 

When I was first introduced to the Olympics as a spectator back in 1984, we had a few tickets to the big three, but we focused mainly on the smaller venues.  I vividly remember standing outside the boxing venue waiting for Pernell Whitaker's autograph. If you are planning to take the family over to London, don't think you have to get tickets to the BIG 3 to make a BIG impact.  I was a swimmer, and I was just as inspired by watching the wrestlers and boxers as I was by watching Mary T. and Tracey C.…my swimming idols!  Think small and have big FUN!  Table tennis is some seriously fast-paced action.  Beach Volleyball plays a match about every minute, and talk about a party venue…sand, bikinis, Olympic volleyball, music...need I say more!  Or head to the rapids and watch the kayakers work wonders with mother nature.

I love venues where you get to walk around while cheering, or where the crowd is really into it so others to add to your list are mountain biking, cycling (especially the long distance track), water polo and taekwondo. And I don't know what it is about triathlon, but I FEEL every step for those competitors.  There are often many lead changes and super exciting finishes.  And finally, take the opportunity to fill the streets and cheer on the OLYMPIC MARATHONERS on the final day of the London Games.  Nothing says Olympic like 26.2 miles finishing in the Olympic stadium! 

All in all...If you get a chance to see it, SEE IT! Enjoy, be patriotic, and cheer for all sports!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Within Reach

At 100 days out, abudding Olympian suddenly sounds exactly like the parent of a teenager saying,"I can't believe how fast time flies."  To the general public, however, it feels likeonly yesterday that we were cheering on Lindsey Vonn & Co. in Vancouver (you know, the 2010 Winter Games) But for summer Olympic athletes, years of training and thousands of nights falling asleep to the perfect Olympic dream are now in the final countdown. 

100 days out means, quitesimply…
·   America's BEST’s goals are within reach
·  the butterflies are a bit more real
·  the work is almost complete
…and life is about to get VERY exciting!

Check out some of the great Team USA coverage from “100 Days Out” events in New York City. 

With 98 days to go…the fever is growing!  

3-Time Olympic-medalist Steven Lopez
Olympic silver-medalist and Duracell Power Athlete Diana Lopez
Celebrity Apprentice's Donald Trump
Olympic silver-medalist & Right to Play Ambassador Tim Morehouse

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Olympians: Welcome to the Family

"Welcome to the family!"
Nobody actually says that to you after the big day, the day when you turn around and see your name in the "spot" that means you made it. You are now a member of TEAM USA.  When you make the Olympic Team, your immediate emotional response is excitement, followed quickly by a huge sense of relief.  No matter if you're a surprise and just plain shocked, or "expected" to make it, the realization in that first moment is priceless.  

Let's take, for instance, 16-year-old swimmer Missy Franklin.  She is "expected" to do great things….not just at Trials but at the Olympic Games themselves.  But aren't we getting a little ahead of ourselves… swimming fans are already wondering, "How many medals will Missy bring home?"  And although I am sure she is focusing a bit on London (because let's face it,  dreaming about those medals keeps you going sometimes), let me assure you, she is taking this process step by step, a day at a time. So when her races come between June 25-July 3 in Omaha, Neb., she's going to be striving for her moment to become part of the family. Olympic Trials are way more than just a swim meet. Really, the event is more pressure than the Games themselves. Trials are where you make the dream REAL…where you become a part of that exclusive club, not matter if it's for the first time or the fourth. Every swimmer dives into that water a competitor with a dream, and hopes to step out of the pool an Olympian.  

It's a club that doesn't have a membership card, we bear our badges on our hearts. Wearing the letters, U-S-A , on our chest, head or back, we feel part of a truly remarkable family that carries the energy and support of every single person in this amazing country.  

So as Olympic Trials of all sports, begin and end, I would like to welcome each new Olympian to the family and say "hello again" to those returning.  We are so proud of you and wish you great memories!
"Once an Olympian, Always an Olympian. Never Former; Never Past." - U.S. Olympians Assoc. Motto