Sunday, August 22, 2010

Five Days Remain

Well, it is coming down to the wire with only five days remaining. The last few days have been super exciting with Team USA capturing a bit more bling for the count. Last night alone saw two golds, one silver, and one bronze. In the midst of the success there have been some personal records and some amazing cultural experiences.

USA Booth
As you may have read, I had a European and African experience in the World Culture Village. On August 20th they revealed the Americas and Oceania. I was pretty excited to see the Singaporean interpretation of the United States...

Brightly colored balloons welcome people passing by. The walls are lined with information on American culture which consisted of American breakfast and fast food, pop culture in music and movies, and our staple sports of basketball and football. After walking around a bit I then tried my hand at their version of Wheel of Fortune. I spun the wheel and answered a pop culture question about American TV. I left with a bookmark of the picturesq Grand Canyon.

Meet the Archers
The other day I spent some time getting to know Team USA's archers: Coach Dee, Miranda, and Ben. Instead of seeing them compete I spent my time watching some others compete all while receiving an education in archery. They explained the rules and we watched as some of the other countries battled it out for victory. During this time I got to talk with Ben Chu, who had competed the day before and fell to his opponent by one point in the final round. Ben and I talked a lot about sport psychology and the importance of the mental game.

Following the competitions we went to the practice field where I watched both Miranda and Ben warm up and prepare for what was to come. Watching their technique and seeing Coach Dee facilitate them in their practice was something that most do not ever experience. The relationship that the three of them have is beyond words and truly inspiring. Overall it was an incredible day that I will remember as one of my favorite moment in these games.

Red, White, and Blue Day - Scavenger Hunt
As a way to engage Team USA a bit more and give them something fun to keep them busy when they would not be competing we decided to offer a scavenger hunt and field day. About half of the delegation came out to participate for a fun fill afternoon of different competitive activities.

We started off pairing up to complete a scavenger hunt which encompassed participants to scurry around the entire village finding items and taking pictures. Mona from fencing and Samantha from volleyball came in first place, collecting the most items.

After the hunt we broke into teams of three to compete in a field day full of a whipped cream pie eating contest, brain bowl, obstacle course, water balloon relay, and a game called Giants, Wizards, and Elves. Teams had individual competitions and combined as well. It was a fun afternoon for all, finding laughter and smiles throughout.

Gold Medal Victory
Not many can say that they were there when the gold was won. Not many can say that they experienced the emotion in the win. Yesterday was that moment for me.

Maxamillian Schneider took the gold medal in the final round of Judo. His teammate, Katelyn Bouyssou, sat next to us to educate us on the sport. Katelyn competes today for her chance at the gold.

Max started off well and in a short while was able to counter throw his opponent for a full point. This was enough to win the match. Now, if you know Max then you know that he is a quiet boy. He looks quite innocent and contains most of his energy. In this moment he came to his knees, hands to his face, unbelieving of what just happened. After leaving the mat he burst into the arms of his coach, Serge, celebrating the first gold medal for a USA Judo player.

The emotion in the venue was incredible...

There will be more to come, but that is just a little taste of some of the stand-out moments over the last few days. Read all about other Team USA successes at http://www.youtholympicgames.teamusa.org/.

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