Saturday, July 26, 2008

USA vs. Norway on MSNBC and Universal HD will keep fans posted of the TV schedule (although, once NBC gets its coverage going it will be near on impossible not to find out when events are being shown), but the USA will start its Olympic run on Wednesday, Aug. 6 LIVE on MSNBC and UNIVERSAL HD in the time block from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. ET. The match has a 7:45 a.m. ET schedule kickoff. That's 7:45 p.m. China time.

The Soccer Girls Are Back

It's been a long road preparing for the 2008 Olympics and the latest episode of "Soccer Girls" follows the U.S. team as they traveled to South Korea to participate in the Peace Queen Cup. Check out the new episode on U.S. Soccer's MySpace page. (click on the video tab) to be a part opf something really real.

Congrats to Kristine!

Congratulations go out to Kristine Lilly and her husband Dave as they are the proud parents of a baby girl. The most capped player in the world gave birth to Sidney Marie Heavey on July 22, which just happens to be Kristine's birthday as well! How often does a mom have a baby on her own birthday? Well, there's at least a 1 out of 365 chance. Little Sidney, who was six pounds and 13 ounces, marks yet another girl from a member of the 1999 Women's World Cup Team. Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm (twins), Tiffany Roberts, Joy Fawcett (three girls), Danielle Fotopoulos, Carla Overbeck, Christie Rampone and Tisha Venturini have all had girls (with a few boys in there as well), but is anyone else thinking that the 2027 Women's World Cup Team is going to be loaded?

Hey Mom! I'm at the Great Wall!

The New Kids - Amy Rodriguez, Lauren Cheney and Tobin Heath - take a break to check in with family from the Great Wall.

Great Wall, Lots of Steps

This just in: The Great Wall of China is, well...very steep in places. Like, a 75% grade. We kid you not. Where the U.S. team visited this morning, sometimes you felt like you were walking up a sheer face. How they built this 3,000 mile wall is truly remarkable. Standing on it makes you realize that it is without a doubt one of the Great Wonders of the World. Said Lori Chalupny, "Lance Amstrong would not be riding up this part of the Great Wall." Needless to say, it was a workout, but since the U.S. team didn't have training today, they got a good sweat going and can now proclaim (on a t-shirt or not): That I Climbed the Great Wall of China. It was a bit foggy so the views were perhaps not as spectacular as they could of been, but still, seeing the wall in person after many years of seeing it on TV was still awe-inspiring. The U.S. team went to the Badaling section of the wall, which is the most visited part and about 50 miles outside of Beijing. The U.S. players took plenty of pictures with the tourists, whether it was because they were Americans or Olympic athletes, we're not quite sure...probably a mixture of both. The team went to an excellent lunch a five-star hotel right near the wall and then headed back to Beijing, where they got a look from the bus at the now famous Water Cube, where the aquatic events will be held, and the Bird's Nest, which will feature the Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well as track and field and the men's soccer final. Once again, no matter how many times you've seen them on TV, in person, they were stunning buildings.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pocket Hercules

Amy Rodriguez was so pumped after her weight workout today, that she decided to attempt a rare "double" in Olympic competition: Soccer and weight lifting. Here A-Rod goes for the world record for 5-foot-4 soccer players from Orange County, Calif., attempting a dead lift of 220 pounds.

Editor's Note: This photo is of course staged. A-Rod can't clean and jerk 220 pounds. She will not be competing in two sports. But truth be told, she can squat a bit more than that. Nod to Tara Knott, though, a former soccer player at Colorado College who won gold in weightlifting at the 2000 Olympics.

Pump You Up

The U.S. team has yet to kick a soccer ball in Beijing as the players are being given a few days to recover from the long travel and get their legs nice and fresh before starting training on the field. To help that process, the team hit the weight room this afternoon for a brisk strength session and got a good sweat on. The USOC has set up a first rate weight room facility here at BNU and the players enjoyed running through their various stations to some pulsating beats on the sound system. Tomorrow will be spent mostly traveling to and from the Great Wall, but the team will have its first on-field session on Sunday morning, going for about two hours, before departing for Qinhuangdao later that day.

Chupa Loop (of Yarn)

During world championship events, the U.S. players have a lot of down time. In a foreign country where the priority, when not training, is rest, hydration and relaxation, the players have hours to kill. They are pretty good at filling that time, but sometimes they come up with creative ways to pass the days. Lori Chalupny has decided she's going to learn how to knit. Nothing complicated like socks or a sweater, she's starting with a blanket. You can see above the beginning of her masterpiece which she hopes to have done by the end of the Olympics. Heather O'Reilly has also brought knitting materials to China, but was hesitant to admit to her domestic streak. O'Reilly does admits that she perhaps lacks natural knitting talent. She's yet to start knitting anything, and says that the first step was putting the yarn into a ball. Mission: Not Accomplished. In fact, Christie Rampone walked into O'Reilly's room and saw yarn everywhere. "Was there a cat in here?," she asked, as strands of yarn were draped everywhere. "I'm off to a slow start," said O'Reilly. We'll check in with the pair (well, at least Lori) to see what progress they've made.

(Not so) Forbidden City

The U.S. team in the Imperial Garden. Think they attracted some attention?

While the U.S. team has played in China many times over the years, the team has never before been to Beijing, so the players will do a bit of sightseeing in the first few days while they begin to acclimate to the time difference. The U.S. team took a tour of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City this morning. The most impressive part about the excursion was the pure size of the square (they say it holds 1,000,000 people) and the ancient palace, which for almost five centuries served as the home of the Emperor and was the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government. It was built from 1406 to 1420 and consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 rooms. You think the emperor could host a few friends? It's now a museum (has been since 1924 in fact) and features the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. The tour, which was all outdoors, featured some very, very hot and muggy weather. Needless to say, the players were drenched as if they'd just trained for 90 minutes, but the walk was excellent in helping with the jet lag and certainly seeing something so ancient and revered was memorable.

Carli Lloyd, Shannon Boxx and Christie Rampone guard this lion which guards the palace

Linday Tarpley, Heather Mitts and Heather O'Reilly in front of the Gate of Supreme Harmony

This pot was used to collect rainwater in case the palace caught on fire. For some reason, big pots are funny

A nice view of the Palace of Heavenly Purity in the Forbidden City

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hello Beijing!

BEFORE in San Francisco

The U.S. team has arrived in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. The team landed at the amazing new terminal on the afternoon of July 24 at about 2:30 p.m. China time after a smooth 12-hour flight from San Francisco (the pilot maybe asked us to fasten our seat belts once due to turbulence). The team was greeted by a gaggle of volunteers, media and other folks who were bending over backwards to welcome the U.S. team to China. A+ to the USOC for organizing the departure from San Francisco and ditto to the Chinese for the arrival. The players then took a short bus ride to Beijing Normal University, where the USOC has set up its home base during the Olympics, and checked into their rooms before having THE BEST first meal in China EVER. Four stars to the USOC and the culinary American experts they have brought in because that was some good eating. Can you see sauteed veggies with penne, garlic and a red sauce? Yum. And that was just one offering. After dinner, the players had a brief meeting with the USOC staff describing the support here at BNU (it's extensive), which will serve as the HQ for athletes and staff who are not staying in the Olympic Village. The USOC has done a fantastic job setting the place up, even though the U.S. players are among the only athletes here so far (along with the boxers). After the meeting, the players went for a walk and several did some jogging or hit the weight room. The team will only be in Beijing for two and half days before heading to Qinhuangdao, the venue for the first two matches, but tomorrow and the next day will be partially filled with sightseeing. Friday will be the Forbidden City and Saturday it's a trip to the Great Wall of China. The U.S. team has been to China nine times since 1998, but never to Beijing, so the chance to see one of the greatest wonders of the world is unique even for this group of China veterans.

AFTER in Beijing

Monday, July 21, 2008

Abby's OK

She's got a titanium rod in her leg, but given the circumstances, U.S. forward Abby Wambach is doing just fine. Still in a bit of pain, yes...but she's feeling well enough to attend her first rehab session today as well as speak with the media via conference call. Click here to read some impressive quotes from Abby as talks about the injury, her confidence in her team and the immediate future. You can also go to the front page of and click on a podcast of the call. Suffice it to say, Abby is a strong woman, of body and mind, and she has handled this setback with all the grace and professionalism that she has displayed while racking up 99 career goals and leading the USA in scoring in three straight world championships. Let us not forget that the U.S. lost two other important players to major injuries right before the Olympic Team was chosen in defender Cat Whitehill and midfielder Leslie Osborne, both of whom have also dealt extremely well with their injuries. Both Cat and Leslie are already well into their rehabilitation and comebacks. Feel free to post messages for Abby, Leslie and Cat, as well as good luck wishes to the U.S. team right here on the WNT Blog. We are sure they will read them. The team leaves for China on Wednesday, and once we get there and settled, we'll start up the Blog again to keep you up to date on the happenings of the U.S. team at the 2008 Olympics. For now, we're off to Beijing...