Monday, August 25, 2008
Posted at 4:08 PM
The team flew home from Beijing on the morning of Aug. 25, arriving in the USA (after crossing the international date line) on the morning of Aug. 25. Is a 10-hour flight a lot easier after you've won a gold medal? You betcha. The plane was packed with athletes and officials from the U.S. delegation, including gold medal men's volleyball players (a great group of guys), swimmers, rowers, runners and others. The players snapped pics in the Beijing airport with fans (like Shannon Boxx above) and while the team arrived in all different cities on their domestic legs, we know they got some wonderful hometown greetings. Amy Rodriguez got balloons at the airport (see below), brought by her friends/teammates at USC. And oh yeah, it's the first day of school for A-R0d. She has a 6 p.m. class. Welcome back down from Cloud 9. And stay awake Amy! Or if you do fall asleep, just tell your professor that your gold medal was so heavy that it pulled your head down onto the desk.
Posted at 3:56 PM
Another very special thanks goes out to Jay Warwick, the WNT's USOC Liaison who was with the U.S. team every step of the way in China. Jay did a fantastic job in helping the team in so many ways, we can't begin to list them here, but his experience with the Olympics and the USOC and how the whole Olympic Games functions proved invaluable. Jay was a bronze medalist in taekwondo in the 1988 Seoul Olympic games, so needless to say, he knows a bit about kicking, only with him it was people, not soccer balls. But after this month, and six amazing games, he is now an official Soccer Guy. Like Natasha Kai, Jay has Hawaiian roots so the we snapped this photo of the duo hangin' loose after training one day.
Posted at 3:42 PM
The U.S. team, as did all teams, had a Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games liaison with them the entire tournament to serve as well -- a liaison -- between all the hundreds of local organizers involved in staging and games. The USA's liaison was Sherry, shown above with U.S. asst. coach Helena Andersson and Pia Sundhage. Sherry is a student at Beijing Normal University and is from a small city in Western/Central China. Her English was excellent and got better throughout the tournament as the team taught her more words and western phrases. We just want to send a special thanks to Sherry as the amount of work she put in during the entire month the U.S. team was in China was amazing. Translating Chinese to English and vice-versa with the different cultures was an arduous task, but she handled it with aplomb, patience and grace. And of course, it's not easy dealing with us crazy Americans, but Sherry did a fantastic job and played a big part in the team's success! So, thanks to Sherry as well as the thousands of volunteers, all of whom always had a smile for you and were seemingly falling over themselves to help you out. Well done China, well done!
Posted at 3:21 PM
The U.S. team had a fun last day of the Olympics on Aug. 24. Yes, they were exhausted after three days of media and celebration, but that didn't mean they weren't going to squeeze the last few drops out of their Olympic experience. Quite a few players went to the men's basketball gold medal game or the men's water polo gold medal game, before rushing back to the Olympic Village to get ready for the Closing Ceremonies. The Closing Ceremonies were predictably spectacular but unpredictable in the amazing show the Chinese out together. The show definitely put a perfect capper on what was a phenomenal Olympic Games. After the Ceremonies, the team had a final meeting back at the dorm in the village in which Pia Sundhage spoke to the team about the amazing journey that the team had taken this year and thanked everyone who was a part of it. Most of the team staff spoke as well and it was a great last bonding event before the players left the following morning on four different flights. But they will see each other soon. The post-Olympic tour starts on Sept. 13!
Posted at 3:09 PM