After what seemed like the longest few weeks of our lives, we are finally in Rio, at the Olympic Games!!
The trip began with a night's stay in Houston for Team USA processing. Houston did a fantastic job of making us all feel like rock stars! Nike customized each locker room with our names and a kit that was out of control. Ralph Lauren matched Nike with incredible Village wear and ceremony outfits. We had some media training with our Ambassador program and we got to hear Olympic Gold medalist (and friend) Joey Cheek speak about his journey to the podium in Speed Skating AND Matt Biondi speak about his Olympic swimming career. Two legends! Very humble people and terrific motivators. We went through processing with the US Women's Basketball team and a few tennis stars. ;) After all the excitement (it was like Christmas x 10) we had time for a quick run and gym session at the Hilton, then we were transported smoothly to the airport via police escort, for a red eye flight to Rio.
The Olympic Village has been been amazing, and we are making short work of the massive landscape on our bikes! They are the envy of the Village, as you’d be surprised how far you walk each day! Everyone wants to know if we bought them locally. Citizen is a US company based in Florida and they make the coolest 16" bikes we've ever seen. We even folded them and put them on our laps in the back of a taxi to our next stop....Copa, Copacabana. :) So, we were in the Village until Opening Ceremonies, then we packed up (bikes too) and were off to an apartment that we rented walking distance to the race course. But, before I get into that....
The Opening Ceremonies were spectacular. We wanted to make sure all of our supporters saw us on TV, so we had a idea....lets find the biggest athletes with the best fan base in the States and hang out with them. So we walked in near the NBA stars. Needless to say our plan worked, we got some great airtime. :) Also, after spending some time in OKC, we are huge Kevin Durant fans.
The ceremony itself was very exciting. All the US Athletes walked from our Village building to the buses, took a 40 minute ride to Maricana Stadium. We were held in the volleyball stadium while each country was marshaled for the march of nations. Our turn came soon enough and what a show it was!! We walked into this dark tunnel and the whole team was chanting USA, USA! What an unforgettable moment. Walking into that stadium is by far one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life. So proud to be part of Team USA!
So, as this is being written, we are staying at our mentioned apartment in Leblon, the beach town just next to Ipanima. The Copacabana venues have to be in the best at the Games. On the lake, we are paddling between Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer. The view is stunning. We are also about 2 blocks to the beach, where we are doing all of our morning runs. At the Games, many countries and big sponsors have "Houses"; there is the USA House, P&G House, Omega House, Nike House etc. A ton of them are here at the beach. We have been leisurely exploring one each night, for dinner. The US has a hub out here with a great gym and medical staff. We've been watching the US Rowing Team compete as we train and get treatment.
Our training venue is a bit wavy, but nothing that Newport Harbor hasn't prepped us for! Thank you NAC for being THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH TO PREP FOR RIO!!!!
That's all for now. Racing starts Monday, and we are ready to go!