I have spent the last couple of days visiting different venues and see the Mustangs and some great events. Last night I went to track (Athletics) to see Libor place 8th in the final of the Hammer Throw. It is was great to see him compete and to see 60,000 plus at heats and finals for Track. I will go tomorrow to to Aleksander compete in the discus final.
Today I was cheering Laura Bennett in the Women's Triathlon. The venue was beautiful at a reservoir near Ming's Tomb. Laura had an amazing race - coming out of the water 1st in the swim - having a great bike - and coming out of the 2nd transition in 8th - going into run. Laura quickly moved up to 3rd and at one point moved into second. As the race progressed she moved back to 5th but had a strong kick on the end of the run and moved by the Japanese athlete to finish 4th. This was a great finish and it was so exciting to see her compete so well in her first Olympic Games.
Tomorrow I will be vesting the Great Wall with Petra Kosovo and then in the evening to watch Alexander in the finals.
This has been a great Olympic Games. All of the venues have been impressive and the volunteers do a great job. I have been able to see The Water Polo venue and see the US beat Croatia. I watched France and Spain in Team Hand Ball. The Rowing- Flatwater Kayak is very impressive. This site will also be used for the Open Water Swimming on Aug. 20th. China has put on a impressive Olympics and has set the bar very high for Olympic Games to come.
I will be leaving on Aug. 20th and return to Dallas on the Aug. 21st. I am looking forward to getting home but am living the Olympic Dream while I am here.
The Swimming events finished this morning and it was an honor to be a part of the amazing swimming that took place over the past 8 days. Martina Moravcova swam the 50 free in a time of 25.47 for 25th place. Angela San Juan Cisneros swam the fly leg for Spain and the relay finished in 15th place. Mustang great Lars Frolander swam the fly leg for Sweden in an amazing 51.13 which was the third fastest fly split of the prelim relays- their relay placed 11th.
Congratulations to all of the Mustangs swimmers for a great job done at this Beijing Olympic Games.
The Athletics has begun and I will go to tonight to watch Libor Charfeitag compete in the finals of the Hammer Throw for Slovakia. On Tue evening Aleksander Tammert will compete in the Discus for Estonia. Michael Robertson missed the final in the discus for the USA in his first Olympic Games.
Laura Bennett competes for the USA in the Triathlon on Monday morning so it will be an exciting day for the Mustangs in Beijing.
The past 24 hours has been exciting for the Mustangs in China. The biggest news is Sara Nordenstam won the Bronze Medal in the 200 Breaststroke. Sara's time of 2:23.02 was a European Record and places Sara among the elite in the sport to win an Olympic Medal. Congratulations to Sara. Once again her reaction on the display board was awesome.
Anja Carman swam in her first Semi Final in the Olympic Games and placed 16th after breaking the Slovenian Record in the prelims. Last night was the final race for Flavia Rigamonti who finished 13th in the 7800 meter freestyle. Congratulations to both Anja and Flavia.
Martina Moravcova swims this evening in the 50 free her last event of the Olympic Games. Angela San Juan Cisneros will compete in the 400 Medley Relay for Spain and will swim the butterfly leg.
Good Luck to Martina and Angela.
All is well in China and the Mustangs are swimming well in the water cube. Here are some highlights from Beijing.
Opening Ceremony - It was a great honor to march in the opening ceremony for Slovakia. I have worked with the Slovakian Olympic Team in four Olympic Games. It was a long night - as the teams started going to the buses at 6:00 and were moved to the Indoor Stadium where they holding the Gymnastic competition. Being in the Opening Ceremony, it wasn't the best place to watch it, as only a little of it is shown on the screen, but it is a great time to meet people from other countries and get to know the other coaches and athletes on your team. We slowly moved from the Indoor stadium to the Bird's Nest - along the way there were thousands of Chinese volunteers cheering us on. The overall experience was very inspiring and one I will always remember.
The is very well set up and with nine story condos housing the teams the whole village seems smaller and more accessible than Sydney or Athens. This is an amazing display of organization to house and feed 16,000 athletes and coaches. The days are spent moving to and from the venues or practice facilities. There is a main bus station for that with buses leaving every 15 minutes. The meals are served cafeteria style with areas for International items, Mediterranean, Asian, Salad, fruit, cereal, sandwich bars and of course McDonald's. Most people are walking back and forth from the rooms to services but buses run 24 hours a day in the village. Laundry - all athletes and staff have two laundry bags to drop off laundry. These bags have bar codes for easy check in and pick up. The International zone is a where they have ceremonies (each country has their own Flag ceremony to welcome them to the Olympics) - in the evenings performances are given there for entertainment. The Commercial Zone has a bank, post office, UPS, stores, souveniours shop, mobile phone service, ticket office (which is really busy right now) and internet cafe. Each area of the village has a service and recreational centers where the athletes can use the computers or their own on wireless, watch TV and relax.
My view on some of the most popular in the village -
Athletes - Rafael Nadal and any NBA player draw the biggest crowds
Food - McDonald's McCafe which is a Starbucks type coffee bar - Peking Duck in rice wraps are a big hit
Internet Cafes - Great
The Mustangs have done well so far - Sara Nordenstam was five seconds better than her best for 18th place - Flavia Rigamonti swam a strong 4:09 in the 400 and looks good for her main event the 800 Free - Lars Frolander swam in the finals in the 400 Free Relay for Sweden - Anja Carman set a National Record in the 100 Back - Petra Klosova - swam a few tenths off her best time - Martina Moravcova swam well but missed the semi final in the 100 fly. It is very different doing the finals in the morning and coming back at night for the next session of preliminary. The results have really not been affected so far as several world records have been set in the morning.
This morning I was fortunate to watch the Men's 400 Free Relay. It was one of the most exciting swims in history. It was great to see Mustang Lars Frolander swimming for Sweden. 5 Teams were faster than the World Record which was set the night before. The French and the US had an amazing battle and both teams broke the World Record by 4 seconds with the last swimmier from the US, Jason Lezak, passing the 100 Free World record holder in the final stroke. This was swimming at its finest.
So I will try and update again before I leave on the 20th. I will be home to watch the closing ceremony on TV.
This is an update from our group of Mustangs training in Singapore for the Olympic Games. Martina Moravcova, Flavia Rigamonti, Petra Klosova, and incoming freshman Denisa Smolenova as well as nine other swimmers from Switzerland, Slovakia, Barbados and Montenegro are training with their coaches at the Changi Beach Club in Singapore.
On Tue we had a press conference with the Singapore Sports Council and local media. It was announced that 22 countries currently have Olympic Teams training all around Singapore. Flavia's interview was shown on the local English speaking TV station and she did a great job. This has been a popular destination for Olympic Teams because it is in the same time zone as Beijing, excellent facilities, hotels, food and similar climate to Beijing with good air quality. Singapore is a very easy place to visit for English speakers as one of the official languages is English. We have been treated very well here and everyone we have worked with has tried hard to make our stay a great one. The US team along with SMU's Men's Coach Eddie Sinnott has also been here in Singapore staying in the downtown area and training at a country club about 15 minutes from the central business center.
The area that we have been staying in is Changi Village which is near the airport along the east coast about 30 minutes form the downtown area. The Changi area was originally a British military area and Singapore Air Force has several facilities nearby. Many of the small seaside resorts are for military personal in Changi. Our Beach Club is a primarily a private swimming and tennis club with hotel and restaurant facilities. We are fortunate that all of the facilities we need for training are self contained here at the club. Being right on the water we are able to see a lot of shipping, fishing and sailing boats going by each day.
During the week the swimmers are working with the coaches twice a day in the pool as well as using the fitness center at the club to do dry land training. This has been a great opportunity thanks to the Swiss Olympic Team for me to be able to have the Slovak Swimmers as well as Petra attend this training camp and be able to work with Flavia Rigamonti during the final preparation for the Olympic Games. In addition future SMU Mustang Denisa Smolenova has been here training with her coach. I have included a picture taken after the press conference with all of the current and future Mustangs training here in Changi.
On Tue we will fly to Beijing and move into the village. I will be looking forward to seeing the rest of the Mustangs in the Olympic village. This week will be a busy one with most of the teams arriving from their various training camps. I know Anja Carman has been with the Slovenia team in YanTan, China and Angela San Juan Cisneros has been with the Spanish team in Nagano, Japan.
I will be sure send to send another update and pictures after all the Mustangs arrive in Beijing. As the opening ceremonies will be the night before the swimming competition begins it is undecided which SMU Mustangs will march with their countries. I will let you know if I hear of any so you can look for them on TV.