Ni hao, everyone. A lot of wonderful stuff has happened since I last wrote home. Let’s go down the list …
First off, the Opening Ceremonies were pretty special. The highlight was getting the chance to hang out with the entire US delegation prior to walking into the stadium and meeting the President, his daughter Barbara (who is super cute!), wife, brother, sister, father and a few of his friends. President Bush gave a little pep talk to the US athletes then took the time to shake hands with every Olympian who chose to walk in the Opening, and also took pictures with every team.
He is a special man who cares deeply about his country and certainly made us all feel so special and proud to be from the USA.
Misty and I then had our “official” start to the Olympics on August 10th. It was a rainy morning in Beijing which was nice in one way because it definitely cooled the temperature a bit, but on the other hand, center court was like a steam bath. It’s really fun playing in these conditions because every day is a little different and it makes me feel like a warrior taking on the elements and the world–good stuff!
We played Japan in our first match, who is a great serving team, very scrappy and pretty tiny. Aside from a few unforced errors on my part, it was a very successful match and so so nice to get our first win under our belt. I’m not sure which took my breath away more, the steamy conditions or the constriction in my chest and tummy because of nerves?! Whatever the case, the excitement of the Olympic Games and the pride we feel when we step onto center court representing our country and all of you back home is pretty special.
Misty and I have the highest of hopes for our Olympic tournament and a lot of grand plans which have been laid in gold. The 2nd step in our journey takes place on the morning of August 12th when we take on a great team from Cuba. We are prepared, we are excited and we are ready to take center court and play great great volleyball. I hope you get the chance to watch and cheer us on.
Lots of love from Beijing.