Interesting first week in all kinds of different ways. Certainly from a playing standpoint it has not been exactly as Phil and I originally drew it up. Our first match vs. Latvia was a bit of a debacle from Phil and I’s standpoint. We played poorly, they played well, and the end result was a loss. We rebounded well in our next two matches by beating Switzerland and Argentina fairly handily. But because of our 1st loss, we ended up being second in our pool and will not be seeded 2nd overall but instead we will be anywhere from 10th – 12th in the draw. This of course means a much tougher 1st round match against the 5th, 6th, or 7th seed. We will find out tonight who we play.
A highlight of our week here has been meeting with President Bush not once but twice. 1st we met with him right before the opening ceremonies. That was of course with all the other American athletes that walked in the opening ceremonies. All the beach volleyball players took a team picture with the President and chatted with him a bit. Kerri told him to come to their practice and he was fired up about coming. Sure enough, the next day he showed up around 11am to watch Kerri and Misty practice. Phil and I were also practicing so he came and took some pictures and chatted it up with us. Pretty enjoyable watching all the guys and gals there be somewhat in awe and want their picture taken with the President.
Another very cool part about the Olympics is how often you run into some of the greatest athletes past and present. Working out and having lunch at the BNU (where the USOC is stationed) you get to see and meet amazing people and athletes. In the present there are all the basketball guys from the NBA. Working out next to Kobe is a bit of trip. Eating lunch with all the great American athletes and their coaches is amazing. Many of the coaches here are former Olympic greats having won gold medals over the past 40 years. As I have experienced this it has dawned on me why the Olympics are so special or at least an aspect of why they are so special. Where else will you ever see a gathering of athletes of this magnitude from the past and present and then get to interact with them. It is one thing to see it all on TV. It is another to say hello to them and then have them say “good job last night” to you is something special. You share this bond with NBA superstars and the guy you have never even heard of. In the end though, you are all Olympians and that is something that no one can take away from all of us.