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Gibb: Look back on my trip

August 25, 2008

Well I was on the plane home and started typing some of my favorite moments so I could blog later about it all. But it got so long that I think I’m just going to put the bullet points in as is. Hopefully it makes some sense to those that read this, but it will mostly serve as a journal entry for me. What an experience the Olympics was for me!

Brazil match is a bit hard to write about. I felt like we played well and I had a feeling the whole match that we were going to pull out a win, if we could just stay steady. We’ve done it before against them where when we don’t go away and put them away late in the match. But Emmanuel made some really big plays in the end of each game that got them the win. They played great sideout volleyball on top of that. It’s a tough match to think about but we gave it everything we had and that’s all I can ask of myself and Sean.

-My brother John, chanting “Megua” and Chineses people responding “Jai Yo”

-Chris my sister in law picture in her blue hair. Normally pretty conservative, which made this pic even better. What a peach!

-Dad staying up at night working out the brackets.

-Family dinners at Hilton. I ate out once with the fam and it seemed a bit sketchy after the treatment I got at the Hilton.

-Fam’s attitude about the whole thing. They had the time of their lives and you’d never know they stayed 11 people in one 3 bedroom apartment. Never complained, instead had a ton of fun and let me do my thing during the tournament and then I got to hang out with them after the tourney was over. They couldn’t have been any cooler.

-Meeting the fam after every match by the front scoreboard.

-Seeing the fam front row for my first match in the pouring rain. My favorite pic from the whole Olympics is this one of bros John n Dale holding American flag and cheering in the down pour.

Tournament:
-Team huddle before each match. Mike Dodd would call us in and give us powerful words leading in to each match.

-Walking out to stadium court from the players hall waiting area. My heart would race and butterflies galore each time. The toughest part of losing was not being able to run out just one more time on to center court. What a feeling of excitement! Something I’ll never be able to describe, but will always cherish.

-Kelly’s (our Physical Therapist) fives, actually we “blew up the rock”, before each match. She’s very superstitious and had to do it before each match because we won our first doing so. Kelly took such great care of Sean and I during the last 2 years. She was an essential part of the team. She saw us twice a week in our homes and traveled to almost all World Tour events. Thanks for keeping us healthy girl!

Random stuff:
-Shopping was more fun then I ever expected. Bargaining for price is expected. I bought 4 shoes, 2 belts, 1 tailor made suit, 3 tailor made shirts, 3 ties, 2 t shirts, and 4 pairs of jeans. More shopping than I’ve done in 3 years.

-Great Wall of China was incredible! We took a ski lift up and an Alpine Slide down.

-Walking around Olympic village and trying to guess each athletes sport

-Sneaking through security with Rosie’s credential right after he had used it because I’d left mine at the hotel.

-Realizing I’d forgotten my hats before my last match. Al Lau got em for me.

-Heather Cox from NBC said there was a shot of one of Rosie’s Raiders offering my Dad a beer. I giggle just at the thought of that. My Dad politely said no.

-Mike Dodd starting the “USA Jai Yo!” chant in the van after our wins. We celebrated after each of our 4 wins like we had just won the Super Bowl. Sooo fun!

-We had 2 drivers that didn’t speak a lick of English and drove like they were in a game of Frogger.

-I got a 1 hr Chinese massage for $12.

-Getting PT work from Kelly with Venus and Serena Williams getting work done right next to me. I chatted it up with a Bryan brother from the #1 doubles team in tennis. I didn’t know who he was and at the end of talking I asked when he played and what seed they were?? #1 he says. What a dork I am!

-Watching Phil n Todd and Misty n Kerri all win gold! What a cool experience to be there and watch them both play so well. Great accomplishment for USA Beach Volleyball.

-Having Geeter there to emcee all my matches. I felt like we had a little home court advantage having him there with us.

-Meeting President Bush twice in 2 days. I got to talk with him for a bit on the sand. Surreal!

My team:
-Sean Rosenthal my partner. Great friend and volleyball partner. I spend more time with Sean than my wife Jane. I hope to play with him for a long time.

-Mike Dodd our coach. Mike is the glue that holds our team together. Great coach and a better friend.

-Marcus Elliott my strength coach. He has worked with me since the end of 2004. I feel the best physically I’ve ever felt in my life because of his workouts. He always sends great energy my way, which is why I love the guy most. Let’s keep it going.

-Ryan Morgan my agent. Ryan gives me freedom to just focus on volleyball because I don’t have to have a second job.

Jake Gibb: What a cover!

August 19, 2008

Rosie’s cover at 18-17 and then the put away with the left hand was the play of our partnership. Man that was big! Instead of 18-18 it went to 19-17 and we scored the next 2 points for the win.

Man I felt like I was in a spinning daze cause every time I’d turn around Rosie had dug another ball and all I had to do was set him. He absolutely carried me. Sooo fun baby!

I seriously am having the time of my life right now. I expected a lot of pressure and emotion, but never that I would have this much fun.

Last night was the first full stadium we had for a match. USA Jai Yo!

That chant will be in my head for forever. Crowd is so loud and into it. I guess my brother John was leading a chant with the Chinese people saying ” Megua” and everyone would yell “jai yo! I can’t wait to get out there again. Two days is way too long. But then again I get to enjoy each victory to its fullest this way. I can’t believe how much I look forward to emails from friends and family about their impressions of the match or coverage we get.

I’m now sitting in the Hilton executive area where they have food and couches to lounge. We’re going to the silk district today to shop and just experience a bit of the Chinese bargaining skills. I got a tailor made suit from there two days ago and have to go in for another fitting today. Ok this is boring stuff but this is what we do on our days off.

Jake

Jake Gibb: Getting in a groove

August 14, 2008

Now that was a fun match! We could have set each other better, but besides that we played a really solid game. I’m not being anal, just always want to improve. MD’s words before the match: “You’re gonna remember every game for the rest of your life so go out there and celebrate every good play. He said don’t worry about wasting energy by celebrating..the energy will be there…you’ll find it.”
I felt like we played solid defense and that’s what won us the match.

It felt like we were touching most every hit of the Germans. Our side out game is usually pretty good so when we can cover the whole court well we can cause teams problems. They had some really loud German fans. I am amazed with how many USA flags there are in the stands though. It is so fun to see all the support.

The Hilton is insane. We moved in here right before opening ceremonies. The have this killer executive lounge with couches, food 24/7, and flat screens with Olympics being played. Our rooms are brand new and perfect to get full nights of sleep. Jane has been coming over every few nights for “conjugal visits” (as Geeter n MD call em). I like staying alone for the most part though just to remind myself why I am here and stay focussed. The toughest part of it all has got to be the mental side. 2 days between each game is a long time to remain focussed and ready.

Jake Gibb: Yeeeeeeeees!

August 13, 2008

My first Olympic win. Sheez that felt good! I’ll remember that feeling for a long time. Warming up on the outside court and hearing the crowd in the stadium and getting butterflies every time.

MD’s pep talk before we entered the stadium. Skipping into the stadium after Geeter’s intro. Putting away an overpass to get out the nerves for point 1.

Warmed up in the pouring rain and then it came down harder in the match. Hardest rain I’ve ever played in by far. FIVB Brazil final 06 was 2nd and we didn’t handle the rain very well in that match but I think I learned a few things in this one: First you can’t hit the side of the ball at all. I forget how much we chop the ball in our sport by hitting one side of the ball to control it one way or the other. Hand would just slip right off the ball and I hit 2 line hits out trying it against NED last night. Second hand setting and jump serving is near impossible. With rain pelting you in your eyes its hard enough just to see the ball. And third just want it more. That’s what we kept telling each other.

The match was great to win and now I wish the Dutch the best of luck.

“Super Thin Beast” and Bram (Boersma n Ronnes) are good friends of ours and I hope they can get out of pool play. They are a great team and went 3-0 against us last year. We got 2-0 now this year so we owe em 1 more.

Anyways, I’m fired up to play the Germans tonight! It’s a big game for both teams and we’re gonna come out with some fire.
BTW MD’s pep talk before the match. He said “everyone feels nerves and there are two ways to handle it. You can deny you feel them and fight it until it consumes you. Or you can embrace it and go out and have the time of your lives.” I had the time of my life!

Jake Gibb: Opening Ceremonies … Ok so that was cool!

August 10, 2008

I went to practice today and “Dubya” was there standing on my court. Yeah George W. Bush! I was asking Rodgy (who was on our practice court at the time) if that was the court we had reserved and someone called my name. I turned around and was looking straight at Dubya himself. MD, Rosie and I stood there and talked to him for like 5 to 10 min. He asked me my story of where I’m from and we talked basketball a bit.

What stuck out to me was that he was super engaging and into the conversation at hand. He didn’t look like he had places to be, which he obviously did, but he stood and talked about how tough the sport of beach volleyball is and how hard it is to move in the sand for him.

Now Opening Ceremonies was incredible! Long but incredible! We got our uniforms on and went with all the USA athletes to a holding area. This was maybe the coolest time of the night for me because we were with all the athletes from all the different sports. The Mens basketball players were the stars of the group for sure. They were all super cool and took endless photos with all the athletes. I talked to my two favorite Jazz players D Williams and Carlos Boozer. Both were super legit.

We then went to another holding arena. This time with all the other countries and waited for our turn to walk towards the Birds Nest. We finally got into the tunnel and you could hear the crowd and I felt like I was walking into the Coliseum. MD, Rosie and I got to walk together and it was be a feeling I will remember for the rest of my life. All the athletes chanted USA as we entered the arena. What an honor!

Well now that is all over and it is time to compete. I can’t wait to get out there tonight and fight for every point.

Jake

Jake Gibb: Aug. 6

August 6, 2008

I haven’t worn the carbon filter mask yet. No one seems to be wearing them and I haven’t heard any horror stories?? I might still throw it on every once in a while.

I was trying to write last night but had to go to orientation. This place is pure energy! It’s so killer walking around the village with all these amazing athletes and trying to guess what they do. The village is a brand new apartment complex that’s huge. They will rent them out for “high end” housing after the Olympics. The ‘birds nest”, which is where Opening Ceremonies and track n field will be held, is insane. It looks like something from an animated movie.

They completely take care of us here. We have food cafeteria with any type of food you could imagine. From McDonalds to Chinese food to breakfast cereals etc… The Americans have basically two apartment building to ourselves. All the individual countries hang flags from their rooms balcony. Everyone wears their countries uni’s or Olympic gear. Dirk Nowinski was in the cafeteria today with his German team. Rafael Nadal came through the airport when we did. He was absolutely mobbed like you wouldn’t believe by paparrazi. They give us these little coke bottle key chains that you swipe at any coke machine to get cokes, water, gatorade etc. They want to keep us hydrated cause it’s so freaking humid and hot here. Even at night I had to take off my jacket outside. We are rooming right next to the woman’s Dive team. They are all 5 footers but cute and told us they almost went into beach volleyball!? Joking around obviously. We share an apartment with Mike Dodd and Troy Tanner (Misty n Kerri’s coach). Rosie n I share a room and they both have their own until Phil n Todd get here tomorrow.

Coming through the airport they fast lane all the athletes through customs then we are taken by bus into the athlete’s village with police escort. The USOC guide was telling us how much the Chinese governmemnt has done as far as cleaning up this place like with painting old building along to route to the games etc. It looks amazing and they are definitely ready for the world. The Chinese helpers couldn’t be any nicer and they all love any attempt at “Shay Shay” (thank you) or Knee how (hello). Those are written how you pronounce it not spelled correctly I’m sure.

I’m gonna go work out now. They have a nice gym for us and I get to go train on center court tonight. It’s good cause all our games are at night. During the day would and will be brutal with heat and humidity.

Anyways, I’m sure there’s more to come, but the first 20 hrs have been unbelievable!

Jake

Jake Gibb: Aug. 5

August 5, 2008

Wow I arrived about 4 hrs ago. There is a layer of smog/pollution that you wouldn’t believe. Landing you can’t see the ground until you’re just above the tree line. You can’t see more than like 4 or 5
blocks ahead.

I gotta write later about how fun this has been so far. The smog just stuck out at first, but I’m giddy!

Jake