University of South Florida students and staff share some sights and sounds of what they are experiencing in England related to the 2012 Summer Olympics. Anchored in London, the Olympic games are featuring some events at venues across the country.
Friday, Aug. 3
Today I made my way to see the 85 kg Olympic weightlifting. This event was hosted at the Excel venue on the south side of London. Before I entered, I found a large group of Thailand natives playing music, singing their national anthem, and genuinely proud to be at the Olympics. The group welcomed me in their celebration, despite the language barrier. One nice man even posed for a "Go Bulls" picture.
As I entered the venue the energy and excitement of the night's events sent chills up my spine. I made my way along the path to the entrance of the event. When I approached the stands, I was in awe of the proximity of my seats. I watched the intensity and concentration of every athlete. Some achieved, and succeeded, but every athlete had confidence and pride to represent their country in the 2012 Olympics. I was able to see the medal ceremony. This was such a special moment. The admiration from the crowds for the athletes was unprecedented. As they stepped on the platform and received their medals, the crowd went wild. My heart was racing as well. I knew at this very moment history was taking place right in front of my eyes. This was a feeling I will be certain never to forget.
Christa Roe, Proud Bull
Wednesday, Aug. 1
My new friends and I were so anxious to make our way to London from Cambridge Friday, July 27th, for the Opening Ceremony! Arriving at the train station you instantly feel the Olympic atmosphere, flags hanging down, tourists proudly wearing their countries' colors, and security left and right. As we walked around London we found a lively pub filled with people from all around the world. And of course, when Team USA was announced the majority of the pub went crazy, along with Great Britain.
Next day, Saturday, I woke up extremely early and was freaking out knowing that I was going to get to watch defending champs MISTY MAY and KERRI WALSH, (my idols - since I have grown up playing volleyball and watching them on TV in Sydney, Athens and Beijing). Also Men's USA team, Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal. Walking into Horse Guards Parade was breath taking. Our seats were perfect, I felt like I was in a dream, I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. I walked to the very top of the stadium and in the same view I could see the Beach Volleyball court, London Eye, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace. I took in a few deep breaths and enjoyed the scenery as I watched the stadium begin to fill up with fans, you could say I was in heaven for those five minutes. I walked back down to my seat to join my friend, turned around, looked up and I saw the American Flag, waving oh so peacefully, it warmed my heart and made me so proud to be an American! The game was chaotic, the commentators kept the crowd going the entire time, asking everyone rooting for the USA to scream and wave our flags. I met more Americans cheering for USA, including a former Penn State Collegiate Volleyball Player! Misty May and Kerri Walsh dominated over Australia in two matches. The Men's game was just as exciting as they beat South Africa in two matches also.
Sunday I had one more Beach Volleyball Event to go to! The remaining two USA Men's and Women's teams played, Jennifer Kessy and April Ross, and defending Gold Medalists Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers! First up were the ladies, who put up a fight and won against Argentina! Throughout the game the crowd was twice as crazy than the night before! I was surround by nothing but Americans, I loved it. Since I attended this particular game by myself, I made all new friends. During the Men's game VS Japan, I find out that my new friends are actually Jennifer Kessy and April Ross's families! So of course I got a picture with Kessy and Ross! I was ecstatic! Dalhausser and Rogers went on to win their first game of the 2012 Olympics and hopefully are once again on their way to Gold for the USA!
My experience in London for the Opening Ceremony weekend exceeded my expectations. I cannot wait till this upcoming Friday, August 3rd, where I get to cheer on Team USA in Table Tennis and Indoor Volleyball. Find me on TV wearing stars and stripes and red white and blue from top to bottom!!
GO TEAM USA, GO AMERICA,
Saturday, July 28
Today was an Olympic surprise for my best friend and me. We set out to Hampton Court for a tour of the palace but we were in store for a special treat - the palace had been chosen as an official Olympic Venue for Cycling time trials that are to take place on August 1.
When we got off our train we walked into a massive crowd of flags waving high in the air, roads blockaded and the uproar of cheers and horahs by hundreds of people. There were a small group of locals that called us over and and said get to the front.
Elated we made our way to the front. Two minutes after we made it to the front, a parade of all the Olympic cyclists made their way past us. They waved, cheered, spoke, and represented their country with pride and cheers as they passed us by. I could not explain the sense of pride that overwhelmed me when the American cyclists made their way past. These cyclists had trained with sacrifice and discipline to be the best cyclists in the United States and in the World. Their dedication resonated our freedom to live the American Dream.
Our trip was not over yet. As we embarked Hampton Court Palace, we were able to walk right down the path where the cyclists finish their time trials passing the judges tent along the way. I closed my eyes and for a split second imagined what it would be like to cross the finish line to win a gold medal by a millisecond. We then made our way to the official podium where the cyclists have their ceremony; imagining the sense of overwhelming pride winners must feel as the medals are placed around them.
Later than night we made our way into Central London to celebrate the festivities in Hyde Park. Unfortunately we made it too late and the officials were not letting any other visitors in after a certain time. We found a quaint pub but unfortunately they were no longer serving food. A couple of the locals struck up a conversation with us, one in particular who favored Prince Harry. They were very nice and suggested a great place to find fish and chips. The next day on the news it was announced that Prince Harry had been at the pub where we visited. In the photograph, he was wearing the same clothes the nice local had been wearing.
The experiences were once in a lifetime. The events were unplanned but undoubtedly one of the most exciting days of my life that I will be telling my colleagues, family, and friends for years to come.
GO TEAM USA!
Thursday, July 26
Today was nuts! I went to the Brasil versus Egypt football (soccer) match here in Cardiff, Wales at the Millennium Stadium with a bunch of other USF Bulls. The atmosphere was so full of energy - from blocks away we could tell that we were getting closer to the stadium. The Brasil fans were rampant; on nearly every street corner you could see at least one yellow and green shirt, often full outfits! Brasil is of course known for their rabid and loyal fanbase! They deserve it though, later having scored three goals in under thirty minutes (quite rare if you aren't familiar with soccer).
Once we found our seats the game began with a flourish. I had bought a scarf before hand, which had one side for each team so I got to wave half of it each time one of the team did something spectacular - and there were some great shots and blocks! Egypt put up a great fight I thought, minus though three quick goals they let through, but Brasil did win in the end with a score of 3-2.
While I did keep up with the game, with Brasil in attendance half the fun was definitely watching the crowd! One group in particular grew from a drummer and his friends to maybe a 50+ mass of cheering fans, coordinating fight songs and cheers - even the kids got into it. I can't wait for the next match, Great Britain plays a game here in Cardiff on Sunday! Us Bulls have decided to take a different route of participation - watching it from a local pub, something I am definitely looking forward to since it's a home team.
I can't believe I was a small part of the Olympics.