August 13, 2004

Postcards from Athens: August 11 and 12

Former Yale track star Kate O'Neill '03 is one of 11 Bulldogs in Athens for the 2004 Olympics. O'Neill will compete in the 10K on August 27, and is keeping an on-line journal for yalebulldogs.com to document her experience.

August 11th

After a very long journey, we have finally arrived here in Athens. Officials from the US Olympic Committee met us at the airport and brought us to the American College of Greece (ACG). All of the US athletes are staying in the Olympic Village with the athletes from other countries, but the ACG's campus will serve as the operations center for the USOC during the Games. When we arrived at the ACG, we watched a video of President Bush welcoming us and wishing us luck. Then we went over some rules. We ended the session with a video of various celebrities (including Denzel Washington, Al Roker, Tom Brokaw, Tim Allen, and the hosts fromQueer Eye for a Straight Guy) wishing us luck. After that we finally got to see our uniforms for the Opening Ceremonies! (I had been very curious about what we would wear.) The hats are called "poorboy." They are a little bit like berets, but they have a rim (like a baseball cap, but much smaller) in the back. The women will wear a navy blue skirt, navy blue jacket, and red shirt. The men have a similar outfit, but they have to wear pants. The weather has been pretty hot so I'm glad that I will be wearing a skirt. By the time we were done trying out all of the outfits, we were exhausted. We took a bus to the Olympic Village. Security was very tight when we arrived. We basically had to do all of the things that one would do when traveling to a foreign country - show passports, put all of our bags through machines to be scanned, etc. When we were done with that process, I went to my room and slept for many hours.

August 12th

I did not even leave the Olympic Village today, but I still feel as though I had an exciting day! Just walking around the streets of the Olympic Village is amazing. I have seen so many people from different countries! Everyone is very friendly. I think the most famous person I have seen so far is Venus Williams (I hear that Serena Williams has pulled out of the competition.) But I have also met some people in less high profile sports. I met the sole American representative for the trampoline event yesterday, as well as a shooter (he knew New Haven well since it was once the home of so many arms manufacturers), racewalkers, and some people from the kayaking team.

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