Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Team Finals

Wed 13th August. Team finals!

Due to prime time USA television, team finals was a morning competition! This was a challenge for me because I had mentally convinced myself that I was not a morning person! But in this case, I had no choice but to build a bridge and get over it asap! We had qualified 5th which meant we would start comp from beam. That meant bars was last! But hey, I'm skilled in construction so I built another bridge and ran over it!

The circumstances ended up working out for me because the nerves I gathered watching all my team mates compete before me, gave me enough adrenalin to overcome the whole 'not a morning person' circumstance!

Our first apparatus was beam and at the same time, China was on vault. I was so nervous watching my team mates up on beam because when ever a Chinese girl landed a vault, the crowd would ROAR!!! But thanks to good preparation, my team mates all hit their routines!

We had a mistake on floor but the girls did awsome vaults. Then it was bars...
I was so high on adrenalin and snickers bars so I was really excited and ready to go! As per normal, I only remember my mount and dismount. I knew the rest was good because I would have remembered a fall! I felt so proud and relieved when I landed my dismount. I was proud that I had done my best for my country, and I was so relieved that I had come through for all those who had faith in me.

Competing at the Olympic Games was an incredible experience and one I will carry with me for as long as I live :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Qualifying Competition

Sunday 10th August 2008....The day that we would all officially become Olympians and join a club that includes very little members. The day that we would not only represent ourselves but more importantly, our country!...What was the result of these thoughts running through my mind?...A pair of shaky legs and a whole lot of butterflies flying around in my stomach!

Our comp was in the early afternoon so we had the morning to do a light training session and rest our bodies and minds...Well, resting my body was easy, but calming my mind was impossible with the amount of nerves I was feeling!

The time flew by and before I knew it warm up was over and we were ready to go! Marching out into the arena was such a huge highlight! Thousands of spectators cheering and clapping...and then there was my family! My plan was not to pay attention to them. But when they are there in fluro yellow and green Afro wigs, amongst a plain t-shirted crowd screaming "Go Olivia"'s hard not to notice!

Bars (my only apparatus) was third so it was my job to get my team mates through floor and vault! Things went great and my turn up on bars approached. Strangely enough I wasn't really nervous. I had a good warm up and I felt good. I remember presenting to the judges and sticking my dismount. Everything in between was a blur! But the feeling I got when I landed my dismount was unforgettable! 11 years of training for 30 seconds on the bar....was it worth it....HELL YES!!!!

We had a shaky beam rotation but we finished 5th. And knowing that there was only two teams left to compete and top 8 make team finals, we knew we had made team finals!

Preperation in Beijing

We arrived in the village a week before opening ceremony. We needed to come early so that we could adapt to the environment and get the part where we all get distracted out of the way! Being such a young team and the fact that this was our first Olympics, it was inevitable that we would get distracted. What did we get distracted by? Well there was the Olympic atmosphere, the receiving of our uniforms, the endless amounts of free food in the dining hall and the fact that people like Roger Federer were walking around! But we were lucky that Peggy had done such a great job in the preperation camp before hand, because we were prepared for these distractions (except Roger!!) and knew how to handle them. So as quickly as we had lost it, we regained our focus!

We got stuck into training straight away and things looked good. The equipment was exsactly the same as what we had been training on at home, things felt normal and we weren't too jet lagged. Two days into training we suffered a huge blow to the team. A team mate injured her foot quiet seriously. This tested our teams strength and ability to pull together and overcome this obstacle. We're lucky that we are such a close team and we gel well together. This made it easier for us to construct and follow a new plan.

So we left the past in the past and continued to prepare for our Olympic debut!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Olympic Village

The Olympic Village...only words like Amazing, Unbelievable, Sensational and incredible could describe it! The village is very well planned out. It contains buildings that are many stories high and save space with the hundreds of countries that are staying here! I'm staying in a building that is 9 stories high, and I'm on the ninth story! The penthouse suit as I like to think of it, even though it's identical to the 8 stories below! Australia takes up almost two whole buildings. I'm opposite the other Aussie building which is only 6 stories high. The village contains many of these building plus water features, entertainment lounges, two dining halls, a Forrest, a pool, a gym, a theater and many interesting gardens and features. It's very clean, detailed and has thousands of volunteers whom each speak English! The Australians have set out a nice grassed area with tables, chairs and plasma TVs which show channel 7 live!
Our rooms are great! I'm sharing a room with Shona and we hit the jackpot! Our room is the only one with its own bathroom and balcany. The other four girls have to share a bathroom between them and they have no balcany!
The day after we arrived, we went to get all of our uniform! Past olympians have told me it's like 'Christmas".....but let me tell you now, I've never recieved that many clothes for Christmas! Infact, even if you add up my past 18 christmas's, I still wouldn't have recieved as much as I did that day! And after we had recieved our 2 suitcases worth, volenters took them off us, and the next we saw of them was when we arrived back in the village and they were already in our rooms! I'm telling you, the volenters ar fantastic here! What ever you need, they can do it!

The flight to Beijing

After 5 weeks of camp in Canberra, my team-mates and I were ready for a change of scene! (And a change of weather didn't sound bad either!) ...What better place to go than Beijing! So the morning of August 1st we boarded a Qantas flight along side the rowing, judo and badminton team. We were all in our stripped tops so there was no mistaking all the athletes and officials. I think this made it a little over whelming for the Airport security staff because we were getting through security with full water bottles and stuff! Made me feel special but concerned at the same time!!

The flight was long, but there were many movies to watch so I stayed occupied! ...A little worried for the flight home as I have now watched most of them, and presuming they won't change (as the month hasn't), they will all be the same movies! During the flight (in between movies) it was necessary to get up and walk around. And because other athletes had the same idea, the back of the plane became a great place to talk to other athletes....well it was until flight staff became to concerned about the amount of weight at the back of the plane!

10 hours later, we arrived in Beijing and could feel the heat as soon as we stepped off the plane (didn't help that we were wearing long sleeve tops!) We then passed through customs and boarded the bus that would take us to what would be our home for the next three weeks. The Olympic village.