Saturday, August 9, 2008

Opening Ceremonies

Amazing. Fantastic. Exhilarating. Beautiful. Nothing I can write will do justice to what was the 2008 Opening Ceremonies. The Chinese have put on an incredible and extraordinary show; one that captivates the mind and enlivens the senses - its magnificence touches the very core of the human heart.

Our opening ceremonies experience started early in the day @ 5:15 - and like most days here in Beijing, it was incredibly hot and humid. Dressed in our Gatsby-esque Polo outfits, the perspiration started immediately as we walked out of our building. Our first stop en route to the Birds Nest was at the Fencing Center where we mingled with other athletes and awaited the arrival of President Bush.

It was amazing to be in a room filled with so many talented athletes. President Bush arrived with an entourage of people including his father President George H.W. Bush, his wife, First Lady Laura Bush, the Secretary of the Treasury, and many others...After making some remarks, the President mingled with the Olympians and took a picture with each team.

As I was standing in the room, I had an incredible thought - I was in the same room with two Presidents of the United States, various high ranking public officials, the Dream Team (including Lebron, Kobe, Chris Paul and other stars), and many other incredible athletes. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

After the photo-op with the president, we made a trek to the Gymnasium Hall that served as the staging area for the walk to the Birds Nest. We waited in the hall for what seemed like hours in the sweltering heat until our number 140 was called. We left the gymnasium and made our way toward the main event. We had a long walk in the hot heat - and finally reached the tunnel leading into the National Stadium. TEAM USA started chanting U - S - A as our time to march approached. The sound of U - S - A reverberating in the tunnel sent a cold chill up and done my spine - then they announced our country and our march around the track began.

Now, I never realized how difficult it was to wave for such a long period of time (especially in a sports coat). My right arm ached as I gazed up into the crowd at all of the spectators, but nothing could hinder the enthusiasm I felt as I walked with my teammates around the track. I was extremely thrilled to see numerous American flags being raised with pride in the stands. When our march ended we took our place in the center of the track and awaited the lighting of the Olympic Torch.

With our blazers thoroughly soaked, it finally came time for the lighting of the Torch. Chinese Olympians and star athletes ran the flame around the National Stadium; all minds were wondering how the Torch (which was high above at top of the Stadium) was going to be lit. To our amazement, we watched as the former Chinese gymnast was hoisted into the air, and made his captivating "run on air."

Now, it is night time here in Beijing, and as I write this post and prepare myself for bed, I need to "put to bed" (as our coach always says) all of the excitement and hype of the Opening Ceremonies. It is time to focus in on what is most important, performance on the hockey field. Tomorrow at 6:30 pm (6:30 am Eastern Time) we will play Argentina in our first Olympic match. Go USA!


Anonymous said...

Best of luck tomorrow.

Now it is time to take care of business.


Greg Egan said...

you were on tv.

Anonymous said...

Wow great picture.

Anonymous said...

Here is the link to the video of the USA entering the stadium.

Anonymous said...

I'm from a local school in Jersey, and I love the way you write your stories! I'm so excited to see you all play at the olympics. Good luck!!!

Case said...

God Bless You We are so proud of you.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
Bring Home the gold.

Mr. Casey

Anonymous said...

good luck tonight rach!!!!! kick some argentina ass!!!!!!!!! i love the picture btw...we're all cheering you on, go usa!



AMAZING!!! Just watched Game 1 vs ARG we will take the tie. Keep up the great work. You girls look Great.

U-S-A U-S-A!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

WOW - the whole town is buzzing with excitement for you and your family. Not only are you an outstanding athlete, but your writing accounts are equally amazing. Thank you for taking the time to share this astounding experience with us. My family just watched the game and the playing was incredible. Keep up the momentum and we are ALL CHEERING FOR YOU AND U S A TEAM.

craig said...

Do they have broccoli & cheddar pizza there?Best of luck Rachel and I'll be watching!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Great game Rachel.

Good job battling to the very end.

Berlin is so proud of you.

The Dunkin' Donuts was packed at 6:00am this morning because of you.

Keep up the good work.

Jennifer said...

Great game today... You ladies played tough to the very end. You dominated the offense in the second half and made the USA proud. Keep creating the magic moments and much LUCK in your next games!!!

Drools said...

Rachel, Congrats on the tie w/ Argentina. Good luck in the next match & enjoy it! :)

Natalie Dawson Ashman said...

Baby girl, i have tears in my eyes from your account of the opening cerimony and chills throughout my body! Amazing writing! You look beautiful in the pic! I love it! So jello that you got to be with The President YET again. Had fun watching you today! we all had to take naps!


Anonymous said...

Your blog is awesome -- great game -
we are with you and the U S A team
K & C

Anonymous said...

Way to go Rach and team. Keep it up!

Love the pics...keep em' coming.



DCCREW2 said...

Rach!!! I haven't missed a minute! We got to see you walk in during the opening ceremony...which was so amazing on TV that I can't even begin to imagine how unbelievable it must have been in person. You guys had a great comeback tie against Argentina and I'll be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning to watch y'all play Japan. Good luck and kick some ass!!!!!!!!!!!!!


BuddyL said...

Rachel (and the entire USA Field Hockey Team); the Osisek family would like to wish you all the best in these Olympic Games! Good Luck from Gibbsboro NJ -- GO U.S.A. !!!!