What an Experience…

Wow, is all that comes to mind.  All of the worlds greatest athletes in
one village, at the top of their game, competing for one thing and one
thing only….the gold medal.  Even better, the chance to do this wearing
you countries colors, knowing that you are representing something much
bigger than yourself.  I don’t think I quite grasped this concept before
attending this Olympics.  I am just so honored and proud to have completed
this feat, not only for myself but my family, teammates, coaches, friends,
and every field hockey fan out there!

Sitting there watching Holland v. China in the final game was definitely
bitter sweet.  For a first Olympics, I think our team did really well.  We
tied the bronze medal team, Argentina and were a strong contender every
time we stepped out onto that field.  I don’t think we were quite at the
same level as that final game, but it just gives me so much hope for this
sport in America.  To see the level of play field hockey is at this
moment, and how close we are to competing and beating these teams, just
drives me every day to work harder.

Going into this Olympics my Mom asked me “What are your plans after
this?”   I actually wasn’t quite sure.  Was it time to go out and get
a real job, go back for graduate school, go coach somewhere?  It felt as
though I was just graduating college and finally faced with that dreaded
question, “what do I do with my life now?”   Luckily it became
clear.  I want that medal in the Olympics.  I want to put USA on the medal
stand in Field Hockey.  It’s amazing what this team has done in the past
three years, now imagine what it can do in the next four!

Until next time…
Lauren Powley

Happy To Be Home

We are back in the USA!!!  We arrived home at around noon yesterday (Saturday) and were ready to get off the airplane.  Our flights were booked well in advance and the decision to miss closing ceremonies was too.  We will be watching on the tv along with all of you!

The 2008 Beijing Olympics was an amazing experience for both Lauren and me.  Lauren played very well, and definitely made a positive impact for us.  We ended up in 8th place out of 12 teams.  It is not ultimately where we wanted to be, which is 6th place or better.  We played well and learned a lot about what it takes to perform in the Olympics.  I enjoyed watching many Olympic events live and in person, along with diving head first into the Chinese culture.  I do want to be with honest with you all though…getting the chance to play would have made my experience a lot better.  You all already knew that though.  In no way am I complaining.  I feel like part of my dream has come true, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to go to an Olympics.

Now, it is time for some rest and relaxation!  HA!  Who does that?!  See you all in NEPA, which is where I will be during some of my off time.  We are back in San Diego (Chula Vista), Calif., training once again the end of October.  Thank you once again for all of your support.  Lauren and I wish all of the local athletes healthy and winning seasons this fall.  Take care!

Hello Olympic Gurus!

I apologize for never ever blogging.  Powley has been doing her part from the Olympic Village, and now it is my turn to tell you about my life thus far in Beijing as an Olympic alternate.  Upon arrival on August 3rd, Barb Weinberg (the other alternate) and I checked into Beijing Normal University (BNU) instead of the Olympic Village.  Alternates, personal coaches, training partners, US olympic committee staff, and other integral people stay at BNU.  The name does sound very funny, but this school is actually awesome!  Only USA athletes are staying at the University.  I’ve met or seen elite athletes like the Kobe Bryant (that’s Barb and me with Kobe), Tyson Gay, Adam Nelson, and medalists from an array of sports.  The US Olympic Committee shipped many items from America such as hurdles for track and field, weights and fitness equipment for the gym, and all of the food we consume.  Oh, the food is actually awesome!  Countless US athletes train and eat at BNU because of the serenity and menu.  The rest of my team can definitely vouch for the food and its quality.  They think it’s better than the village!  The team has come to BNU twice for pool recovery sessions on off days.  I have been in the Olympic Village once, and it is just awesome.  So many different cultures living and competing together…I will never forget the first time I set foot in an Olympic Village.

Barb and I are making the most of our experience as Olympic alternates.  We practice with the team, attend every game, and stay fit and healthy at BNU.  You never know what could happen!  Our free time (which is more than the 16 staying in the Olympic Village) is spent working out, touring Beijing, and attending Olympic events.  We have seen the Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, the famous Tian’anmen Square, and even eaten strange food at a popular outdoor night market (starfish, snake).  We do have so much more to see in the next week!  We also get to see lots of Olympic events.  I’ve seen beach volleyball, synchronized diving, tennis, and of course lots of field hockey matches men and women.  I am seeing men’s basketball, track and field, boxing, and soccer in the next week as well.  I know it seems like I’m bragging, but hey, you have to see it all if you’re here!

I think that sums up my last 2 weeks here in Beijing, China.  The people are very nice, but not many speak any English.  It’s fun to point and motion with your hands.  Also, the taxis are so cheap!  I’m talking ridiculously cheap.  20 minute ride for 4 US dollars.  It’s awesome!  Oh, and the weather has been fairly nice.  Not much smog the past couple days!  Oh, and by the way, we beat the Kiwis (New Zealand) pretty bad this morning!  4-1!  Yeah USA!  Pool play ends on the 18th…we have to win to be in semi-final game contention.  Wish us luck, and thanks for watching and cheering us on.  Go States!

Sara

What a game…

Sorry it’s been awhile since my last report. Since then we have been through a whirlwind of events. Not only the opening ceremonies, but we also officially became Olympians.

The ceremonies were everything and more I dreamed they could be. We were dressed and ready around 5:15 PM. We then made our way over to the Fencing Hall, where we proceeded to meet the President of the United States. As we waited for him to make his entrance Kayla and I obviously had to entertain ourselves with the video camera. We only asked the most important questions like, “how did you get you hair to look that way?” and “what is is your favorite dance move?”
But, on a more serious note, it was quite amazing to be able to converse with the most talented athletes of our nation. After Mr. Bush spoke to us briefly and took a team picture with everyone, it was off to the main holding arena.
In a line of 204 countries we were ranked 139th to make our march to the Bird’s Nest. After weaving through a what seemed to be mile long line, we finally made our entrance to the 2008 Olympic Stadium. The most amazing part of it all was experiencing it with this team. As I looked to my left and right, it was knowing that we are behind each other throughout this entire process that made it so special.

Ok now on to bigger and better things…..game #1, USA v. Argentina. I wouldn’t have wanted to start against any other team. Over the last few years we have played this team more times than I can count, and every time I think we learn a little more about them and get that much closer to consistently beating them. Although the game did not go exactly as we had planned, it showed our true strength as a team. Even through adversity, we adjusted and rose to the challenge that was placed in front of us. Playing a man down and questionable calls still couldn’t detract us from our main goal, putting the ball in the net. I am now just looking forward to playing a game with 11 players for 70 minutes, that’s how this sport is supposed to be played right?

Until next time…
Lauren

New York Times blog

The New York Times Olympic blog features a post on field hockey. About halfway down the page you’ll see a familiar face.

CV sports staff

A Tourist in Beijing…

When they say the GREAT Wall, they aren’t joking. One of the most incredible sights I have yet to see. I have seen pictures and heard stories, but there is nothing like seeing it in person. After practice yesterday, we packed our bags and left the village for our mini getaway. With our mini overnight bags, we loaded the bus and headed to the mountains. Once leaving the city, there were acres of open land. It seemed every few miles you could spot a random worker tending to the land. About an hour and a half out, we arrived at our destination. Of course we all thought the bus would just drop us off at the side of the Great Wall. Little did we know that we were in for a 45 minute hike. After the first few flights our stairs, my legs went numb and it was smooth sailing! Before we knew it, we were standing on the Great Wall, which seemed to be the top of the world. You could see the wall extend for miles in both directions. If we weren’t in the middle of the Olypmics, I would have loved to just hike along it for longer, it was quite the workout though! After walking on history, it was time to take the massive alpine slide all the way down to the bottom, another highlight of the day. Besides thinking I was going to kill myself by flying off the track, it was great fun! That about wrapped up our day outside of the village. I highly suggest it if you all make it over to China!

Until next time…

Lauren

Day 1 in the Village!

Hello!

After an eleven hour flight we arrived in our new home for the next three weeks.  Before boarding the flight to Beijing we first had to make a quick pit-stop in San Fransico for team processing, otherwise known as Christmas for any athlete!  We literally were given shopping cards and made our way around a huge warehouse room where we received our Olypmic gear from both Nike and Polo.  I cannot say much about the opening ceremony outfit, but we will be looking very sharp!  After lugging all of the new gear back to the room we proceeded to package almost all of it up and send it home before we left, that will be nice to go home to!  After we got all of the goodies it was onto more serious manners.  We then had a meeting in a lecture hall about issues such as media, athletic trainers, behavior in the village, and go figure the dos and don’ts of blogging.  Let’s just hope I stay in the dos.  After a whirlwind of a day it was off to Beijing first thing the next morning.

After a very smooth trip we arrived in the village around 6 PM Beijing time, 3 AM our time.  To say the least, we were a bit tired.  Our first team event…the dining hall.  It always seems as though we eat about 5 meals in one day when you travel anywhere.   Gotta love it!   Now the dining hall is a sight all by itself.  Split into the Mediteranean, Asian, and Italian sections, there is enough food to feed an army!  Then it was off to one last meeting before we got to pass out, and I mean pass out.  I think my eyes shut immediately after my head hit that pillow.  Hopefully today will bring some new and exciting experiences!

Until next time….

Lauren