Sunday, September 21, 2008

How many people can you fit....

in the cockpit of an airplane?

In this picture you can see 8 of us and the very nice pilot, Brad. The entire team was squished up front. 13 + a pilot= 14 people in one VERY small space. I snapped this picture from my scrunched up fetal position. Squished between the tiny front windshield, a few million weird buttons, and the pilots strange joystick like-steering wheel. Here we all are....

I met Brad while we were waiting at the gate to board our flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. (Yup, this was the, most uncomfortable, fever ridden, last leg of our trip home from China that I talked about in an earlier post.) We had our medals out to show some of the kids and parents that were sitting around us. Brad walked by, to go do his pre-flight pilotish things, and then came right back to ask if we could take a picture with him on his phone. Anything for the man who was going to get us home safe. :)

Once inside the plane, just before take off he announced to the plane he wanted the WHOLE Olympic Women's Water Polo Team to come up to the cockpit for a photo before takeoff. On time departure? Um....maybe Brad's next flight. Because we proceeded up to the front, with medals on, sharing the beauties with people along the way. Then ensued the mayhem of getting us all inside there. After the photos were taken, we did finally leave Chicago.....due to Brad's stellar flying skills we landed 10 minutes early. No one at the receiving airport had to know we left a little late. ;)
I had never been in the cockpit of an airplane. Thanks Brad!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Closer Look!

I thought maybe I would start with a close up of our medal. This has become the symbol of our team's journey these last four years. It is a beautiful medal. The pictures do not do it justice at all. 

Between the years of 1896(the first modern Games) and 2000, all of the medals had the same design on the front. It featured the Goddess Athena and the Olympic Stadium. When the Games came back to Athens in 2004, the design was changed to the one you see below. Still the same basic elements, just a little different. Medals in the future will all have this new design on the front. I am lucky to have one medal with the older design, and now two with the new one. (Eventually I will get a picture of all three medals together!)

The back of the medal is designed by the host country. That is a ring of light green jade. The gold medals have white jade in them and the bronze features a darker (most common in jewelry) green jade. The lighter the shade of jade the more rare.
The ornate Chinese design used to hold on the ribbon looks cool but is not made with practicality in mind. The edges are rough in the places were the ribbon comes in contact with it. Putting the medal on and off, or taking it out to show people and let them hold it has caused the ribbon to fray on the edges! I don't like that it is happening but that will not stop me from sharing it with everyone!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Finding Normalcy.

It has been quite a while since my last post. I am sorry to leave you all wondering what has been happening since we won our medal. While I thought it would be a leisurely return to the States and back to normal life (wait, what is that?) has been anything but. 

When we first touched down in America, on our flight from Beijing to Chicago, I realized I had caught a nasty flu and brought it along for the ride home. By the time I was on the plane from Chicago to LA, fever had set in and all I wanted was to be home and laying in my bed. 
Which is where I stayed for the next two days once I made it to my apartment. Nyquil and Ambien helped to keep me asleep or simply mask the symptoms until I was ready to face the world. At which point, I began my battle with jet lag. I was awake in the  middle of the night and sleeping during the day. Not having a practice to go to or a real schedule threw me for a loop. I found myself waking up and feeling late for something. Or wondering where my teammates were. Separation anxiety? After about a week of that, then the crazy post-Olympic Media fest had begun. Which was great because having things down on my schedule gave me motivation to do even the simplest things. Like LAUNDRY! Yes, my bags from China sat on my floor unopened for over a week. If I could only describe the smell when I opened the bag! I had brought China home with me- not good!  Don't worry, now everything smells like Tide, all happy and fresh! 

Now all clean and ready to get back out there with our silver medal, I have gotten to do a few awesome things, which I will go into more detail very soon. Pictures and all, since the restrictions on blogs from the Olympics are over!!!
Things to look forward to:
  • Being honored at the LA Sparks Game
  • Throwing out the first pitch at the Giants Game in San Francisco
  • Being on the OPRAH SHOW!

NOTE:  The Oprah Show that all the Olympians are on airs on Monday September 8th, 2008.
Which is exactly one month since the start of the Olympics. Watch out for us on TV!!!!