Friday night was an experience not many get to say they have been a part of: an Olympic opening ceremony! USA was decked out in matching blue USA polos, khaki shorts, and either tan shoes if you are a girl or Crocs-sandal shoes if you were a guy. The funny thing is: I usually wear a size 11 women’s shoes and the tan shoes didn’t go up that high in sizes so I was one of a few women athletes who also sported the Crocs-sandal shoe. We left the hotel in several giant buses carrying 50 people per bus. Before we departed, the entire USA squad of athletes, coaches, trainers, and personnel gathered in the lobby of our hotel to anxiously await the news of who would be flag bearer and who would make of the group of 12 athletes who would walk when the United States was called. The location of the opening ceremony was a bit smaller than normal so only around 10 percent of each country would be walking. The flag bearer was a woman for the first time since 1983. This was her fifth Olympics and she had represented the US in multiple sports, earning multiple medals. This young lady also happened to be the daughter of our assistant coach. Everyone was excited about the pick for flag bearer and thought she was a great representation.
As we arrived at the Arena Armeec where the opening ceremonies were held, the entire USA squad gathered on the steps outside in front of the arena for a group picture. It was tough getting everyone together but I think after a half hour or so we managed. After this we spent quite a while getting pictures together with new friends, acquaintances, teammates, and others. It was such a memorable experience for all and we wanted to make sure it was well documented. Once enough pictures were taken we filed into the arena and sat in the designated USA section. My parents and many other fans filed in wearing their Red, White, and Blue and were energetic and ready to cheer on our nation. The ceremony opened with the traditional carrying in of the Olympic Torch. After this, the torch was used to light the Olympic Flame which would burn during the duration of the games. This part gave me goosebumps and it was just such an awesome moment. Once the flame was lit, the Olympic flags were raised and the ceremony began. The actually ceremony included many dancers, drummers, actors, and performers that were captivating to watch. I don’t even know how to describe the scenes that were in front of me. Acrobatic performers and performers in crazy and native costumes were some of my favorites.
Some moments that really stood out were when the countries worked together to get the wave going around in the arena. Another fun moment was when our coaches two young boys ran around the arena collecting flags from all the different countries. I swear, after they were done they probably had 20-30 small flags in their hands. Athletes from other countries would come up to some of the American athletes in order to take a picture together. It was just such a captivating experience and at the end we must remember to take care of our minds and bodies in order to go after the Gold.
Thanks for tuning in and checking out my experience during the opening ceremonies! The next report will include our results against a very tough Russian squat. Look for the results soon!
Go DAWGS…..Go USA!!
Kelly Kyle #10