Card’s Corner #15

August 09, 2016

Hey Badger Fans!

Guess what?!! I am in Rio!!  I apologize for not posting since the U.S. Olympic Trials, but things have been crazy hectic for me. My teammate Zach Ziemek (decathlon) and I (discus) both qualified to compete for Team USA in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Our third-place finishes qualified us for the Summer Games!

Following the trials, I went home for about a week to just unwind and spend some quality time with my family, because I hadn’t been home since Christmas. When I returned to Madison, it was back to full-fledged training. The weather was a little more hot and humid than normal, so I think that helped prepare me for the conditions in Rio.

I left Madison on August first to go to Houston, where all Team USA processing took place. In Houston, we received all sorts of gear and goodies from the U.S. Olympic Sponsors. After spending only about 24 hours there, I hopped on a plane with a sizeable amount of Team USA members for a non-stop flight to Rio. This was my first flight that lasted over four and a half hours, but I had on my compression socks and a great selection of movies, so I was set!

Once we arrived in the village we were given our room assignments, our country has a whole building to themselves because our team is so large, and track and field has several floors because of all our members. Our building has nice proximity to entrances as well as to the dining hall. After settling into my room I immediately went for some food. The dining hall is gigantic and filled with so many food stations and seating for people. The food has been pretty good so far, I have been able to find similar things to what I eat back home to keep up a normal regimen.

A lot of people might not know this, but a big thing that takes place in the village is pin trading. Each country, and sometimes individual sports teams within those countries, have pins to hand out and trade with other countries. Some people are very serious about it and have lanyards or even books full of them. Some of the pins I have traded for include, Thailand, Austria, Poland, Australia, Japan, and many others. It is so fun to see what each country comes up with for their design. I would have to say my favorite so far is my one from Thailand because it has an elephant on it and that is my absolute favorite animal.

Many countries book private venues for their teams to practice at the Olympics and Team USA is no exception, so everyday I get to practice without huge crowds of people taking turns and I really get to bond with my teammates.

I did get the wonderful opportunity to walk in the Opening Ceremonies and that was an incredible experience. It was so amazing to see all of the countries in their ceremonial outfits and also to get to meet athlete superstars from various sports. (I got within five feet of Michael Phelps and the men’s basketball team you guys!). All of the dancers and lights were so cool to see and to walk out into the middle of that packed, cheering stadium is a moment I will never forget. However, for now, I am just training and trying to keep a regular schedule to prepare for competition!

In between my posts on Cards Corner, you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter for updates on my time in Rio.

On, Wisconsin, and go Team USA!

Kelsey

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