Monday, August 06, 2012

Meeting the Olympic Athletes

Gold Winning German Rowers
My favorite part of the Olympics so far has been meeting the athletes. One night I stumbled upon the door out of Athletes Village. Here most of the athletes come and go from public transit and the big mall that is an integral part of the Olympic Village. A swarming group of fans, autograph collectors, professional photographers, who try to get portraits of all the athletes, all whirl around trying to get pictures and a few friendly words.
Gold Winning British Long Jumper Greg Rutherford

For the athletes who enjoy it, this is their moment to be a star. No one cares what country or sport, they just worship equally. It's a complete international experience. It's also fun to see up close all the body types. Tall basketball players and rowers, tiny gymnasts, muscular shot put players, boxers with gnarly ears...
Gold winning USA Wrestler Jake Varner
As an American, a really nice part is many people have said the Team USA folks are the friendliest, taking time to talk to everyone. This isn't so for everyone. Somehow the Cubans, from the friendliest country I've ever been to, ignore everyone and run through the crowd. I wonder about the geopolitics of it all. Could it be that they are not allowed to talk to the outside world? I certainly haven't seen any North Koreans.

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