Olympic Diary - Day Five, Feb. 12, 2002Feb. 13, 2002
Baylor University graduate Erika Snoberger, who is covering all speed skating events for the U.S. Olympic Committee at the Winter Olympics, is filing a daily diary with Baylor Public Relations, as she experiences the "shining moments" that only the Games can provide.
DAY FIVE, FEB. 12, 2002
Well, I have now seen Americans win gold, silver and bronze medals in person! Casey FitzRandolph and Kip Carpenter finished first and third, respectively, today, just as they ended the first round yesterday (men's 500m long track). As I have said to several people, every athlete has his/her own "personal" story that, to me, is just so interesting. Casey's is that he started speedskating in 1980 when he saw Eric Heiden win five gold medals in Lake Placid. Heiden had always been his role model. Now, today when Casey won his first gold, Heiden was right there beside him (he is a team sports-medicine type person for the speedskaters). Anyway, it was just neat to not only see Heiden, who is an Olympic LEGEND, but to see the way Casey grew up to fulfill his dreams just like he said he would at age five.
Tomorrow is the first day of short track. I am really excited and a little bit nervous, too. I am going to arrive at the venue (it is different from long track) plenty early so I can figure out just where to go for interviews. I have a feeling it is going to be more hectic that at the Oval, simply because the venue is bigger and there are more "favorites," I guess you could say. Apolo Anton Ohno is the U.S. leader. He is said by some to be the fastest skater in the world.
Which reminds me of something I wanted to share. There is just something so amazing about being around so many world-class athletes, all in one place. You don't really realize what these people go through, the work, time and sheer determination just to get to where they are. To see athlete after athlete walk through the media zone, you just have to look at the way their bodies are sculpted...chiseled is more accurate...to understand that these people have so much discipline, so hard a work ethic. No matter if you are into sports or not, you've got to respect that. I know I do. Well, now it's time to look forward to tomorrow's events and hope for more medal appearances in the press conference afterward!