Olympic Diary - Day 12, Feb. 19, 2002

Feb. 20, 2002

by Lori Scott Fogleman

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 12, Feb. 19, 2002

Wow, today was AMAZING! I saw Derek Parra win his second medal - gold! He set a world record in the men's 1500m and capped off his silver in the 5000m with a first-place finish in today's event! It was awesome! I've said it before, but this guy is absolutely great. He is the whole package in terms of personality. He prays before and after every race and this evening in the medals ceremony, he knelt down before mounting the podium and said a prayer of thanks.

I also got a religion lesson, of sorts, today at the speedskating Oval! My friend, Nicole, and I were sitting in the media stands between some Canadians and some Utahns. We all got into an interesting discussion about different things, and I learned all about how Quebec came to be a French province, and all about its background in terms of wars and religion (from the Canadians, of course). It was really interesting! Then when the subject turned to religion, we started asking the Mormon guys some questions and before we knew it, the race was almost over! They started asking us what kinds of ideas we had about Utah before we came, and if they were proven true, etc. Both of the guys had spent two years in Japan on their mission and they spoke Japanese and were working the Olympics for a Japanese broadcast company. Anyway, it was really neat to hear about that faith from people who are actually a PART of it. They were obviously used to people who only knew the stereotypes and even I have to say, I learned a lot of things that I didn't know about the Mormon faith!

That was pretty much my adventure for the day. I think I am starting to kick myself into high gear in terms of getting to know other people and talking to them, getting to know about them and the places they're from...the things I did only halfheartedly my first week or so here. The Olympics are going so fast and I can't believe they're almost over! Today, in addition to Derek's medal in itself, the USA celebrated our mark of earning 20 medals. It was a goal that was set by, I think the USOC, and really, it was quite a high goal. Derek's was number 20 and USA 2 with Vonetta Flowers and Jill Baaken (bobsled) was number 21! Women's bobsled is appearing for the first time in the Olympics this year, by the way. And the U.S. earned the sport's first gold medal!

It's been a great couple of weeks and I'm not looking forward to the end. But I still think there are a few more medals in store before it's over...women's 1500m tomorrow - watch and find out!

Erika

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