Monday, July 28, 2008

Road to Beijing Part 1

So we arrived in Japan where we are holding our final Pre-Olympic camp in Chiba on monday. We were hit with a wave of heat and humidity as we left the airport for our "limousine" (just a bus unfortunately) which has not let up at all and also experienced 4am sunrises - a wonderful way to start the day when you are still tired from traveling, have left the curtains open and don't need to be up for another two hours!! It has been wonderful though so far, trying to work out where we need to go when everything is written in Japanese has been fun. And the Japanese to English translations have certainly kept us amused! The people here are wonderful and so ridiculously helpful! Although we have encountered a few problems with the miniature size of EVERYTHING!!!!I swear that the dinner plates we got on the first night were the size of our bread plates at home, and I am finding that my head almost touches the top of the door frames - our rooms were definitely not made for the two giants that we have on our team!!!All that said though, I am really enjoying being here in Chiba, it's a nice city, I could get used to the weather and the hotel has provided us with larger plates and portion sizes! It's also been great to be with the full team and wear our uniform. What an experience to be a part of! I will put pictures in the next blog entry to show what the place is like and illustrate our adventures so far.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Olympic Uniform

Finally got my Olympic Uniform through on Monday and did a bit of a Fashion show for the family. As promised I have pictures of the event - I tried to get each different outfit. We havn't been given our Opening Ceremony uniform yet. Apparently the tradition is that we have to wait until we get into the village and there is some big secrecy beforehand over exactly what it will be like.

This is the NZ Olympic Committee issued uniform so doesn't include my racing suit or caps. I will be getting those hopefully in the next 1-2 weeks as they need to be branded etc.

So, first picture - Short sleeve tee and running shorts with jandals. You can sort of see the Silver Fern on my right side, going down the shirt, and the Olympic Rings with the fern above them top left of the shirt. All Items have been branded with the Olympic Rings and Fern as well as the Kapinua Manufacturer's brand. This is obviously the casual outfit and I'd probably live in this most of the time.

Hoodie - You can see three Chinese characters on the back which together read New Zealand, and although my hood is covering it, "New Zealand" is written above them in white - just in case people aren't sure where we come from! The Chinese characters are also used on the back of the tracksuit. I'm also wearing the casual shorts.

Tracksuit - You can see the fern better in this photograph. It was specially designed for the Olympic Team and incorporates some special elements of Maori and Chinese beliefs. There are 8 frongs on each side (the leaf things) because 8 is a lucky number in Maori and Chinese culture. The end of the fern where it curls a bit is supposed to be the beak of the Hokioi, a mythical bird that calls for people to be ready. For the purpose of the photograph I am wearing the cap and the socks. As much as I am a fan of wearing socks and jandals (or in this case sandals) I probably will not let myself embarrass the team by going out in public like this! And I will try to resist the temptation to wear the cap at an angle!

Formal Uniform - We have been issued with a formal skirt, black polo and blazer to wear to team functions in Beijing such as the photo, team welcome & flag bearer announcement and most probably our official media farewell in Auckland. The blazer has the rings and fern stitched into the front pocket as you can see, and the specially designed Olympic fern is on each of the buttons down the front.

The family said I looked a bit like an air stewardess with it on hence the photo to the left. I'm practicing signaling the exits! You may also notice that I am wearing odd shoes here - I was trying both out to see which one worked better. I still havn't made a decision so feedback would be appreciated.

Well, there you have it. My official Olympic uniform! It is so cool to have this stuff for real, finally! I look forward to being able to wear it all with pride and cant wait to spend 4 weeks in it! It is going to be so amazing to see this uniform being worn all around the village and I can't wait for my chance to wear it as I walk on poolside to represent my country. And hopefully I can be there to see it up on a podium!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

POST #2 - 2008 Summer Olympics Beijing

So, I officially have:
26 days until we leave for the New Zealand Olympic Swimming Staging camp in Chiba, Japan
34 days until we arrive in Beijing, China
37 days until the Opening Ceremony of the 29th Summer Olympiad in Beijing, China
42 days until I swim the highest level and most important race of my career so far.

With the games getting closer everyday (funny how that tends to happen) I am really beginning to feel the nerves and excitement. I am racing in Sydney this weekend against the Australian Olympic team at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Pool. I am excited to go back to the pool. I really like racing in it and last time I was there I was overwhelmed by the feeling of being in such a special place, and I got to see the Men's 50mfreestyle record get broken for the first time in 8 years - I can't imagine what it will be like at the Olympics this time around! And this weekend will be really good practice to stand up with the best in the world in my events and see what I can do - I will keep you posted on the results.

I should also be receiving my Olympic Uniform tomorrow morning, provided the courier arrive s in time. If so I will try to post photo's before I leave and cross the Tasman in the afternoon.