Instead of my typical middle-of-the-night entry, I’m writing this one first thing in the morning (on Tuesday) but still reporting on yesterday’s experience. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I do so. These are late nights … and it takes me a good half hour before bed to get the makeup off my face. Last night, that left zero extra energy for blogging.
Yesterday (Monday) I woke up in a mood. Had I known it was Monday, I might have blamed it on start-of-the-week blahs. But I had no idea what day it was. I was feeling blue, missing my boyfriend and friends and family and feeling less-than-satisfied with last night’s column on women’s gymnastics prelims.
Here’s the thing about covering the Olympics. It’s not just the athletes who are hard on themselves and second-guess their performances. Every journalist here is also attempting to perform at a gold-medal level on deadline, while going head-to-head with some of the best writers in the business. I am a huge fan of so many of my colleagues here in Rio and often find myself in awe of the linguistic gymnastics they are able to pull off within what feels like nanoseconds of the finish of an event. I hope every once in a while, the readers we all service feel the same way about me.
Later this week when I have more time, I’ll share some of my favorite stories from my colleagues here in Rio so far. I try to read as many as I can each night and morning, and they inspire me when I’m feeling mentally exhausted and struggling for an angle. (Meditating each morning helps, too!)
As soon as I got off the phone with my boyfriend, Billy, who is a magician at righting my mood, I did some thinking on a new angle at which to approach Tuesday’s women’s gymnastics team final and had what I thought was a good idea. I spent the rest of the day at the Main Press Center reporting and writing this feature, on the unknown Sixth Man on the USA women’s gymnastics team, the secret sauce, if you will, that just might explain why the heck Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez are so darn consistent and Biles is the best we’ve ever seen. He’s Robert Andrews, a sports psychology coach from Houston, Texas.
Then I headed to our broadcast center to record the daily Storyline Showdown video featuring Foudy and me, and then caught the van back to our apartment complex to finish writing my story — and remove what last night was far, far, FAR too much eye makeup.
It truly didn’t dawn on me until right now, as I type these words, how important the story idea itself was to my day. Did it enter my brain because I needed some sports psychology help myself, or did the universe just do its thing and send me what I needed today? I’m not quite sure. What I know is that working on that story energized me, as did my conversations with Robert, who I am certain will have to silence his ringer once the U.S. women win every gold medal on the table this week. I just hope he picks up when I call.