This morning, the rain finally stopped. So again, after about three hours of sleep, I headed to the Laoshan BMX track for the finals of the inaugural Olympic BMX race. I think it was a glowing success, and at least for now, it is here to stay.
The U.S. did fantastic, as expected. Mike Day took silver, Donny Robinson took bronze, JIll Kintner took bronze and Kyle Bennett somehow managed to race all three of his semifinal heats with a separated shoulder, and just barely missed qualifying for the main. After the race, however, the sport showed how green it is in the press conference. Not only did a rep from the ABA (American Bicycle Association) stand up, take the mic, and ask a self-serving question in both the men’s and women’s conferences (“So, how did you all get involved in BMX, how can other kids in America, and is there a website parents can go to?”), Kintner’s brother asked the final question in the men’s conference. So weird. If anyone in the conference had known who her brother was, I’m pretty sure they would have been offended. But they were too busy trying to figure out how to write stories about a sport they’d never seen before.
After BMX, I went back to the press center, took a nap, had some nuggets, went back to the press center, had some more nuggets (half-kidding … for those of you who get this) and wrote a story. Then I did something I haven’t had the opportunity to do since arriving: take a shower before dinner. Lindsay, Jim and I showered, put on nice clothes and went to Block 8, a popular club in Beijing owned by the Norwegian mafia, for an Oakley party. The highlights …
* Watching all the boys bend down to hit on Shawn Johnson. (Jim wasn’t leaving until he took a photo with her, which he did.)
* When Lolo Jones got up on the bar and started dancing. Jones showed up with an entourage of about 50 folks, walked up to a friend from Oakley and said, “I’m about to get this party started.”
* They had an air-hockey table, which I couldn’t resist. Then I accidentally broke one of the paddles. I felt terrible … until Lindsay broke one of the little men off of the foozball table.
*Although he looks like a very nice boy, we couldn’t quite figure out why Amanda Beard dumped Carl Edwards for the new guy. He does backflips.
* Watching Julia Mancuso use Jill Kintner’s bronze medal to work the guy and the door and get us all into a CNBC wrap party upstairs.
* I finally got to check out a real Beijing sports bar (All-Star Bar) and club (Bling) and found out they are way too much like a) cheesy American establishments b) Cancun.