It’s that time of (every two) year(s) again … When I’m sitting in a hotel room in a foreign country awaiting the start of the Summer (or Winter) Olympics. Tonight, I’m writing from the Hilton Glasgow on the eve of the start of the women’s soccer tournament. Tomorrow, the U.S. team begins their three-week journey with a game against France, the team they beat in the semis of last year’s World Cup to earn a spot in the finals against Japan. (And we all know what happened there.)
I arrived this afternoon on one of what I’ve learned are very rare “dry days” in Scotland during the summer–perfect excuse to go for a wake-up run near my hotel. As I was passing yet another gorgeous cathedral, I thought about how glad I am that I’ve learned to like running. It’s such a wonderful way to get to know a new city. (And it’s not a bad way to keep you from looking like a sports writer.) If I hadn’t gone for a run, I might not have found 7 coffee shops on Great Western Drive (of course that’s the street I chose to run on!) to check out over the next few the mornings and I might never have realized the beautiful Glasgow Botanic Gardens are only a block from my hotel. I’m so glad it didn’t rain today.
Opening Ceremonies don’t take place until Friday — signaling the official start of the 2012 Olympics — but tournament play begins early in order to fit in all the games. That means those of us covering sports like soccer and basketball start work early, too. So my semi-annual Daily Olympics Blog begins today!
As much as I love both the Winter and Summer Games, I have to admit feeling a greater tug toward summer. Growing up, I didn’t participate in winter sports or dream of becoming a Winter Olympian. But when the Summer Games rolled around, I imagined myself at the gymnastics competition and the softball games and the track events. Like every little girl gymnast, I was going to be the next Mary Lou. Of course, I had to settle for writing about the Next Mary Lous. (I think Little Alyssa needed to work on her visualization skills and use more specific language.)
When I was assigned to cover the 2008 Summer Games, I wrote a piece I titled, “Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Couldn’t Quite … Write,” before I left for Beijing, and I feel the same way today: giddy, excited and nervous. The next three weeks will be exhausting and trying and a heck of a lot of work. But covering the Olympics is also a ginormous privilege. I feel very lucky to be one of a few hundred American journalists with an all-access crediential and the lucky opportunity to share my experiences and these incredible athletes’ stories with all of you back home.
Let the Games begin!