London 2012, Day 13 – London

Alarm? What alarm? I woke up this morning feeling like a newborn kitten. I didn’t open my eyes completely until about 30 minutes into my morning routine, which right now has nothing routine about it. And once I heard the pouring rain outside my bedroom window, I wanted nothing more than to crawl back into bed, pull the blanket over my head and, as my mom calls sleeping past 7 a.m., “sleep the day away.”

Queen Underwood is the first American woman boxer to compete in the Olympics. Win or lose, that’s something special.

Once I could see well enough to read my email, I learned I would be heading back to the ExCel Center for the debut of women’s boxing at the summer Olympics. Today, at about 2:30 local time, Quanitta “Queen” Underwood competed in the lightweight division, making her the first American woman boxer to fight in an Olympic match.

Unfortunately, the match, and her Olympic career didn’t end as she planned. Underwood lost to Britian’s Natasha Jones in the round of 16. But her place in history is secure. Read my piece on the inaugural Olympic women’s boxing matches HERE.

After the match, I headed back to my condo, but not before realizing it was only 6:00 pm! Back at the condo, I finished up a piece on the football families traveling with their daughters/wives/girlfriends/sisters here at the Olympics and then – at the earliest time so far this Olympics: 8 p.m. — I was done for the day! (Only at the Olympics does a work day that ends at 8 p.m., on a Sunday, feel like a vacation. Also: It’s Sunday?)

The 100 meter finalists are a whole lot faster than my reaction time with the camera button. I missed the finish. But man, what a view!

So I headed to Olympic Stadium to meet up with my friend Denege and have a glass of wine before the women’s 400 meter final and the main event — the men’s 100 meter final. My absolute favorite event at the Olympics. (And about 2 million other folks who applied for tickets; 80,000 of whom scored them.)

For that event, I walked down to the press tribunes and scored a seat four rows up from the track, about 10 meters past the finish line. Not as great as my seats in 2008 and certainly not as much fun, since I was sitting next to a woman who didn’t speak English instead of my ESPN Mag colleagues, like I was in Beijing. But still. I was there.

The field of seven was perhaps the greatest, and fastest, ever assembled. Bolt wasn’t as dominant as he was in 2008, but ironically, he ran a faster time and set a new Olympic record of 9.63. Everyone else has just gotten faster, too, so the finishes are tighter.

This photo makes me happy. Finally, a night off for friend time! Lisa P on the left; Mikey E on the right. Friend sandwich!

After the race, I met up with my friend Mike, who I can’t believe I haven’t seen yet in London. He’s here shooting the Games for Getty — it’s his first Olympics and he’s so excited, which re-energized me, too! — and totally “got the shot” of the 100 meters. I can’t wait to see it posted somewhere. (Maybe in my living room.)

We met up with our friend Lisa and the three of us spent a good hour catching up as we snailed through people traffic toward the giganta-mall attached to the Olympic Village. We picked the restaurant with the shortest wait–Wahaca, which is Mexican for “serves beer and food.” Perfect!”–and I had my first sit-down dinner since Glasgow. Food somehow takes a backseat to just about everything at the Olympics. It was so nice to have an evening off to hang with friends, something I haven’t had the opportunity to do much of this time around.

Brits are pros at face painting. And silly outfit wearing. I think these two shop at Brian Wilson’s tailor.

After dinner, I hopped the DLR back to Stratford High Street and walked back to my flat. Now it’s 2 am and I’m off to dreamland.

Tomorrow, I sleep in!

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