Most of the team was down at the marina on the morning of the ceremony finishing measurement or getting out for a quick sail. We were all told that we should catch the 4:00 p.m. ferry, at the latest, in order to be back at the village in time to eat dinner and get ready for the ceremonies. The entire US Olympic Team is staying on the same block in the village, so the plan was for everyone to meet on Main Street USA, right behind the sailing house, at 6:00 p.m. to catch buses to the stadium.
Finally the buses arrived and we were all taken to the gymnastics stadium where we would wait to march into the Super Dome. All the other teams were sitting in different sections doing their team chants or starting the wave. There was a large TV screen hanging from the ceiling so that we could watch the ceremony, but there was no sound. The teams were called out one by one, starting with Greece and then alphabetically with Australia last. A few hours after they started calling teams, the US team was called. We all lined up, girls first. The sailing team tried to stay together under Hal's [Haenel, the Team Leader] guidance, but it was difficult in the mass of bodies. It took another half-hour before we entered the stadium. When we walked in the crowd was roaring and all the athletes were so pumped up it was amazing. We all walked around the track and then onto the infield as the rest of the teams came in.
After the ceremony all the athletes started walking back to the village in mass. Every single one of us had to pass through one of about 10 medal detectors. We got back to the team house at about 1:00 am.
The Olympic regatta got underway two days later. Mistrals and Tornados and Solings were the classes to start on the first day. The wind was not very cooperative and both classes were postponed for a few hours. I spent the day watching the 49er practice race. I had a great view from Nielsen Park on the east side of the harbor about 20 feet above the water.
The Tornados finally completed the two scheduled races. US reps Johnny Lovell and Charlie Ogletree finished the day with an 8,6. In the Mistrals, Mike Gebhardt started off with a 2,22 and Lanee Butler had a DSQ and a 4. Lanee sailed well in the first race, but was later disqualified for tacking too close to Hong Kong. The Solings had only one race and the US team finished fourth. Down at the marina the Tornado sailing was live on television, complete with onboard cameras and GPS tracking. It was really exciting to watch on television even with the light air. When the wind finally shows up it should be spectacular.
The second day of the regatta was Day One for the 49ers and the wind was as light and shifty as it could be with wind shifts up to 180 degrees. The McKee's dealt well with the day and had a 6,3. The 49ers had full country flags on their spinnakers, but the ink on them was causing the spinnakers to rip more frequently, so theyre being replaced with new sails. In the Tornado, the US had a 5-8 to put them in sixth overall. The Austrians were winning after the day. Jeff Madrigali and his US Soling crew had a tough day and finished 14th. The team is in seventh and only has to finish among the top 12 to make the match-race finals. In the Mistrals, light wind only allowed for one race: Lanee finished in 12th to put her in 15th overall. She will move up once the throw-out is factored in after five races. Mike Gebhardt finished 10th to put him eighth after the day.
On Tuesday Paul and I had our practice race. We had a good start but didn't get far enough left on the first beat and rounded 10th. From there we ground back to about sixth.
The general attitude on the team is relaxed so far. There is a little bit of frustration at the lack of wind, but were all confident that we'll see some great breeze before the regatta is over. Paul and I start racing today. We're ready to go, so wish us luck.
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