1. Archive

England lives and learns as crew member at Olympics

Published Sep. 16, 2005

This is the second in a series of Olympic reports from New Port Richey-based gymnastics coach Dave England, who is working on the podium crew and is part of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) working staff.

Well, it's the day after the women's team finals and the USA is the best in the world. The best in the world!

I was there for the meet and what an emotional experience it was. There was Kerri Strug doing the final vault with her injured foot. She was able to land the vault, and when coach Bela Karolyi carried her out onto the floor for the awards ceremony, there wasn't a dry eye in the entire house. It was special.

The night before I saw the men's optional final and sat in the front row delegate area right in front of six U.S. men's coaches. The U.S. finished fifth, right where we expected them to.

I am amazed at countries such as Russia, the Ukraine and Romania. Their athletes train the day of a meet and they train relatively hard too. Perhaps we can learn from this. After all, they are consistently some of the best in the world.

River Ridge graduate Sean Peterson arrived a few days ago. We strolled around the Centennial Village last night.

Life in the dorm has leveled out now. We finally got our first change of sheets, but I was a victim of a crime. Innocently, I left my clothes unattended in the dryer one morning last week and returned 25 minutes later to find two of my Olympic uniform shirts stolen. Fortunately, I was wearing the third one issued. Well, after an incident report and a police report, I got the okay to have them replaced (but I had to buy it at $22). I guess you live and you learn.

One of our supervisors had bought a deck of Olympic cards and was getting athletes to sign the cards, one card, one signature. She had 38 cards signed when someone replaced her signed deck with a new deck. I guess she lives and learns too.

I saw some of the team handball. Now that's an interesting sport. It's sort of a mix between basketball and soccer. It is also a sport not just for the young at heart. I saw the game between Egypt and Croatia and a few of the Croatians looked like they were in their 40s. It just goes to show, you're as young as you feel. Right?

I'm going to try to see some track and field this weekend but the security is very tight. In fact, the venues I thought I would have access to have been closed off, except to paid ticket holders.

Security levels are dictated by country. Some are Code Red (like Middle Eastern countries and the USA), which means participants are escorted by U.S. marshals for any travel and live in a special section of the Olympic Village. There have been at least three bomb threats that I have known about. Why can't we all get along?