Aug. 9, 2013
I know I speak for our entire team when I say "let's get this meet started!" It’s been a great camp in Austria and an even better week of getting ready here in Moscow but we are like stallions in the barn, aching to burst out.
We flew by charter on Monday and after a long day of travel got into Moscow in the evening. We got a general lay of the land on Tuesday and have been getting ready for the meet to start since. My days on Tuesday through Thursday were all about the same: head to the Olympic Stadium and practice track early (between 8 and 9) and help out the waves of endurance athletes with fine-tuning workouts as they get there until about 5 PM. I've had a blast helping time everyone from our 800 guys to our 50k racewalker (the story of our epic 40 km workout in Linz - him walking and me on a bike - will go down in my all-time annals of post-workout soreness). Today we wrapped up with a walk-through at the stadium and a bus tour of the marathon course.
Tomorrow it all gets started - my role is basically to make sure that guys without a personal coach have everything they need and take care of everything I can for them on race day; I have obviously also helped our guys with their own coaches get settled in and made sure they have everything they need.
It’s a fantastic group of unbelievable young men; everyday I am around them, I am more and more impressed. With that said, I am also excited to see how well our own cadet-athletes stack up against even these guys - the finest professional athletes in the world - in terms of their motivation and discipline. It has made me respect and love my own team even more!
I can't seem to stay away from Army moments either. Our 50k walker is SSGT John Nunn of the Army World Class Athlete Program. I have known John for several years (he was with me at the 2011 Pan Am Games) and he has always impressed me; he is committed soldier who raises an 11 year old daughter on his own. He is a popular team member as well because he and his daughter have a famous business called Ella's Cookies and he has fed the whole team.
Today, during a brief by the State Department on safety concerns in Moscow, the agent implored the group not to go out without their "battle buddy" - the entire group (but John and I) burst into laughter at the term. John and I walked out of the meeting, immediately looked at each other and literally said simultaneously "I didn't get the joke".
From here on out I will have more results and hopefully stories of many medal-winning performances. I predict quite a bit of hardware coming home with this team.
Until next time…