Well, this is it. The time has come and as we get ourselves all geared up to leave on Sat there is such a mixture of emotions. The rest of our team flew in yesterday and we processed and got the coolest USA gear EVER. We went from station to station getting our opening and closing ceremony Ralph Lauren uniforms, our podium wear, various workout tops and bottoms, 4 pairs of shoes, sweat pants, rings, luggage, and it kept coming and coming. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. As I came back to my room and laid it all out on my bed I guess you could say it all started to sink in a bit. Then we went to the pool and got all of our Speedo swimsuits and parkas and even more clothes. I’m pretty sure at this point I could be set for a long while wearing only the new clothes that we got. It’s pretty cool.
At the pool yesterday we had to try on our new suits to get them altered as they have to take off the left leg of my suit and sew it up. We were lucky enough to each get the new Speedo suit called the LZR. If you watched any of the swimming these are what most of the swimmers were wearing. It took me a solid 25 min. to get into it and at one point I had 2 people helping me. It was so difficult to get on and once it was on, I can’t say it was easy to breathe…but if it makes me go faster I’ll take the extra time to get it on right. It was pretty funny as I was all red faced and sweaty by the time I got it on. I think that could have been my workout for the day.
Today we had a bunch of meetings all about Beijing and media and other topics. There were a number of speakers that spoke to the fact about how honored we should all be to be representing the USA. It started to sink in a little more at this point. I think all along it’s going to sink in more and more and then once we are in Beijing it’s just going to hit me. I still don’t think I’ve grasped the magnitude of what my teammates and I are about to go do. When I think about it it seems as though I’m thinking of someone else. Then I have to pinch myself and realize that I too, am part of Team USA. How cool is that.
So we leave on Sat for Okinawa, Japan and the Kadena Air Force base. We will be there for about 10 days and on Sep. 2nd we will fly into Beijing. Opening ceremonies are Sep. 6th and my first day of competition is the 7th. Since my first day of competition is the first day I am really torn on whether to go to opening ceremonies or not. I feel like I can’t go to the Paralympics and not go to the opening ceremonies. I can only imagine that walking into the stadium as one USA team wearing the red, white and blue has got to be an amazing, pride filled, unforgettable experience. I have been told by many that it is a highlight not to be missed. On the other hand, I don’t want to jeopardize my race the next day. It will be a big decision for me and I’ll have to wait and see what I feel at the moment.
This is my last blog that will be posted on this site. If you want to continue to follow my time in Japan and on to Beijing I have a personal blog at melissastockwell.blogspot.com
I hope you have enjoyed reading my blogs to this point. I urge you all to go to paralympicsport.tv
and watch some of the sports that will take place and hear some of the athletes’ stories. You can also go to www.usparalympics.org
to get daily updates and results.