Heather Bown Blog for Aug. 7

Aug. 07, 2008, 11:06 a.m. (ET)

Well here I am sitting in my room in the Olympic village on the eve of the 29th Olympiad here in Beijing, China. Opening ceremonies are tomorrow evening for us around 8 p.m. local time…and let me tell you… there is definite movement in the village as teams are finally arriving and everyone is getting settled in.

I ran into an old college friend that is playing on the New Zealand Basketball team in the general store the other morning on my way to catch the bus to practice, and she was telling me about the welcoming Haka (warrior dance) that the new Zealanders are doing for their arriving athletes.

It’s so fun to hear about the different countries and their traditions here at the games. You can walk around the village and see all the different countries and their flags or banners identifying that they are present at the games. It’s so neat to run into people I have met from competing overseas or in previous Olympic Games. Somewhat like a reunion of sorts.

However, one thing is clear… everyone is ready for the games to start. It’s usually the first if not the second question in every conversation that you have with someone…"so when do you start?" All of the athletes are ready to get this thing started and have some fun in their area of expertise. I have a feeling the hustle and bustle of the village will calm down a bit as athletes and coaches get settled into the routine of the games.

It’s just so exciting…even just typing and thinking back on my past two games experiences it makes me smile with delight at what is about to start. We have the excitement of the Opening Ceremonies… which by the way they have been doing trial runs and the fireworks sound amazing. It's kinda funny we were in a welcoming/orientation meeting and it was our Head of Security’s turn to introduce himself and give us a brief on what to expect, and the fireworks started going off.

Of course everyone jumped out of their seats and he was like no need to be alarmed. It was quite funny everyone in the room kind of relaxed a bit after that.

But all in all the energy in the U.S. delegation has been awesome. Nightly, athletes meet up in the service center downstairs and chat and laugh together. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of. The village is definitely one of the best parts of the games themselves. Seeing all of the nations interacting, no matter where you are from, there are no lines or barriers here. Everyone is here to enjoy the talents and hard work that has gotten them to this platform.

The world is waiting for the amazing moments that will be coming for everyone to see in the next two weeks. And I can’t wait to be a part of them. I look forward to sharing as much of it as I can with you so I hope to give you a little bit of the amazing experience that is the Olympic Games.

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