BEIJING (Aug. 11) – Yesterday it rained almost all day here in Beijing. The weather matched the mood of our team and the other USA Volleyball teams here, as well as the entire USA delegation.
During Opening Ceremonies I marched around the track with Hugh and Marv Dunphy. We were soaking it in, enjoying the spectacle and joy of it all.
We kept an eye out for Elisabeth (affectionately known as Wiz) and her
parents, looking for a US flag in the lower bowl where Wiz had told Hugh they were seated. Near the end of the lap Hugh spotted them. I'll never forget the image of Wiz jumping up and down, waving the flag with a huge smile on her face, blowing kisses to Hugh. It was a moment of exhilaration she was sharing with Hugh, her parents by her side.
When we learned the next day that Todd Bachman, Elisabeth's father, had been killed, and that her mom, Barbara, was critically wounded, the image of Wiz in the stadium wouldn't leave my head. The contrast from one day to the next could not have been greater.
If you don't know Wiz I hope you get the chance to meet her someday. She is as good a person as people can be. I only met her parents a few times and they are the type of people you would expect Wiz's parents to
be – happy, loving, giving, good people.
We are encouraged by very recent news that Barbara is doing better in
the hospital. We continue to pray for her full recovery. If you were to
search for news articles about Todd Bachman you would know what kind of
a man he was and what kind of a family they are. The Bachmans are a huge part of their community in Minnesota.
Thank you all for your support and messages of encouragement.
*USA** 3 Venezuela 2*
The match yesterday was up and down for us. The boys started well and pretty much controlled the match for 2 and a half sets. Venezuela hung tough in the third, caught some breaks, and sent us into the 4th set. They are a physical and emotional team that can play great given some momentum. They got the momentum they needed in the 4th set and then all of a sudden we were going to 5. The 5th set is always a crap shoot — it can easily go either way. It was close just after we switched sides, then our boys made the plays they needed to put it out of reach.
We are preparing for Italy tomorrow. Italy is a very good team that, for the first time in at least the past 3 Olympic Games, is not feeling the pressure to win a gold medal. They have not been as good the past few years so they do not come in with high expectations. In Athens they lost the gold to Brazil. In Sydney they beat Argentina for the bronze medal, and in Atlanta they lost to Holland in the Gold Medal match.
*My first Olympics, by Scott Touzinsky:*
My Olympic experience has been one of the most memorable events in my
life. There is so much tradition that goes into the Olympics that I can't really be described into words. It starts at the Olympic village where the Chinese have gone into great detail on the buildings,
international zone, apartments and dining hall. The opening ceremony was an unbelievable event where we got to meet all the U.S. athletes,
President Bush and the First Lady. My favorite time so far is walking
through the hallway and getting announced into the stadium and walking
around the track for the opening ceremonies. Being announced as the
United States of America and being welcomes by over 100,000 people was
an incredible feeling. It ends by walking into the first match against
Venezuela and getting chills from the incredible reception of fans
before the match. Stepping onto the floor for my first match in the
Olympics was an awesome feeling and our team getting the win was a great end to the day.
Me and my teammates' prayers go out to the Bachman Family, Wiz and to our great coach Hugh for Todd and the healthy recovery of Barb.