Heather Bown Blog for Aug. 24, 2008

Aug. 25, 2008, 3:05 a.m. (ET)

Well, its a wrap here in Beijing... it has been an unbelievable ride and I am really happy to have some hardware to go home with.

My Dad's first question to me was "is it heavy?" and you know what... it has the weight of eight long hard years with this team. However, I would not change a single day with these girls and this program. I have grown to see a group of wonderful athletes flourish under pressure and have had the privilege to stand on an Olympic stage with them three times...an honor that not alot of women get to do in our sport.

It's been so much fun here in Beijing. From opening ceremonies to riding bikes, to decorating our apartment...which now is in total chaos...six girls trying to pack is no fun to experience... and the amount of jerseys and posters and things to sign...its unbelievable how we are getting all this stuff home.

In the end my time here in China has been worth every complaint I have ever made in all the long hours in the gym or the miserable schedules we have had on some of our trips...or the places we travel to for that matter. I'll tell you some of our hotels...oh boy.

And right now the men are playing Brazil for this shot at the Gold and I am torn between writing this and watching the game. It's been an amazing tournament for our entire program. The beach teams have done amazing and both of our indoor teams have been performing so well. It's been so fun to sit and hang out with the guys (they lived on the floor under us). We tried so hard last night not to make too much noise cuz they had their game this morning.

We did end up going to the baseball team's floor and hanging out with them a bit. They had a little get together in their room with all of their players. As you can imagine 24 athletes plus rowers and some other countries did not make for quiet hours, but I don't think there was much to be quiet about. So I talked to them for a while then came back to my room to go to bed, which didn't happen.

We had a gold medalist visitor in our room. So I caught up with a fellow Hawaii girl for a few hours and then missed the bus to the Great Wall...(sorry mom) going to bed when the sun comes up does not make for a good tourist trip. But it's ok I had the opportunity to see the Wall in 1996 when I was here and I am gonna go out on a limb and say it hasn't changed much. :)

But today will be a fun-filled day. we have a reception at the USA house for both the Men and the Women's players. And then its off to water polo finals to support our boys later today before closing ceremonies at 7 p.m.

It's crazy to think that these games are already over. Another four years to wait. The USOC uses the saying its not every four years its everyday. And I have to say for us athletes its true, however for everyone that supports and watches us its every 4 years that all of our hard work is brought to the light of day and we get the loving emails and notes and texts about how much everyone loves us and how the enjoy watching us play. And for me, that makes all the sacrifices that we endure worth it.

So thank you so much for believing in us as individuals and as a team, because in your own way, you gave us the energy to go out there and play day after day. We play for you... all of you that love the sport of volleyball.