For the past year or so, our team has been hearing the slogan for the Paralympic Games – “Amazing Awaits.” When we arrived in Beijing on August 1st, we quickly knew that amazing no longer awaits. Besides the hospitality from all the volunteers at the airport and here at the village, the food is great and all the people outside the village are very friendly. All the training and preparation for the past 4 years has finally brought us here.
This being my 2nd Games, I figured it would be much like Athens – I was wrong. I have been just as wide-eyed as my teammates who are here at their first Paralympic Games. Beijing is amazing. They have really set the bar high for the rest of the world.
We arrived at the village on Labor Day and we spent the day mostly exploring it. The next day was when we started business – but not before a few of us saw what was outside the village. We took a taxi to the Forbidden City. We mostly walked around taking pictures of the beautiful landscaping and decorations that surrounded us. We decided to save all the walking inside the Forbidden City until after competition since locals told us it takes about 3 hours to walk it completely. That night we had our first practice here in Beijing. Our head coach and team leader were in agreement that we had never had such a great first practice, especially for being off for nine days and being in a plane for 14 hours two days prior.
The next day was very similar for us. We took a taxi to the Silk Market, where we spent our morning bartering and getting some really good deals. We quickly realized that the Silk Market was more stressful than some of our matches. That night we had our second practice and it was as good as the first.
The following day we had a morning practice which started at 9am and then had the rest of the day off. I took full advantage of a full days rest since I had done so much walking the prior 2 days. I also full advantage of what the training room had to offer. George and all the trainers, doctors, and chiropractor have been taking such good care of us. They for sure deserve a gold medal as much as the athletes.
Today is our first practice at our competition venue so hopefully we will train good and train hard. We also have our Flag Raising Ceremony tonight. Opening Ceremonies are tomorrow night which is followed by an early match on Sunday against Lithuania. I will be sure to fill you in on all the updates.
I will leave you with a quote..."Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain"