So let me share with you one of my highlights since the Olympic Games 2008. Well, I was completely wiped out. I think over the next couple of weeks following the games was all about recovery...SLEEP! I didn't realize how physically and emotionally drained I was. However, I did muster up the energy to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW! I was invited to be a guest on Oprah! How many people want to just be member of the audience, much less are invited to be a guest on the show? Ok, ok, all the medalists of the Beijing Games were invited hehehehe. How much more exciting! Not everyone was able to attend but over 200 medalist were present. Hold on, I have to tell you about what I went through to make it there.
Chad was my Harpo contact, very sweet, and enthusiastic guy. He called to get my info to make the flight arrangement departing from Baton Rouge to Chicago. Actually, from New Orleans to Chicago as United Airlines was the sponsor but only had flights out of the Big Easy... Well, it just so happened that it was Hurricane season! So most of the flights were canceled and those that were not, I didn't want to chance driving into the storm.
Chad and his travel agent were great. They checked all the possibilities of connecting to nearby cities, even ones that would require a short drive. After all the flight options were exhausted to no avail, Chad asked, "How crazy are you"? I was like what do you mean? He went on to tell me the distance from Baton Rouge to Chicago. While I didn't want to miss my once in a life time opportunity to be on Oprah with all of the medalists, I too wondered how crazy I could be? My response, "It depends on how crazy my sister is feeling'"!
With Gustav, coming in, we decided to be "crazy" and head out! My mom, Stef and I jumped in to the 4runner and we were on the road! I drove over half the way there. The excitement of the adventure made the time pass fairly quickly. And so it did. Thirteen hours later we arrived the morning of the show with just enough time to shower and meet the athletes in the lobby.
Because this show was the premiere of the season and so many people wanted to attend, the taping was done at the park. We rode over on open top buses. There were people on the sidewalk waving, smiling, and jumping up and down with enthusiasm as some made their way to see the show. As we got off the buses we passed through a media area before being led to a breakfast buffet. It was like a social hour. All the athletes mingled and took pictures. Kim Glass and I took a moment to sneak off to the dressing room. Coincidentally Misty and Kerry had just finished getting their hair and makeup done which was perfect timing for us to get a quick fix me up.
Time for the big entrance.... Each sport was announced and we paraded through the crowd exchanging smiles and high fives, and proceeded to take our places on stage. Robyn and I went front and center standing right next to Oprah Winfrey! While the women's volleyball team wasn't interviewed directly, Tom Hoff spoke on behalf of both teams. After the show, we took a team picture with Oprah. She held my medal for the photo and I got a hug.
The adrenaline from the show had worn off. My mom, sister and I slept half the day away. The drive home was well, a very long drive home. But we all agreed that we would have done it again.