Paralympic Athlete Diary – Opening Ceremonies

G'Day!
actually, W'Day! It threatened rain all day
yesterday. While waiting for Opening Ceremonies (O.C.)
we were rained on. Fortunately they let us wear our
rain outfit. We still had to wear the sweater and vest
of the parade outfit, but we were spared the
embarrassment of wearing tennis shoes with dress
slacks. Also, the weather is quite cold and they
weren't going to let us bring jackets with the parade
uniform. So despite the weather, we were happy with
the resulting uniform.
The rain waited until we were nearing the Village
after the close of O.C. All in all, SPOC (Sydney
Paralympic Organizing Committee) did a great job in
gettting us to and from O.C. We were bussed over about
2 hours before marching in. They got us lined up and
then we WAITED. Finally at 9 or so we marched in.
(Before I talk about the O.C., I'll mention getting
home.) When the O.C. was over, we filed out through
the stadium tunnels. The US swimmers opted to walk
home rather than struggle for a bus. Not too far a
walk, but we have to go through metal detectors and
the bags through X-Ray machines before gettting back
into the village. EVen after workout this bogs down
and can be a five minute wait. Now imagine 6000 people
trying to get in. We were stopped at several check
points by the police. They filtered the crowds so that
only a few hundred approached each check point at a
time. Worked very well. I was back in the Village only
a 45 minutes after leaving the stadium. I was showered
and in bed by 1 am!!! (only to get up at 7:30 for
workout this morning – well , laundry, computer, and
workout)
What a stadium! VEry impressive. REally quite a
beautiful structure. I hope my pictures come out. The
seats were not sold out, but there were at least 80000
in attendance. Great welcome. Barcelona will always
stand out for me (being the first Games) but this was
impressive.
They put on a great show of Aussie musicians, giant
balloons, kids dancing, etc. The kids were also
painting a giant mosaic in the center field. Every so
often they would show an overhead shot. The mosaic
would be a map of Oz, an Aboriginal design, etc.
Pretty cool.
Great fireworks capped the whole thing. Oh, and of
course the lightning of the cauldron.
WEll, folks are waiting and I've gone over my 20
minutes. I'll catch up with you later.
Swim competition starts tomorrow!!! I've heard that
I'll be on the two relays.

Til later!!!

-Karen

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Author: Archive Team

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