I’ve been in Korea for three sleeps now (the easiest way to count after traveling an entire day that included a 15 hour nonstop flight from Detroit to Seoul), and to say I am whelmed would be an understatement. This is my first time in Asia, and my first time to the Olympics, so between the two of those there is a more or less non-stop stream of brightly colored, exciting, and foreign things.
Upon landing in Seoul I was immediately greeted by two United States Olympic Committee individuals who assisted me with my bags and figuring out exactly which characters meant “over-size luggage.” The USOC workers were also a bit overwhelmed as snowboarding star Chloe Kim had arrived just before I had, and getting her to the shuttle bus while avoiding the media was apparently quite difficult. Also of note, the comedian Michael B. Jordan and actress Lupito Nyong’O arrived around the same time, but didn’t get nearly as much press attention as Chloe!
From the airport we took a quick 15 minute shuttle to the Nest Hotel, which is where Team USA is doing Olympic processing. This included an hour long presentation by Noelle Pikus-Pace (silver medal 2014 skeleton, she was one of my favorite Olympic moments from 2014!), and then what can only be described as Christmas in February.
The US Olympic Team is well taken care of. Team Processing was essentially an hour and a half of trying on clothes. My first stop was Ralph Lauren, where I nervously awaited what I thought would be a horrendous attempt at fitting into jeans (jean shopping is about my worst nightmare). Little did I know they had a seamstress on site, so after pulling on a pair she just bustled right over and got them fitting perfectly in no time. I tried on both the opening and closing ceremony outfits, which both include a HEATED jacket. There are very specific rules on how you are to wear the clothing (jeans rolled once, not twice), but I think it will be an amazing experience to walk as one Team USA into the opening ceremonies.
Next stop was the one-footed pajama (or all day wear) station, where NBC filmed me taking on and off the Team USA footie-hoodie. I then got to film a brief shout-out to my parents for the Today show (my dream is to meet Savannah Guthrie), and was off to the US Anti-Doping station. I recently was put on the random testing schedule, and while at home had a drop-in test. A miscommunication with my mom regarding who the individual idling and waiting for me in the driveway led to a police call, but I’m happy to report everything was resolved and I provided a clean, drug free sample
The #MyMoment campaign is a social media effort by USADA to call attention to those athletes who have had their podium moments taken from them by convicted dopers. Compete clean people!
After that I headed over to Nike. I received a full duffle bag worth of shoes,coats, pants, and more shirts than I knew I needed. Nike is in charge of the Medal and Media wear for the games, and no detail was left unnoticed. We have a little walk from our village housing to the shuttles, and Nike kindly gave us a balaclava. I scoffed at the idea of wearing it until I realized the windchill was -22 Fahrenheit.
I stopped by Oakley, did a quick social media interview with NBC, received a bag of toiletries from P & G, and finally got my Olympic ring fitted. I left with sore hip flexors from trying on so many pairs of pants, two full duffle bags of clothes, and more USA pride than I thought my soul could handle. Turns out the amount of USA pride I can handle is infinite.
And that was just the first day! I had a very good and deep sleep that evening, and the next morning hopped on a three hour bus ride to the athlete village. For the sake of not taking up half an hour of your day I’ll leave it there, but check back in the next couple of days for more pictures and a peek into a day in the life of an athlete in the Olympic Village!
Checking out the Olympic Venue with two-time Olympian Noah Hoffman. He has been doing daily Olympic updates, so be sure to check that out!