As soon as I landed in London, everything felt different. The excitement in the air was unmistakable and the energy undeniable. When we got off the plane, there was someone there waiting for us with a welcome sign. It took us an hour to get to the Olympic village, and with all the security in place, I felt like I was going to the White House!
After several thorough security points, I was finally inside the village. There was a truck in front of the building we are staying at that had all of the USA apparel bags and the ceremony outfits by Ralph Lauren. I went into my room for the first time and I felt as though I was back in college in my dorm room. My roommates are six of the USA distance runners. I unpacked, got settled and walked over to the dining hall. I had the chance to see some of the athletes I've seen on TV and noticed that some wore different country uniforms even though they live in the States. I received so much Nike and Ralph Lauren gear that my dad will definitely need to take some back with him when he heads home.
The next day, I was up bright and early -- actually too early, since my alarm was still set on Monaco time, so I was at breakfast at 7 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. LOL! I headed out to the track and had a great workout all around. I headed back to the village and heard everyone talking about their outfits for the opening ceremony, but I didn't have mine yet, so I wondered. As the day went by, I was losing my excitement for the ceremony because my clothes had not arrived. I felt like a kid waiting for ice cream who was never going to get hers. I was starting to feel really down.
But finally, at 8 p.m., my clothes arrived, and I jumped in the shower and got dressed. I was outside at 9 p.m. with everyone taking pictures. It was so exciting, and then it all hit me. We were going to be standing for four hours, so I temporarily lost my smile. But once we started walking and cracking jokes, the time went by so fast. I had a great time.
As we hit the corner to walk in the stadium, I saw the lights, heard the crowd's roar and felt the energy. I got so excited I felt I might cry. It was an emotional moment in so many ways. This is my first Olympic team. I did it. I am a Olympian. I made my dream come true, and this is only the beginning. Walking back to the room was more like a run because it was 1 a.m. and I was exhausted. As soon as I got back, I went to sleep. When I woke up, I had the biggest smile on my face, because I was really able to enjoy the moment or, as my agent says, "smell the roses."