Postcards from Athens: August 13

Former Yale track star Kate O'Neill '03 is one of 11 Bulldogs in Athens for the 2004 Olympics. O'Neill will compete in the 10K on August 27, and is keeping an on-line journal for to document her experience. August 13

The Opening Ceremony finally arrived! I have been dreaming about this experience for years. The Ceremony began at 8pm, but the US team assembled at 5pm. We all took pictures together for a while and then we took a bus over to the stadium. The athletes from all of the countries waited in the gymnastics stadium until their country's turn to march. While we waited, we could watch the show on a large TV screen. After we were called to march, we lined up in rows of eight and started walking to the outdoor stadium. The walk to the stadium took a long time, but thousands of people were standing on the streets waving and cheering. When we neared the entrance to the stadium, I could see a constant barrage of flashes from cameras. When we finally entered the stadium, we began our lap around the track. After the lap was over, we stood in the center as the rest of the nations joined us. People from other nations traded pins while we waited. I have quite a collection of pins now! I am sure that the Ceremony looked amazing on television, but standing right in the stadium was even better. I did not think that I could be any more excited to be here than I already was, but I was wrong! This experience added even more excitement.

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