Postcards from Athens: August 28

Former Yale track star Kate O'Neill '03 was one of 11 Bulldogs in Athens for the 2004 Olympics. O'Neill competed in the 10K on August 27, and kept an on-line journal for to document her experience. August 28 My race was last night and my legs are quite tired today! I finished 21st, but I am truly pleased with the result. I was honored to be standing on the start line with so many of my role models. I have looked up to Lornah Kiplagat, Paula Radcliffe, Sally Barsosio, and Derart Tulu for years. I still cannot quite believe that I was in a race with them! I have never been so excited for a race in my life. Walking into the beautiful stadium and seeing the huge crowd gave me a surge of energy. To add more excitement, the medal ceremony for the men's 200 meter was right before the start of our race. I had the chance to hear the national anthem and see three American flags as we did our final pre-race preparations. The race was definitely the hardest one that I have ever run. I had hoped to place a little higher, but I knew that I was racing the best women in the world. I left the track with no regrets - I gave 100% and I definitely had no energy left by the time it was over. I learned a lot during the race. I plan to be back in four years and hopefully 100% will bring me better results. Today I got to do a little sight seeing. We saw the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Theatre of Dionysus, the Temple of Zeus, and Parliament. We ended the day at the track for the final day of competition. The last two races were the men's and women's 4x400 meter relays. The US won both! It was a great way to end the day! The only event left is the men's marathon. That will take place tomorrow, right before the Closing Ceremonies. I am planning to watch the marathon and then march in the Closing Ceremonies with the rest of the athletes. I feel so lucky to have been a part of this Olympics. I could not have made it here without the support of the Yale track and field coaches, my teammates, the Athletic department, the Development office, and all of the wonderful friends that I have made at Yale over the past five years. Thank you everyone!