Now that I've recovered from the fun travels of a few days ago, I thought I would write about the Training Camp here in Birmingham. This training camp, or holding camp as they are sometimes called, was not mandatory for the athletes, so it appears that there is a little over half of the entire team here. That's still a pretty large group, probably around 70 total athletes covering all of the event disciplines: Sprints, Jumps, Throws, Multis, Distance and even Race Walks.
The hotel is certainly very nice. There are security guards to get into the hotel, to go onto the elevators, and in the elevator waiting area on each floor that US athletes are staying on. We were given credentials to show them, so they know we are allowed to come and go. There are practice times in the morning (9:30 departure and 10:30 departure) and afternoon (3:30 departure and 4:30 departure). Three meals a day are covered. We are even able to get into the movie theater for free with our credential. Needless to say, there's a lot more to do here than there was in Dalian, China.
Today, after lunch, the team captains and the US Track and Field nominee for flag bearer were chosen by all of the athletes who are here at the camp. After a vote, the Men's team captain is Angelo Taylor, a two time Gold Medalist in the 400 hurdles and a four time Olympian. The Women's team captain is Aretha Thurmond, a four time Olympian in the Discus and an incredibly outgoing person that everyone seems to love. The flag bearer voting was very interesting. I'm not sure if I am allowed to say who was chosen, or who was nominated, so I won't write anything about that here. I will say, that the people who are nominated and chosen often have incredible life stories of overcoming adversity and struggle. In 2008, the US flag bearer was a track athlete, Lopez Lomong, who had been a lost boy in Sudan and come over to the US. In this years group was an athlete who was adopted after setting his parents house on fire, an athlete who overcame Epileptic seizures as a child, an athlete who was injured in 2008 and the doctors had essentially given up on them, and an athlete who was shot in both legs in a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time and who was told they would never again be able to compete at this level ever again.
As usual, I wandered around a bit yesterday and I'll put up some pictures below. I also went to see the new Batman movie with Jeremy and a few of the others here.
We have had a few fairly easy days of training while recovering from the competition last weekend and the travel and will have our first hard session tomorrow. We head back to London on Thursday and the Opening Ceremonies take place on Friday, the 27th of July. That day is actually my birthday, and, ironically enough, is Amanda's birthday as well! It's certainly a small world.
Here's a video of some of the athletes at the practice track from a few days ago. Amanda is in here a few times:
This is adjacent to the hotel:
This building is directly across from the hotel:
Apparently the Jamaican team is here in Birmingham as well.
There are a series of canals that run through this portion of the city with restaurants and coffee shops lining them.
This is actually the grandstand on the backstretch of the track. A pretty impressive structure for a track facility
Lastly, the small crowd in the stands are reporters who are here covering Team USA.
That's all for now!