The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad, will take place in London, United Kingdom, from July 27 (when the opening ceremony is held) until 12 August 2012, During the course of the Games, Miami University's SCOTT USHER, assistant coach of the RedHawk men's swimming team and a former Olympian from the University of Wyoming, will be writing a blog that offers insight about the events that were the highlight of his career as well as personal commentary about the London Games themselves.
During his swimming career, Usher was a member of the U.S. National Team, competed in the 2004 Olympics, qualified for the World Championships four times between 2004-2007, earned a bronze medal at the 2005 Pan-Pacific Championships, and earned bronze at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.
The Olympic Village is the incredible home to all of the Olympic athletes during the games. I grew up in a small town of 50,000 and found that the Olympic village surpassed the size of my hometown. The moment that the bus arrived at the gates I knew that entering into the Village was going to be fun.
The bus drops the athletes off at the front gate of the Olympic Village and the moment you step off the bus you see a fence 20 feet high with razor wire at the top. There were armed guards littered all around the fence holding ak-47s and they didn't look like they were in the mood to mingle with the athletes. You proceed through what can best be described as airport security checkpoints to enter but once you are inside, the Village becomes an amazing oasis full of surprises.
Once I entered the Olympic Village my heart started to race. You look around and see everything Olympic themed; from flowers forming the Olympic rings, fountains that light up in the Olympic colors, to golf carts transformed into a country's flags and colors to cart athletes around the Village. It was the Olympic version of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.
The village was so large that buses were needed to transport us to our apartment. I found riding the bus also gave many opportunities to meet several huge stars that were in the village from other countries. We arrived at our 4-story apartment building that contained 16 suites with 4 bedrooms in each suite. My suite was shared with Erik Vendt, Lenny Krayzelburg, Michael Phelps and several other great individuals.
The place that had to be one of the most unique of them all was the dining hall. The front of the dining hall had the appearance of a large indoor football practice facility. You enter through the doors and are instantly in shock of the size. Imagine walking into a combination of 4 Sams Clubs and the whole place being setup with dining tables and different food stations. The best part, at the front entrance was our own personal McDonald's where you could biggie size anything you wish because it was all free! Our coaching staff quickly addressed the team and gave us the ultimatum that if they saw any of us approach McDonald's before we were finished with our competition that we would be in big trouble.
The village quickly became home to thousands of athletes for a month. There were many things you could do within the village to burn time like a water park, arcade and movie hall. These areas were not too crowded until later in the month when athletes were finished competing. The experiences that occurred there were culturally broadening and unforgettable.