Monday, August 11, 2008

Volleyball Event

We stepped on the bus. This time we needed Olympic #7 bus. And miracle of miracles, we all found a seat and were in 7th heaven. This bus wasn't crowded at all and thus, started our day wonderfully. I gotta tell you, the busses have been the bane of our existence. You'll just have to believe me.

Anyway, volleyball tickets in hand and one bus transfer later, we were standing in front of the volleyball venue, Capital Gymnasium. It was a great venue with about 10,000 seats. Security has been very tight with every venue and most tourist attractions checking bags and having us pass through security machines like at the airport. The upside was that we didn't have to take off our shoes! To top things off, we were all body searched with scanners and hands. My security person even put a hand in my pocket to check that the metal cylinder was just dental floss. We really don't mind the stepped up security. It really is for the spectator's benefit. They have uniformed volunteers everywhere and it is difficult to turn around and not see another at the ready to help and answer questions. For a minute we thought we were at Disney with all the "cattle" pens channeling us up and back as we snaked closer and closer to the ticket takers.

We ran into several USA women's Olympic Team members out front posing for pictures and signing autographs. We were unsure of who was actually playing. We had a 50% chance that USA's pool was playing. They were. We saw the USA women play Cuba. Well, the word play should be used loosely. They didn't play well at all. The first game was a blowout and the second game went down to the wire but serving was a disaster for the US. I realized missed serves still was a pet peeve of mine. You can take the coach out of vollyball but you can't take volleyball out of the coach. Cuba went on to cruise to a 3-0 victory. We cheered and whistled...but they must not have heard us or I just know we would have made all the difference. Then we watched the Russian Federation play Brazil. Again, the word play is in dispute. Brazil made Russia look terrible. The Brazilians had (as always) great fans in big numbers running around the inner concourse chanting and singing. Poor Russia had a lone young lady with a big flag trying to compete. I was secretly rooting for her.

I think everyone is impressed with the level of precision and organization with which Beijing is running these games (okay maybe not the buses all the time). They have plenty of security, information volunteers, and event helpers. Risk management is well-organized as is the actual game event. The scoreboards are well-synched and announcing is very good and in both English and Chinese.

To end, most of us went to dinner and Megan and Greg took off in search of Beach Volleyball tix and found some. The rolled in a bit ago and said they had a great time. Beach volleyball is always high energy and crazy.


Anonymous said...

I am really enjoying your blog! I have been watching as much of the Olympics as possible and last night it was so exciting to see Michael Phelps get his second gold medal in the men's 4 x 100 freestyle relay...and we got to see it live!!

It sounds like everything is working out nicely for you in spite of some rain and transportation hang-ups. Can't wait to hear more and see more pictures! It's nice to be able to live this through you.

Be safe!


Cliff said...

Good stuff Linda! I can't wait to hear stories when you get back. I'll be checking in more often. We'll have your stuff on this week.