About BTiell Sports Reports

Dr. Bonnie Tiell writes a monthly column for the Tiffin Advertiser Tribune Sports Department (http://www.advertiser-tribune.com/). This blog archives each column and dates back to the 2008 Olympic Academic Experience in Beijing, China. Check out the Blog Archives to read more. Check out info about the TU Olympic Academic Experience at http://www.tuolympics.blogspot.com/ and contact Dr. Tiell at btiell@tiffin.edu

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Aug 13, 2008 Tickets in hand, TU group gets to mingle

Many things have been a challenge here in China, where the host city for the 2008 Summer Olympics has more than the population of the past four host cities - Athens, Sydney, Atlanta and Barcelona - combined. The Olympic events are in full swing and it's easy to become immersed in the excitement of national pride, elite international competition and medal counts.

Beijing has done an amazing job with the courtesy of their volunteers and with the aesthetics of their competition venues, especially in the main center of the Olympic Green. The Tiffin University Olympic Academic Experience has hit new levels as students are finally flowing from event to event, relishing the sights and sounds of the 2008 Olympics.

Between Cosport and the USOC, there are plenty of tickets and great seats available to many events. Venues are so empty at times that it is shameful to think about the sell-out scare. We were put on a very elitist list for the USOC. Dr. Mackey and I skipped the panda bears at the zoo to do business right out of their tiny office in an obscure apartment just west of the Olympic Village. It took three hours to navigate

Beijing's public transportation to finally find the USOC operations. We call the ticket office the USOC War Room. On the wall is a handmade poster of the medal counts between USA and China with yellow sticky notes that are replaced every time there is a new medal for either country awarded. The main room of the apartment has 8-foot folding tables and chairs with computers and stacks upon stacks of tickets. One computer controls the Excel file of inventory and someone always sleeps in the apartment with the precious supply of tickets.

The USOC managed to supply three coveted tickets to the Water Cube for an evening event last night. The Cube is the most amazing architectural facility ever. Yes, the walls really feel like plastic bubble wrap and it really does glow bright blue at night. It is gorgeous inside and out. No, Michael Phelps didn't swim, but we did see USA's men break the world record in the 4x200 meter and one of the tickets was on the fourth row next to Jason Lezak's family.

At the USA men's basketball game last night, one of our students (Randy Tate from Tennessee) spent a lot of time sending text messages back and forth to Candace Parker who was sitting in the stands with some of the women's players. (Randy was one of Pat Summitt's practice players for several years). Candace is going to try to hook up Randy with a few more USA vs. SPAIN tickets - the last Olympic event we will see before flying back to the states. Several students also will be in the Bird's Nest that night watching the semifinals of the men's 100.

At USA vs. Venezuela softball, I sat next to Jenny Finch's brother and sister-in-law and talked at length with the parents of Kelly Kretchman. Almost immediately, some of Cat Osterman's family recognized their American friends from the 2004 Athens Games and were amazed at seeing the changes in Kimmy from her first to her second Olympics. Osterman's brothers and a few others are going to join us tomorrow afternoon when we hit the natural hot springs to get massages. Funny, in their English interpretations, a downtown business advertised as being a "Beijing Message Parlor."

Cat's brother pulled Kimmy inside with the players after the game for a few photos. Cat talked about their meeting with President Bush at the Opening Ceremonies. Both are from Texas, so she put up a cool shot of the two sporting hook 'em horns hand signals on her homepage.

President Bush and the men's basketball team were at an earlier USA game, and Kobe was in the stands for Misty May at the Beach Volleyball venues. I sat with the team leader for USA Women's basketball at the Cube, and she described the backstage prep area at the Opening Ceremonies where President Bush met with each and every USA Olympic team and how the NBA players were extremely friendly to their fellow Olympians decked out in Ralph Lauren.
The madness of the Olympics is alive and well for the TU group here on their final leg of their Beijing trip. Stay tuned for a wrap up article in a few days about the amazement of the 2008 Olympic Games - live from Beijing.

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