August 4th, 2012

Letters From London: Inside The Village

Caroline Burckle

Staff Reporter

Letters From London: Inside The Village
photo from Caroline Burckle

Lasting impressions of the Olympic Village and the London Games

Good morning!

It’s my last entry while in London. This has been such an incredible experience on so many levels; it's hard to even put it into words. As if the trip couldn't have gotten any better, yesterday Clark got us guest passes into the Olympic Athlete Village, which are extremely hard to get. They only allot so many per country, and he knew how to work it to get all four of us—mom, dad, Collin, and I—into the village. Usually they just limit it to two tickets per person, but that's the business mind of Clark right there!

The security is very strong for access anywhere for the entire games, so you go through security checkpoints everywhere. Beijing security was very, very strong, so many of us unfortunately couldn't get anyone inside the village. As you can imagine, my family was stoked!

So after a long process to get inside and thru all checkpoints, we spent a majority of the day with Clark, walking around and touring the village. It was unreal. Absolutely breathtaking. I haven't seen anything quite like it. Every country has a massive high-rise building, and of course USA has about a dozen! Everything was so green, with bridges over little creeks and tall flag poles will every country's flag lining the walkways.

It almost felt like déjà vu for me, except better! Picture a small SIMS town. There is Everything you can imagine, shops, massive dining hall, international area with treats from every country, huge gyms and training facilities, stands for water, powerade and fresh fruit, raw nuts, etc. Best part about it was that I could finally spend some time with Clark. I also got to see some old coaches and fellow USA team members which made me feel happy and a part of something so special that we all share.

After this, we came back and went straight to the London Eye, followed by a pub with the whole Griswold extended clan. We watched swimming finals, and the final match of Wimbledon-- you can imagine how that was in a British pub! My parents were loving it, as they got to go to Wimbledon the day before and said it was a quite a sight. Absolutely stunning. I can't wait to go!

Well, we are headed back shortly, back to my Ville and my little pup, to Vint and Heine Brothers Coffee and my Hot Yoga.... My creature of habit ways.

Clark is staying over for another week, as most of the athletes stay through closing ceremonies. They are allowed to check out of village tonight after finals, so they can stay in a hotel and explore on their own now! What a trip.

Elated; exhausted; nostalgic; content; true happiness… are all of my feelings right now. Not sure how long it will take me to come down off of this one.... But it's not a bad thing to be hung up on.

Cheers! Back to America!


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