McEachrane will submit updates to TulaneGreenWave.com periodically during her trip. Her first entry arrived on Friday, August 6th. Please check back regularly to get a firsthand account of the Olympics from Tulane's own swimming star.
Linda's Most Recent Entry
Saturday, Aug. 21th
Well there's a lot of news for the week.
First of all, Trinidad and Tobago got their first medal for the Athens Summer Olympics. George Bovell finished third in the men's 200 individual medley and made history for our country as he is the first swimmer from Trinidad to ever win a medal in the Olympics. Secondly I had my event this Wednesday. My time was not too impressive, however, the race itself felt smooth. I think I was just overly nervous before my race, especially when I was standing next to all the other athletes right before the race.
I still have not been to any other sports yet, but tonight, I'm supposed to go to watch some track and field events. Since we are not allowed to go to any other venues, we have to apply for tickets beforehand from the team manager; and the only way we can go is if the tickets for that event have not already been sold out. So we have to wait until the day before the event to apply for the ticket.
I finally saw a bit of Greece last night. All the Caribbean athletes who are here for swimming went to an area close to the Acropolis last night since we have all finished swimming, along with some other Caribbean track and field athletes. We were at a shopping area at the bottom of a hill and the Acropolis was at the top. However, it was so brightly lit that you could clearly see it from where we were. It was so nice and we are planning to go back this afternoon during the day to get a proper view of it.
Getting to the Acropolis was no problem since the transportation system from the village outwards is very simple to use. The buses drop you off at certain points, and there is a tram system and a metro system which you can take to travel which is free for athletes once they have their accreditation. So once you have a map, it's not really a problem. Plus even if you get lost, everyone says the best way to enjoy Greece is to go get lost... so it's a win-win situation.
Linda's Previous Entries
Saturday, Aug. 14th
As you know last night was the opening ceremonies which began here at about 9:00 p.m. All the people participating in the opening ceremonies had to meet buses waiting for the respective countries in the village at 7:00 p.m. After all the buses were loaded, we left for the ceremony with every two buses being escorted by a police car both in front and behind. On arriving at the opening ceremony, we were all moved into the gymnasium, seated according to order of appearance when marching in the stadium, and we waited until they were ready for us to walk onto the track. There we were, allowed to interact with people from other countries while we waited to march.
The ceremonies began while we were all in the gymnasium, and there was a small television screen near the ceiling where we all had to look at the introduction. After about an hour, the first 10 countries according to the Greek alphabet were called outside. But seeing as Trinidad is one of the last countries, we waited about four hours until we were called out. By that time it was about 11:30 p.m., and we were all getting really tired.
When we got on the track, however, everything changed! When you come in the stadium it is packed with millions of people shouting for you and waving at you and cameras flashing - man, what a rush! The rest of the opening was a real experience. Something never to forget!
The only problem with it was after it was finished, there was a mad rush for the buses and people were pushing, but the buses were not there - they came late and we ended up waiting another hour to get on a bus.
We ended up at the village at 2:30 a.m., and then went straight to sleep. Swimming starts today along with basketball, volleyball, badminton and rowing, so hopefully we can get some tickets to the other venues to watch. But for now, I'm going to watch some swimming and train. I'll keep in touch.
Friday, Aug. 13th
The opening ceremonies are in a few hours and most of the teams are getting ready to march. Each country has a specific time to get ready for in the order of appearance on the track. The teams will be marching out in the order according to their name in the Greek alphabet.
The security has definitely gotten a lot higher. Before, there were mostly volunteers looking at people's accreditation at the entrances and exits. But now, there are actual security guards scanning the accreditation in addition to a metal detector for every time we leave the village and come back in.
For the opening ceremonies, we are not allowed to take any sort of cameras while we are marching for security reasons. There are helicopters and blimps overhead all day ... there is also a military base located right behind the village that I didn't know about until today.
Lots of the more popular people are beginning to arrive. I've seen Maurice Greene, Venus Williams, Gustavo Keurten, Yao Ming, the whole U.S. men's basketball team, Michael Phelps and many others.
Well, we have about 45 minutes before the opening ceremonies so I have to get ready, but I will write to you all again tomorrow morning. The ceremonies are expected to finish around 1 am in Greece so it's going to be a very long and very memorable night.
Monday, Aug. 9th
Well, yesterday we saw the competition pool for the first time. It's about a half hour ride from the village, right next to the pool for water polo and diving, and another for syncronised swimming. The gymnasium is right next to it. We are not allowed to go in the other venues for the other sports unless we have tickets, so we won't be able to go unless one of our managers gets some for us.
Most of the teams are beginning to arrive and the village is starting to get more crowded. The security is no where near as high as we thought it would be, although its hard to get by without at least one security check.
Today was our flag raising ceremony. It was just a small gathering for the country where an official from the IOC says a welcome to the country, plays their anthem, and raises the flag with a small cultural display after. That's probably the last get together for the country before the opening ceremonies.
- Linda McEachrane
Friday, August 6th
"I'm in Greece right now I came in at 6:30 p.m. Greece time yesterday. It was a long, long flight. I think it took 10 or more hours to get to England and the flight came in late; it was bumpy the whole way through. It took another 3 hours to get to Athens. As soon as we got to the airport, the Olympic delegates were sent in a separate line from everyone else and we got through really quickly. Accreditation was about 2 minutes, I've never gotten it so quickly. The village is okay. Lots of walking to do but there are buses to take us around, and it's hot - similar to home so I'm accustomed to it. I haven't seen the pool as yet but there is a pool here that we will train in for a few days. The village is still relatively empty but I think most people will be getting in within the next few days."
- Linda McEachrane