Yesterday we toured Athens, from the Acropolis to the track where stade races were contested in the Original Games. It was quite fascinating to walk through the track, into the stands, and read the information.
This track was also the finish line for the marathon in 2004 and the venue for archery - pretty cool. When you close your eyes and envision what has taken place under your feet, goosebumps! The tour covered most of the day. After we had an Opening Ceremony - they love ceremonies here!
This took place at a nice theatre. Due to rain it was moved there, rather than the original outdoor space - Hill of Pnyx, which I understand is a place of significance though I'm not completely sure why yet. Following this ceremony, we had a large dinner where all the delegates took part. It's quite amazing sharing a table with Iran, Egypt, Serbia, Sweden etc. This morning we left around 10 AM for Olympia. We were to leave at 8 AM, but there was a bus strike! We took the long route here stopping in Delphi, which was quite amazing. Another stade track is there much like in Athens, but not preserved. There is writing on the walls and elements of history that you can (but do not) literally touch. From Delphi we continued our drive to Olympia where we've settled in now. Tomorrow we have.... an Opening Ceremony on campus. We are literally on a small campus that is an off-site of the Peloponnisos University. We are quite isolated, but it is beautiful. Though we have an itinerary it is difficult to know what is ahead. I have an Israeli room mate now, very nice person.
I'm quite surprised that there are not as many athletes here (suspect some have not yet shared they are athletes or that they are retired). Many folks come from education, support services, communications. This is an asset in that the insite into what other countries are doing (keep in mind we have a spread from Haiti to Russia, Barbados to Australia), particularly in the structure of their Olympic committees.
Elise, Ohenewa and I are thoroughly enjoying ourselves; feeling very blessed that the COC selected us to take part in this privileged educational venture. We are also represented by Sarah-Eve who is a former synchro swimmer with
Elise, but is now a lawyer with the IOC based in Lausanne. She works on international broadcasting rights and is a seriously interesting resource. Canada is well represented! Though I am exhausted today, I am enjoying myself very much and making new friends each day. That happens when thrown into a 200-person party.
Time for bed. Thanks for checking in. J