Saturday was one of the longest days I have had in London, but it may have been the most rewarding.
After committing a cardinal sin of journalism, mostly due to the delayed transportation through London, and missing an interview, I had to wander around the outside of the Olympic park for hours. While the Olympic park and the mall outside usually is fun, this time it was very early and I was tired and frankly somewhat bored. Eventually, I left to head to the train station and meet up with two other students to head to the USA BMX press conference at the Main Press Center.
What I didn’t know was this was going to become a day I would never forget. After getting quotes for my story at the press conference, we decided to take advantage of our day passes at the center. We wandered around the whole campus, eventually stumbling into every Olympic Committee’s office including the USOC. At the United States’ office, we were told of an upcoming Michael Phelps press conference that night. The USOC schedules press conferences last minute every day. Immediately, the reaction was to stay and attend.
We then headed to a Shooting press conference to help pass the time. We almost didn’t even make it on time, yet we were one of only a handful of press there for Jamie Grey’s gold medal press conference. Just to see her with her gold medal was incredible. The best part came moments later. After the press conference, she came down for one-on-one interviews, but all the press had left. Some of the media workers with the games began talking to her with us and asked to hold her medal. She obliged us, and I took pictures with a gold medal. It actually was very heavy and just incredible to hold something with such significance. I mean, how many people get to hold a gold medal?
Afterwards, we met up with Amanda Barren of WKYC (NBC) in Cleveland. The station did a story on the team and our trip to London. Be on the look out for the video.
The best may have come after. We headed up to the massive press conference room and reserved front row seats as we were told Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin were on there way. It was an experience of a lifetime. To see Michael Phelps following his final Olympic event ever was amazing. Then Missy Franklin was great, a 17-year old who took home five medals and numerous records. The coolest part of the press conference may have been that I asked the final question to Missy and didn’t slip up even being slightly nervous.
I didn’t even mention that following the Phelps press conference I was able to meet one of my journalistic heroes in ESPN’s Mike Wilbon.
What an absolute amazing day. Afterwards, I couldn’t even put it into words. So instead, I slept on the train, which got us back at 1:30 a.m. At that point though, I didn’t even care how tired I was. Saturday was a special day.