Saturday, August 9, 2008

Guest Blog: Guzan Talks Opening Ceremonies

USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan shares his experience of the Opening Ceremonies... Below is his account:

We hopped on a police-escorted bus for the trip to Beijing from Tianjin, and we joined up with all the US athletes at the USA House in the Village and took a bus over to the fencing arena.

Our outfits were interesting. Obviously they were professional looking, they were just a little warm for the weather. But, the U.S. definitely looked professional and that’s what they were going for. From our squad I’m going to have to say that that Charlie Davies looked the worst in the hat, but that’s only because he thought he looked the best.

Then we got to meet President Bush. I had never met him before but apparently Stuart is best friends with him. He walked down and took a group photo and met with all the athletes, which was pretty cool. He got to our team and Peter introduced him first to Brian and then to some of the other guys. He got to Stuart and President Bush did kind of a double-take and said “we’ve met before!” Oh, sorry Stu. I didn’t know you and the President were so close!

We started walking and we had all of the athletes from all of the countries sitting in the gymnastics arena across the street from the Birds Nest. Then they called us down as a country and we walked around this path that they had barricaded off to make our way over to the stadium. As we were going into the Birds Nest there was the tunnel and it was just filled with athletes from the country before us, some volunteers and workers and fans.

I looked up and saw that light at the end of the tunnel that opening into the stadium. There were so many people there and we could just hear them cheering. As we were going through, we all started chanting U-S-A, and it just gave me goosebumps. Seeing our flag bearer and our flag, and then seeing everyone from the U.S., just entering the stadium was a moment that I’ll never forget.

It was unreal. Being able to go into that stadium and as we started to walk in, the people who could see into the tunnel were chanting “U-S-A” with us. Once we got out there it was just a sea of people. I couldn’t even tell how big the stadium is or even see individual faces.

The basketball guys were getting a lot of attention from our party, but once we got into the infield, Roger Federer there surrounded by a wall of other Swiss athletes, so I think he was one of the biggest international figures there. Then there’s Kobe Bryant and Yao Ming, who was of course a popular figure as well. And yes, he really is as tall as he looks on TV, without a doubt. He was, of course, the flag bearer for China and when he walked in the whole place went crazy. You can definitely pick him out – he was a few heads above the rest.

I have to give a shout out here to Brian McBride. As we were standing in the infield and the torch was running around the track, we could see the last guy that was going to get the torch and about 30 seconds before he got it, Brian said ‘is he wearing a harness?’ I couldn’t see that far – it was at the other end of the stadium! All of the sudden we see him get hoisted up there. I have no idea how he saw that. But it was really cool to be able to see the whole thing and from what I’ve been told (from assistant coach Tim Mulqueen, whose wife gave a full report from the Today Show), is that he had never rehearsed that part. That was his first time doing it. To see him running and with the pictures behind him of everywhere the torch has been was amazing. Then the actual lighting of the torch just gave us more goose bumps. Obviously for us, the whole thing started the day before, but that was the official start of the Games and to be there for that moment was pretty cool.

It was a long day, but I think we’ll all look back at it and be grateful for the opportunity to be there and experience that. Obviously now we turn our full attention to our big game tomorrow against the Netherlands.

1 comment:

shannon said...

hey did brad bring his camera and if he did is there any way of some of that film being put on the site, it would something else to watch