Treacy Family News

Carolyn's Dispatches - In her own words

(I'll paste in notes from Cair as she creates them)

Closing Ceremonies and Random Thoughts - Feb. 27


I have to apologize now for any incoherence there's been/will be in these last few updates. Since the last race I have not slept much because I was running around with friends trying to see everything in the last 3 days of the Games, and traveling back and forth from Torino really eats up time. For example, last night some teammates and I wanted to leave Torino on the 1:30am bus from the Olympic Village. The organizers had put on a big party there last night, so naturally we had to take that in as part of the experience. We walked to the bus stop. And at 2:00am we were still shivering outside waiting for the bus. It took a while to figure out that the buses had randomly changed their departure sight without posting the change. Finally at 3:00am we were on a bus and ready for the two hour trip home to the Bardonecchia Village.

The party atmosphere at the Village had already started before the Ceremonies. As all the teams were gathered in the staging area before walking in we were given clown noses that lit up to wear into the stadium, as we were supposed to play a part in this carnival/opera ceremonies. People had fun playing with the noses before marching, but I don't think many actually donned them for the show--doing so would interfere with camera shots.

It was special to be able to walk in with all the countries together in no particular order; I had a nice parley with some French friends as we moved into the stadium.

Hopefully you all had a chance to see the ceremonies, and I hope to see the TV version at some point. We were sitting behind the stage area under the torch, so we couldn't see much, considering we didn't pay for tickets this is as it should be. Several TV crews were sitting with us to interview the top athletes, and they also came down on the stage with us at the end.

The end of the Ceremonies came quite unexpectedly when all of a sudden the volunteers were motioning frantically for us to get out of our seats and on stage. Because we biathletes were sitting in the lower rows, and because of our impeccable obedience, we quickly scampered down the little runway.

Somehow, entering the stage then was almost better then marching into either of the Ceremonies. All of the performers quickly surrounded us with smiling faces and high-fives, and soon the five of us found ourselves in the middle of the big stage surrounded by brides, mega playing cards, and soldiers. I felt like Alice in Wonderland. Ricky Martin started playing, and when we looked around to find some fellow athletes we realized that they were way back by the music stage. We had started walking before Ricky began, but all the other athletes were right there as he started and stayed to watch the show.

We somehow dodged our way through the piles of moving taffeta and satin gowns/veils, and back near the music stage all the athletes were beginning the head-bob stationary dance. I think everyone appreciated both Ricky's performance; he infused some energy into the athletes who seemed to be fighting sleep despite the excitement. When he finished we all slowly made the way to the exit among hat-exchanging and picture taking. I was planning to keep all of my US attire to give to people at home, but a desperate Canadian came up asking for a US shirt in exchange for a large, Hudson Bay Canadian parka. So, I'm down a shirt but up a parka. She seemed very pleased with the deal, so I won't try to understand it.

When we all made it out of the stadium we piled on buses for the Torino Olympic Village--home of the big party and McDonalds. The Village in Bardonecchia didn't have a McDonalds in it, so the guys on the team had long been looking forward to some grease bombs. I ended up meandering around with the cross country skiers, baulking at size of the Village.

I had thought the Bardonecchia Village was big and all- inclusive, but the Torino Village was out of control. It's like going from a country general store to the Mall of America. We definitely didn't see everything, and only by chance did we happen upon the big hall where the real food was being served: pasta in every color of the Olympic Rings, as well as fruit, cheese, meat, bread, Gelato, and a giant cake. I thought the green and black pastas were excellent, but the blue one tasted a bit off.

After the food, music started in the big courtyard area and the free wine and beer soon got people dancing. I guess there were also several other parties around Torino, but I think that the town must have been pretty tired because the previous night had been a White Night--a Saturday night during which all (or most) of the shops in Torino stay open all night. This apparently happens once a winter, and to have it occur during the Olympics was pure chaos. I was walking around for a bit during White Night, and it seemed like a pretty jovial time for everyone.

When walking around Torino you can see some efforts at environmental friendliness--toilets that have a small flush option to use less water when appropriate, recycling bins, lots of public transportation, and minimal packaging on food and necessities (these are all common throughout most European countries I've been too). A volunteer said that the Torino Organizing Committee did not want to build new roads or widen existing ones for the Games, so they created the amazing bus transport system that I have mentioned before.

It was refreshing to see that recycling was a big deal at both Villages. There were recycling bins labeled for specific types of material every couple hundred feet at both villages. There were no glass receptacles, though, until the last few days of the Games. Apparently consumption of glass-contained beverages increased towards the end of the 2nd week.

I have to go pack up to go home! There is a charter flight for US athletes from Torino tomorrow morning, and this means I have to leave the Bardonecchia Village at 2am.  I hope these Games will remind us about peace and self-improvement, and here's to looking ahead to the 2008 Games in China!

Thanks for reading, Carolyn

Right before Closing Ceremonies - February 26


The CLOSING Ceremonies begin in just a few hours!  I can’t believe the two weeks are over already.  I am excited for all the things I will be doing after the Olympics when I get back to the States, but it would be nice if the Games were a little longer so we could experience everything. 

Since my last race on Thursday I have been able to see the Cross Country Women’s 30 kilometer mass start, as well as both men’s and women’s Biathlon Mass Start races yesterday.  Fans from the Czech Republic were playing guitars and trumpets on the ski trail at the cross country race while singing hauntingly beautiful traditional harmonies, what a wonderful way to spend a winter day! 

I also went to the medal’s ceremony in Torino on Thursday night as saw US snowboarder Rosie Fletcher receive her bronze medal!  The biathlon women’s relay teams also got their medals last night, and interestingly enough the men’s relay podium included the same teams as the women’s—Germany, Russia, France.  These teams and Norway continually dominate, but Sweden, Poland, and…the US are preparing a coup. 

Unfortunately Ricki (sp?) Martin, was not playing at the Medal’s Plaza that night…but I guess he’s playing at the Closing Ceremonies.  Phew! 

As the Ceremonies are quickly approaching, I wonder if the volunteers are ready for the Games to be over though.  They have been wonderfully energetic and helpful, but spending long hours standing to check credentials, both inside and outside, as well as herding anxious and often pushy spectators into the correct seating area must get tedious.  I have met many volunteers who hope to help at Vancouver also, so it seems they have been infected by the Olympic bug. 

However, security guards look ready to return to their warmer homes.  At every security check point is a gaggle of officers from various organizations--Fore Stale (forest guards), Carabineri (military police), Polizia, as well as others that I can’t quite figure out.  There are so many officers at every check point that they seem to get a bit bored, but we appreciate the over-preparedness rather than the alternative.  I met one man from the toe of the Italian boot, and he was quite ready to return to his native climate after spending so much time outside at the venues and security check points. 

The Polizia insist on sending an escort car with every shuttle that leaves/returns to the athlete village carting an American athlete.  These shuttles run reliably every twenty minutes two and from our venue, which makes getting there quite relaxed as you don’t have to worry about holding up a team van while you get ready or finish end of your workout.  Our coaches and team leader have tried to keep this flexibility for us, but we’ve realized that it is much easier on the other athletes if we try to travel at the same time because once the van drivers see US athlete board they have to wait while the Polizia organize an escort.  The other countries’ athletes have been very patient with this though. 

There have also been US security officers stationed at each village, and I met one man from the State Department who had been here working on safety at the biathlon venue since January 6th.  Many secret service men also marched into Opening Ceremonies with us, and I assume they will tonight as well.  Rumor has it that the head of all this security here is the guy who saved Gerald Ford’s life.  It’s humbling to hear all the work that goes into protecting the athletes…if only it weren’t necessary. 

On a happier note, while I’ve been typing, the various volunteers who have been helping the USOC have come in the office to give teary good byes.  So this wonderful, they have really appreciated their time working with us. 

I’ve got to go change into the appropriate Roots duds for the Closing. 

I hope you’re all having a good weekend,











After the Relay Race - February 23 Afternoon

Title: "Much Better"


Today was the women's biathlon relay--four people each doing six kilometers and shooting twice.  The weather was very nice, warm and bright except when puffy clouds loitered over the sun. 

I was on the relay team with Rachel Steer, Tracy Barnes, and Lanny Barnes (in that order, I was the fourth leg).  The girls all did a really good job, and we were in 17th going into my leg.  The important point is that we were beating our bib, which was 18.  The bib number (which also determines the starting position for the mass start of the first leg) comes from the country's previous results in the relay.  There were 18 teams you can see that our relay results this season, as well as the last few, have not been earth shattering.  But--today was a good day. 

I personally had a very satisfying race.  Canada was about 30 seconds in front of us when I started, and my primary objective was to catch them (nothing personal...but you know, it's Canada).  Also, right as I was starting my first loop the German 4th leg was about to start her 2nd loop.  I somehow managed to stay in front of her, which was cool because she had the fastest split time of the day.  Consequently I came into the shooting breathing a bit and missed my first shot, but I hit the next four and used one extra bullet to catch the last one.  In relays you get three extra bullets per shooting stage, but it takes about 11 seconds to load and shoot the extra, so you want to avoid them if possible. 

The 2nd loop of skiing went fine, I was still trying to catch Canada though.  I came into the range a bit hot again and missed my first shot, but I hit the next four and used two extra bullets to hit the 5th.  It was getting scary though because my legs were starting to shake, and once that happens hitting the narrow side of a football field is hard.  If you have targets left after your three extra bullets, you have to go to the loop of shame and twirl your way around the warranted number of penalty laps. 

I had been shooting right next to the Canadian, Japanese, and Romanian teams and somehow I made it out of the range faster and with fewer penalty loops than they did.  Latvia was sadly in the penalty loop, so I got to pass them also.

The last loop was the usual tour de lactate with your mouth tasting of cooked carrots because you are too tired to spit out the drool that seems to be erupting from your lungs.  My teammates and team staff persons were out screaming me up the hills, and then the finish line passed under my feet and I was done!  We finished 15th, better than the women's relay has done in a long time, and much better than the result in the 2002 Games.

I improved on my Sprint result by having the 55th fastest split of the day (out of 72), and I was second on the US team.

We girls are done with races now, and there's still a few days left to enjoy the Olympics without the worry of staying off our feet and avoiding all possible germs!  I went to the medal's ceremony tonight and hope to watch the 30 kilometer cross country race tomorrow. 

Tomorrow I should hopefully be to a computer from which I can send pictures.  I hope all's well!!


Post-Race Updates - February 23 Morning

Note from Kevin Treacy, introducing press release from US Biathlon Team

Quick note-- Cair got her top 60 finish, placing #55 of 72 in team relay,  with #2 time for US, with performance that would have put her in top 4 of established teams like Italy, Czech Republic, Ukraine. She's happy ("smiling passing the Canadians, Japanese") so we're happy.

Thanks again for your interest and support,



US Women 15th in Olympic Relay - Cesana San Sicario, Italy, February  23.

     Rachel Steer (Anchorage, AK) in her final Olympic appearance, led  off the US Women's 4 X 6K Relay which finished 15tth today, 9:07.8 behind  Russia.

     Russia dominated the competition from start to finish, leaving  Germany 50.7 seconds behind and France at 2:26.2.

     Steer, who will retire from competitive biathlon at the end of the season, had a bittersweet ending to her Olympic Career. She needed only one  extra round to clean prone and put the US in 13th position. She cleaned  standing, but needed all three extra rounds. "My standing shooting is my  strength, but I lost time today when I needed all three extra rounds," she  commented.

     Asked about the end of her Olympic career, she said she was not satisfied, adding, "Maybe when I look back at this in the future I will not  be so hard on myself. I am not exactly how I will feel later on, when I am  done competing. The sport is so is just you, the course, the  rifle and the targets."

     US Team leader Tracy Lamb enthusiastically assessed her  performance. "Rachel put up a great first leg today. Her range times were very good  today and she skied well on the final loop. She fought hard and you cannot  ask for more for more from any athlete. Our team had a better than expected  result and she was a big part of that. Rachel ended her Olympic career the  way she started a decade ago; fighting hard and giving her best for her  team."

     Even though Steer ended her Olympic career, she will compete in  three more Biathlon World Cups, starting in Pokljuka, Slovenia on March 9.

     After Steer, the middle legs of the relay were handled by the  Barnes twins, Lanny and Tracy (Durango, CO). Tracy, who has been battling a cold  for several days, needed two extra rounds in the prone stage. She came back  to clean standing with five steady shots "I was suffering out there today.  The first loop was not too bad, but as I came in for standing, I was  struggling. I just wanted to get this over."

     Twin sister, Lanny took over with the team in 18th position. Like  her sister, she needed two extra rounds, one each in prone and standing. She  moved the team up to 17th as she tagged Carolyn Treacy (Duluth, MN), for  the final leg.

     Treacy needed one extra round in prone and two in standing, but  was happy with her performance. "I shot 80% without the extra rounds and that  is good today. I felt so much better than in the Sprint." As some other  teams incurred penalties, Treacy moved up a couple of places. Smiling  broadly, she added, "I passed the Canadians and the Japanese. That was  fun."

     As the final US competitor in biathlon in these Games, she summed up her experience, "It was great; the village, the stadium and the atmosphere.  I did not have any preconceived expectations, so I was not disappointed with the Olympics. My family was here for some of the competitions and my fiancé and some friends were here today".

     Today, the baton was literally passed in the history of US Olympic Biathlon. Rachel Steer, who has been the dominant US woman for the last six  years, passes the mantle to a group of athletes who were juniors when she  competed in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. When asked how she fit into US  women's biathlon history Steer said, "I was in the right place at the right  time when I started biathlon and have taken advantage of that."

Guest Entry from Kevin Treacy - February 22 Evening

Title: "A note of thanks to guestbook signees, & others"

Good evening,

In a few hours or less, Carolyn will awaken to begin her final day of competition in the Torino 2006 Winter Olympics.  It seems a fitting occasion upon which to offer sincere thanks to each of you.

So much has happened since she left Minnesota on Christmas day for the Olympic trials in Fort Kent, Maine. As parents, Ann and I will cherish many memories from the past eight weeks, and among our very favorite memories will be the various ways each of you (and others, for unfortunately this mailing list is not all-inclusive, for which I apologize) has taken the time from your own busy lives to reach out and offer words of congratulation and support to our family.

During the past nine years, Carolyn has quietly pursued this dream of making it into the Winter Olympics, and as parents that neither ski nor shoot a rifle, we are truly amazed at how far she has come during that time as a biathlete.  Several of you have played an instrumental role in helping her achieve this dream through your coaching/mentoring, and I offer special thanks to Dave, George, Antonina, Piotr, Cory, and Kara.  However, most of you are like Ann and me -- outsiders to this sport.

Regardless of your knowledge of winter sports, each of you has seen fit to connect with us, and share your kindness and thoughtfulness in a variety of ways.  Again, for this we say, thank you so much.  While hectic at times, these past two months have been truly joyous, and we're so glad each of you became part of the fun, part of the joy.

Special thanks to my brother Peter, who has devoted much time, knowledge and skill to creating and maintaining a web site ( devoted to various aspects of Carolyn's Olympic experience.  It has been a great way to share information and best wishes.  Thanks also to his wonderful wife, Jill, for going along with this tremendous commitment on Peter's part.

Special thanks also to those who were able to break away and join Carolyn in Italy during these past two weeks.  Notice was short, and travel was ARDUOUS (the word so aptly chosen by Ann in her first phone call to me from Europe) at times, but your "ministry of presence" has truly helped make this occasion all the more memorable for Carolyn and us.

We are especially pleased and grateful that in addition to having her first ski coach (Dave Johnson) and upcoming Maid of Honor (Ana Jeronimus) present for her final race, Carolyn will have among her supporters a wonderful gentleman our family has come to love and respect -- her fiancé, Anthony Bramante -- and her wonderful future parents-in-law, Sharon and Andy Bramante.

When I spoke to Carolyn earlier this week, she sounded very optimistic and excited for this final race.  She did leave some room for improvement after her first Olympics race last week (and there were some weather/snow/leg setbacks that she had trouble adapting to as they unfolded during the race), and whether things go better this week or not remains to be seen.  In either event, I think I can speak confidently for all that know Carolyn when I predict she will give her very best effort on behalf of her team, her country, and in thanks for your love and support.

Best to all, and thanks again,


"Life in a Small Village" - Monday, 2/20


My computer got really sick the other day—Windows can’t start because of some file, and so my computer can only  get as far as a black screen that describes the problem.   There is a computer station in the Village, so hopefully I  can get enough keyboard time to send out some more  emails. 

Speaking of the Village, I’ll try to take you on a little  virtual tour of this place (hopefully I can download some  pictures on this computer…).  This is the smallest of the  three Olympic Villages.  The largest is in Torino and  hosts the rink sports.  The Village in Sestriere is home  to jumping, alpine, Nordic combined, cross country, and  the sliding sports; and biathlon, freestyle skiing, and  snowboarding live here in Bardonecchia.  I can’t really  imagine a village bigger than this, as we have just about  anything you could want here.  There’s a pool and workout  gym in the basement of building 1, as well as a few small  workout rooms where you can do core and balance  strengthening.  There are meeting rooms and NOC offices on  the first floor.  NOC = National Olympic Committee, each  country present has a nice little home-base for their  athletes. 

The German office has a little info/glamour poster about  each of their medal winners on the wall outside their  office.  The US is apparently a little behind on our  expected medal count, so there are no such signs for the  US athletes.  Our office is a very nice place though,  there’s a wireless connection for laptops (that are  working), snacks, drinks, and two wonderful USOC  employees, Denise and Rebecca.  It’s really the only place  where we get to know the other US athletes here, and even  see the men’s biathlon team.  The official training times  for men and women’s biathlon are completely opposite, so  we don’t see each other very often. 

Building 2 (which is attached snuggly to building 1) is  the entertainment area, game area, computers, and  cafeteria.  The cafeteria is open 24-7, which is very  convenient, but the food is actually pretty bad!  They  received quite a few constructive comments from most of  the teams, so the food has improved a little bit, but  everyone was surprised at the lack of delectableness.   Though, any food tastes pretty good when you don’t have to  prepare, clean up, or pay for it.  

The game area includes pool, foosball, and air-hockey  tables.  There are also a few video games, and once the  Barnes and I walked by a guy playing a Biathlon video game— it was a crock!  When he was “shooting,” he barely got the  sights NEAR the target, let a lone settled on the target,  and all his shots were hits.  Don’t be fooled, it is way  harder than this game lets on. 

The entertainment area has a few TV’s, DVD rentals, and a  stage.  This stage has been home to some of the oddest  performances I have ever seen, and I have only glanced in  to catch snippets of a few performances.  The  entertainment people put in a lot of effort and energy  into these things…but I think that only Italy could get  away with some of the shows.  For example, last night was  Hard Rock night, with about nine girls running around head- banging in fish net tights and leather outfits that only  covered about 15% of their bodies, while ‘big hair rock’  blared on the speakers.  Another interesting night was the  Strip Show—Denise from the USOC and I stopped in because  we were convinced that it was some sort of joke, they  couldn’t actually be having a strip show as entertainment  in the athlete village.  As the first woman started her  show we kept waiting and waiting for some catch, but the  only thing that kept it from true scandal was that the  woman went behind a thin curtain for the final de- layering.  We had been proven wrong and quickly left as  the ratio of men to women in the room sky-rocketed.  Only  in Italy. 

There is some more tame entertainment provided here  by “The Village” newspaper, a little daily publication  with lots of pictures from the previous day’s events. 

Outside those first two buildings, which make up the  Residential Zone, is a little courtyard with a few trees.   On the other side of the courtyard is the International  Zone, where guests of an athlete can visit.  A guest has  to submit their passport number and birth-date by 5pm the  evening before they hope to visit the village.  If they  are approved, the next day they can turn their passport  and spend a few hours in the village.  The International  Zone includes a little internet café, grocery store,  flower store, hair salon, travel agency, and bank. 

Above and around all these areas is where the athletes  sleep, and our rooms are very nice with wood floors and  drying racks for wet clothes.  There are no TV’s or phones  in our rooms, as your sport’s National Governing Body has  to purchase them for their athletes, but we can make do  with the ones in the common areas. 

The mood around the Village is generally pretty good and  even relaxed.  The volunteers are very helpful and  friendly, and the walls are covered with vibrant banners  that read “Passion Lives Here,” or “Torino 2006,” or just  the Olympic Rings.  Actually, the walls were covered with  these colorful mementos, but now the walls are bare after  opportunist athletes have captured them as souvenirs.  The  mood the last two days has also dulled a bit as if  everyone is a little sleepy from all the excitement and  activity.  I assume it will pick up here in the next few  days as the Closing Ceremonies approach and the final  competitions are completed. 

Even though this Village is considered small, it is a  pretty special place with persons from around the world  sharing their personal space with each other for over two  weeks.  I hope to get to know more of the athletes once  the competitions are over. 


(If you're having trouble viewing the slideshow below, try a full-screen version here)


Post-Race Update from Friday, 2/17 (photos to follow)

Well, I wish I could say that my first Olympic race went really well...but unfortunately it didn’t. I had never done a World Cup race other than a relay, so I guess I got a personal best for an individual-start race against the senior-level biathlon world. I was hoping to do better though...and I could lay out all the factors that went wrong for me, but I’ll spare you!

The morning of this race was like most race mornings though, and I still get blown away by the fact that the body seems to intrinsically know when a race is approaching. I generally need a pretty big breakfast to get me through a typical morning workout, and I need an extra big breakfast to get me through an interval workout or race. My body apparently realizes this and gets extra hungry the morning of a race. However, it also gets a fairly noxious feeling, making it quite difficult to eat. It’s kind of like the feeling you get when you accidentally speed past a cop –but it lasts for a good hour or so, and it makes you need to make a few more trips to the bathroom than normal. I’ve noticed that this feeling generally starts about 3-4 hours before the race, as if the body knows exactly when the race is going to begin and figures that it had better remind you. Anyway, the brain-body connection is pretty cool and still amazes me.

The start of the race was a pretty exciting experience with the Olympic Rings all over the venue and the announcer playing "Winter," from Vivaldi’s "Four Seasons". However, I was surprised that at race time I had far fewer butterflies hatching in my stomach than I did at Olympic Trials or even some time trials that we had during our pre-Olympic camp.

The race itself was very difficult, as this is probably the hardest biathlon venue in the world, but that’s how it should be for the Olympics. It also makes you feel really alive to experience a course that takes you to such extremes. I am very glad that I have another crack at the course, next Thursday anchoring the Relay, because I definitely don’t think I had my best performance yesterday. I think that I did do the best with the situations that unfolded, but I learned a lot from this first race. There will be things both in my control and out of my control that will hopefully go better next week in the Relay!

By not qualifying for tomorrow’s Pursuit Race, I got to spend yesterday evening and today with my family, some measure of consolation.

I went with them to watch women’s Snowboard Cross today (a big perk of being an athlete is free admission to any outdoor event!). I had never seen a snowboard competition before, and those girls are pretty gnarly. My family also pointed out that yesterday I "beat the bib!" by finishing a higher place than my starting number, which was 81, three persons from the end. All of us at the end of the race struggled with rutted conditions that took our skis out from under us, but as I finished the last loop I was happy to realize that I was at least not the last person on the course J.

Tomorrow we have one girl and two guys in the Pursuit Race, so we’ll all be out there to cheer them up the hills as well as learn some more by watching the racers tomorrow!

Here's one from Friday 2/10...(see photos at bottom)

"I fell into a burning ring of fire...and the flames grew higher"....the split seconds during which we were surrounded by the Olympic Flame as it headed up to the torch above the stadium was definitely one of the most butterfly-inducing moments of the night for me.  The Opening Ceremonies were an amazing thing to experience, and I am so grateful I had the chance to be there.  The guys on our team had to miss the Ceremonies last night because they had a race today, so I hope there will be Opening Ceremonies for them to experience in the future.

The night began in Bardonecchia as US freestyle skiers, snowboarders, and my teammates and I gathered in the hallway all wearing the same clothing.  I am used to seeing my fellow biathlon buddies wearing the exact same things that I am, but it is a bit different to see people you've never met sporting the same team uniform as you.  But by the end of the night I think we all felt more like teammates after experiencing the Ceremonies together. 

After getting our marching passes, we met the rest of the countries in the courtyard of the Bardonecchia Olympic Village.  All the athletes looked pretty sharp in their marching gear--we especially liked the French uniforms, and the Germans win the brightness award for their neon green, orange, and pink duds.  We boarded several coach buses for the 1.5 hr drive to Torino as the sun was setting and creating "alpin glow" on the mountain tops.  In Torino we passed several highway signs welcoming people to the Olympics, as well as parking lots full of coach busses (seemingly borrowed from all over), that will be used to shuttle spectators. 

From the bus we were escorted into the hockey arena, which is hosting the US v. Switzerland as I type, and went to the upstairs area to meet Laura Bush.  It was there that we met the rest of the US athletes from the two other Villages, and there was much pandemonium for twenty minutes as everyone scrambled about getting pictures with the Bush ladies and some of the famous athletes there.  We biathletes didn't get rushed for photos...but someday that will change.  The best finish in years past for the US in the Olympics was 13th...quite a difference from Freestyle Moguls, a team that has 8 men who could win in any given competition. 

After meeting Laura Bush we went downstairs for bag dinners and bathroom breaks, and then were staged in the hockey arena seats for the big march.  The US marched towards the end, for obvious alphabetic reasons, so we had a while to sit and watch the ceremonies unfold on the jumbotron screen above the rink.  It was a funny time, we wavered between talking about nothing at all to realizing that we were about to march into the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. 

When our flag bearer, Chris Witty, was called to get ready the anticipation skyrocketed.  I often ate lunch with Chris when I lived at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado, and she is a wonderful person and excellent flag bearer choice.  Then all of a sudden we were frantically rushed out of the arena because somehow we got behind schedule and would have been late to the march.  We all started sprinting the 400+ meters between the hockey arena and the Olympic Stadium, and this was probably my favorite part of the night--running alongside fellow Olympic teammates on your way to the Opening Ceremonies is quite an exhilarating feeling.  It was also pretty entertaining: the bobsledders were leading the charge for the first few seconds, but then quickly dropped back as they rarely run that far; alpine and freestyle skiers made it just a bit longer than the bobsledders; speedskaters held their own pretty much the whole way; but it was the biathletes and cross country skiers that stayed strong through the end.  It pays to be an endurance athlete. 

We got to the entrance just in time...and then the march!!  I was walking near cross country skier Rebecca Daussault, and right as we entered the stadium we saw her husband and four-year-old son hanging over the railings to wave at us.  It was definitely a special family moment for them.  As we walked in I was actually surprised at how small the stadium felt, and apparently it was smaller than the last few Olympics' stadiums.  Nonetheless it was breathtaking. 

After the marching was through the Italian team was seated right next to us, and it was fun to see the home-team enjoying their moment.  As the rest of the Ceremonies continued I could barely catch everything that was going on.  I am excited to see the TV version of the event (hopefully someone taped it???), because there was just too much to see at once to take it all in.  I really appreciated Yoko Ono's speech about peace, and during Peter Gabriel's version of the song we athletes all started swaying back and was cute.  The dove was amazing to see, and from our relatively close position to it you could appreciate how hard those amazing acrobats had to work to make it all come together.  Luciano Pavarotti's performance was very moving, the mood and ambiance made it unspeakably beautiful. other favorite part (maybe I have too many of these...) was as we were leaving the stadium and seeing the Olympic Torch for the first time (we couldn't see it from where we were sitting).  All the athletes from all the countries gathered on the stage to look up at the torch as "One", by U2 (my favorite song and band), was playing over the speakers.  It was cool. 

A lot of energy went into those Ceremonies...I hope that Yoko Ono's speech, as well as the other speeches, will hit home with all of us who heard them. 

The organizers did a great job of getting us on the buses, giving us some more food, and getting us out of Torino in very timely fashion.  Back at the Village the cafeteria had prepared special pre-bedtime food for us, and I was off to bed by 1am.  The Games have definitely started now.  It was down to business for many athletes who are competing right away today, but I am very glad to have a few more days until my first race.  It's coming up though...yikes!