Olympics Notebook: On Pride, Excitement and Michael Phelps!
(This is the second of occasional dispatches from Jonathan Hall, a Columbus State University student competing in the 10-meter air rifle event in the Summer Olympics in London. Jamie Gray, assistant coach of CSU's Rifle Team, is also on the 20-member U.S. shooting team. Gray competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This is Hall's first Olympics.)
Hello,The past few days have been very busy. We arrived in London and entered into our processing where we were given tons of sponsors' equipment and gifts. I was given so many shirts I had to ship a box home to the states. We were also given our awards uniforms and opening and closing ceremony uniforms.
Today, the reality of the Olympics is starting to set in. I am starting to feel the excitement of what this is. It is no longer feeling like a dream. I keep telling myself I really am here, and the time is now!
I went to practice yesterday at our venue, the Royal Artillery Barracks, and saw the range fully decked out in the Olympic banners and official stands — things that were not there during the test event in April. I believe that is when the reality of what I am having the privilege of being a part of started to set in. I am so excited about what is going on, I am almost overwhelmed. Being a representative of the USA is one of the most amazing things I have been able to do. I am hoping after opening ceremonies tonight that I can get my mind back on track for the days to come. Luckily, I do not shoot until Aug. 3, so I have a few days to gather myself before my match.
To add to the excitement and butterflies of the Games, I had a celeb moment today. I was leaving the USOC offices where I was calling home, and I stepped into the elevator with none other than "the” Michael Phelps. I was so shocked I couldn't even ask him to take a picture. I know he is just human; maybe I’ll bug him in the cafeteria.
Jonathan D. Hall
U.S. Olympic Rifle Team