Sunday, October 26, 2008
This past week I had the chance to return to my hometown of Temple, Texas for the 1st time since last Christmas. It was a fun filled week with alot of appointments in and around the community. The highlight of my trip was meeting Governor Rick Perry at the Texas State Capitol. Governor Perry held a nice reception for the Texas Olympians and it was a nice treat to get to meet him and his staff and get a chance to tour the capitol grounds.
I spent the entire week hanging out with my Dads 6th Grade Science class, answering questions about traveling and the Olympics and even had the chance to help out with a few lesson plans. It was nice to see the reaction of the kids as they were able to share with me the greatest experience of my life. This past weekend was the last few days of my "vacation" and it was an awesome one that included several football games, a round of Golf at one of Texas most beautiful courses and a TON of food. It has been a great break from training but I am 100% ready to get back to San Diego and get back to work.
Once I get back to San Diego, I will have a busy week ahead of me that includes several classes that I am hosting at the Olympic Training Center. One visit that I am looking forward to is my visit to the Poway Elementary School. These kids were kind enough to "adopt" me while I was in Beijing and I received numerous emails and cards wishing me well and I even received a generous donation to In The Arena for $200. This will be my first visit to the kids since I have returned home from the Olympics. I cant wait to get back to San Diego and get back to work! Catch ya later! Mike++
Friday, October 10, 2008
Hello again...the last time I blogged I was just leaving for the last meet of the year in Daegu Korea. I flew to Daegu, literally a few hours before the competition in attempt to test the effects of jetlag flying west to east. After speaking with my coach and looking at our training from Beijing, we figured I had about a 24 hour window straight off the plane to compete before the jet lag started to set in. Our plan worked well and my body felt fairly well given the fact that it was my 18th meet of the season and then end of September. I threw 80.16m to take 4th place and was able to beat a few guys who beat me earlier this season.
Daegu was awesome! The city was amazing and the more I think about it the more I realize that it is quickly moving up on my favorite cities list and is threatening Oslo at the number 1 spot. The people were just as nice and warm-hearted as those in Beijing. After I left Beijing, I mentioned in a previous blog, "The last meet of the year for me will be in Daegue, Korea on Sept 25 and it will be interesting to compare the 2 cities. I can’t wait to see if the niceness epidemic has spread throughout Asia, or if its progression was halted at the Great Wall." I found that the Asian culture and the values that they embrace do not stop at the Great Wall, in fact they extend far beyond. However, it was very easy to distinguish the difference between the communist run China and democratic South Korea. Daegu will be hosting the 2011 World Championships and I cant wait to return there in the next few years, its truly a beautiful place and I consider myself extremely lucky to have visited there.
Now that the season is over, I have been spending the last few weeks trying to answer all of the emails and phone calls to family and friends alike that I didnt have time to get to while I was in Beijing and Europe. It has been a very fun and relaxing time, but all too busy. I have given myself a window of 1 month to tie up all of the business aspects of my season such as trying to gather income from meets and acquire new sponsors. I have also finally been able to start up a few community service projects back here in San Diego.
This week I am restarting my classroom visits to some of the local Chula Vista elementary schools. Next Tuesday through Wednesday I will be speaking to the Chula Vista Elementary School about life as an athlete and the values you learn while training to represent your country on the worlds largest stage. The following week will be very busy for me as I return back to my hometown of Temple, Texas as a United States Olympian. I have plans to spend an entire week mentoring my dads (and many other classes) 6th graders as well as spending some time with some of the high school s most promising athletes. It looks to be a very busy week in community activities, but one I am eagerly looking forward to as it brings about an entire new direction to some of these kids. Im hoping to get lots of pictures and some video of the weeks to come and cant wait to post them here. Catch up with you then, Mike++