I’m sure there will be many highlights during the Games, but what a start it was. On the day of the Opening Ceremony, the Figure Skating Team event began. Compete client Michal Brezina kicked it off for the Czech Team followed by the rest of the team practicing. After practice everyone began to gather at their respective buildings and head over to the buses that would take us the outdoor stadium where the event was being held. As we began entering the stadium, you could see all of the countries being lead by a volunteer holding a sign with your countries name. As we entered the stadium, the flag was handed to the bearer to lead us on to the field. The men’s flag bearer for the Czech Republic was 4 time Olympic figure skater and Compete client Michal Brezina who was responsible for taking me to the Games. That was pretty cool.
Entering the field was something that is indescribable. The noise, the lights, the RINGS above us! I didn’t know whether to video, take pictures or just soak it all in. We see the excitement on tv, but it’s different when you are there. Pretty much everyone walking in has spent most of their lives working to get here and they have finally done it. It was amazing to see the accomplishment on people’s faces, the excitement, the smiles and the tears of joy. It was the “oh my God, I’m really here” moment. As we finished walking through the stadium, we were seated together to watch the rest of the ceremony. This included a few speeches from the Chinese President and IOC President, followed by a cool snowflake presentation. Then it was time for the Olympic torch to enter the stadium. It was passed along by former Chinese Olympians until it was brought to center stage where the snowflake was. It was huge and made up of smaller snowflakes from every country represented. In the past, the torch lights a cauldron, but this time they would just place the torch in the middle of the snowflake and raise it in the air. To visualize it, imagine this huge snowflake with a flame in the middle. The ceremony was a great chance to celebrate everyone’s accomplishments of making it to the games. Even better was the chance to see how everyone interacted with each other the shows of joy and respect.
Chris Phillips is an Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Chris is the owner of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Orange County, CA and is currently in Beijing for the Olympics. He can be reached through Compete’s website at www.competeperformance.com