Thursday, Aug. 7
BEIJING, China - Went back to the airport today to meet our women's team and the place was a zoo.
The brand-new terminal at Beijing's airport is massive. It's the biggest airport I've ever seen.
There were probably about three times as many people crammed into the airport than there were on Saturday when I met our Greco-Roman team after they landed.
Maybe it was because the Williams sisters - Venus and Serena - were on the same flight with our women's freestyle team.
It was great to see another one of our teams land in China. Talking with Marcie Van Dusen and Clarissa Chun, you could sense how excited they were about competing in their first Olympics.
My friend from boxing, press officer Julie Goldsticker, was ecstatic when she saw a Starbucks near our gate at the airport. She quickly hurried over and made a purchase.
We were invited to USA Today's Olympic Games kickoff celebration on Wednesday night at the Marriott Hotel. Gary Abbott, USA Diving's Jen Lowery and I grabbed a cab over to the Marriott for the celebration. The hotel was a palace - very plush and very nice. We were up on the second floor in a very nice area, complete with a band.
We were treated like kings. It was a great chance for us to mingle with the folks at USA Today. I chatted with wrestling writer Gary Mihoces and feature writer Vicki Michaelis. They've been great to us and it was good to see them.
USA Today's Olympics coverage has been excellent. In recent days, they've done cover story features on swimming and beach volleyball. Last week, they had features on Olympic wrestlers Jake Deitchler and Ben Askren.
U.S. Olympic Women's Freestyle Team arrives in China
BEIJING, China - A second United States Olympic wrestling team has landed in China.
The four-member U.S. women's freestyle team arrived in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon. U.S. wrestlers Clarissa Chun, Marcie Van Dusen, Randi Miller and Ali Bernard made it into China after a 12-plus hour flight from San Francisco to China.
"It feels great to be here," Chun said. "The trip actually went faster than I thought it would. I'm excited to finally be in Beijing."
Among the other Olympians on their flight were tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.
"We actually went through the ambassador program with them in San Jose," Chun said. "We talked to them a little bit and took a picture with them. I was starstruck."
The U.S. Greco-Roman team has been here since last Saturday. The U.S. men's freestyle team is scheduled to arrive in Beijing on Thursday afternoon.
The U.S. wrestlers in all three styles are scheduled to take part in the Opening Ceremonies on Friday. The women's team will hold its first practice Thursday morning before taking part in a press conference in the afternoon.
The U.S. women will compete in Beijing on Aug. 16-17.
The U.S. women's team has a new look this year. There are no World-level medalists on the team. Chun and Van Dusen have each made one World Team while Miller and Bernard are on their first World-level team. Each American wrestler beat a World medalist en route to winning the Olympic Trials.
"Our girls are looking very good," U.S. National Coach Terry Steiner said. "I've been really happy with their training, I've been really happy with their attitude and I've been really happy with their focus. I think we're ready."
This is the second time in the Olympics for women's wrestling. The U.S. won a silver medal and a bronze medal when women's wresting made its Olympic debut at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
The weary travel party, which also included coaches and training partners, was headed to the Olympic Village and Beijing Normal University to get some rest late Wednesday afternoon.
"It's exciting to be here, and we're excited to see how well our team does," U.S. Team Leader Stan Zeamer said. "We think we have a potential gold medalist in every weight."