The last few days have been a rush! Opening Ceremonies was indescribable! Let me start by telling you how the day went. Most of the Fencing Team boarded a 7:30 AM bus to be addressed by Mrs. Obama. She did an amazing job of inspiring us, and letting us know we had the support of our country. We followed that with a short practice, and then raced back to the Olympic Village to take naps before opening ceremonies. The night started of course with showers, but continued with Miles and I getting dressed together like we were going to Prom! We had the music, Cameras, video cameras, and were basically psyched out of our minds! After deciding that we looked like a million bucks, we headed downstairs to meet the rest of TeamUSA. It was amazing! We were mixed in with Track Stars, Gold Medallist you've probably never heard of, and NBA superstars. Not only that, but on our way down the Italian Volleyball Team admitted that Emporio Armani had lost to Ralph Lauren, in the battle of Opening Ceremonies fashion! We were able to snag a few photos with choice celebrities! Including Lolo Jones, Deron Williams, and Carmelo Anthony (NY STAND UP).
Beginning our walk was when the true excitement began. As Race, Miles, and I approached the stadium we couldn't help but smiling! Lining the streets were children chanting USA USA USA! We were able to stand with our flag bearer Mariel Zagunis, and managed to overcome Track and Field, whom was trying to Kanye our Moment!!!! Regardless we entered the ceremony and we all were humbled and overtaken! I couldn't imagine what it'd feel like! Normally I'm bashful in front of crowds, but here I felt at home! I've spoken tremendously about the Olympic Spirit, well that was the moment it hit me!
The next day was the Women's foil Event and the girls did an excellent job at kicking the event off. Nzingha Prescod was able to give me a few tips the night before my event, and even woke up at 8 AM the following morning to have breakfast with myself, and the rest of the guys. As I prepared for the event, I was scared, nervous, but I finally decided that I had to be realistic with myself. I sat myself down and said that when I started the qualification I aimed ONLY at becoming an Olympian. I hadn't dreamed of fighting for a medal. This led me to aim to please myself not the media, or my fans back home. I decided I would go as far as I could go, and make myself proud!
In my first bout I beat Dolniceanu from Romania, a friend and opponent I tend to have difficult with! Our styles are extremely similar, and he has very precise technique/footwork. Our bout was close, but eventually I realized he was nervous, and was able to take advantage of it. Next I upset Alexey Yakimenko of Russia! He's one of my favorite fencer, incredibly creative, precise, smart, and ballsy! However, I understood his weak points and was able to capitalize on them in the bout! I held a lead of 14-9, but he climbed back in 14-14. In the end I was victorious! In my final match I lost a close bout to Dumitrescu 15-13. I don't have any regrets, but wish I had fallen less for his false actions!
All in all I feel great about my first Olympic Experience. I'm sure I'd be feeling amazing if I had won a medal, but regardless this is a great Debut! It also sets us up for a showdown with Russia, with Yakimenko and myself anchoring!!