Thursday, June 09, 2011
The first couple of days...
has been a whirlwind! There are over 100 of us, police officers, from all over the world. We have had a lot of meet and greets and there has been a lot of hurry up and wait! We were all given several variations of team clothing and colors, each day we wear a different colour. Greece
Our hotel in
Athens is the , not in the nicest area. We are told to go out in groups, due to crime in the area. But we do have an incredible view of the Acropolis from top floor where there is an outdoor pool. Stanley
It took me a couple days to adjust to the time change, basically arrived on Tuesday and was up all that day, so lost a day somewhere.
We hit the ground with a tour of the Acropolis and then to the Pnyx for a rehearsal on Wednesday.
Today Thursday, we were bused out again to the Pnyx for the special lighting of the Flame of Hope. This was absolutely incredible, lots of media…we all stood for about 2 hours while the ceremony took place, all in 30 degrees. There were all kinds of dignitaries, military officials, the Mayor, several political officials that I can not even begin to name, and finally the world spokesperson for Special Olympics, Timothy Shriver. He is very passionate and a dynamic speaker. All of the Greek Special Olympic Athletes (about 200 of them) were seated, watching.
It was a very moving ceremony, a few watery eyes. Once one of Athletes lit the Flame, we began our run with several of the athletes with us.
As we ran through the streets, there were lots of crowds of people cheering us on. Although it was so hot and we had to stand so long waiting, it was worth it. From there we then went to the stadium for another rehearsal more standing and waiting in the sun, nobody moves too quick here because of the heat!
My team consists of 10 runners. We are from all over - Paraguay, Ecuador, USA, Portugal, Spain, Greece and of course Canada :) Needless to say, translation has been interesting, but within a few short days we have all started to gel.
It has been like going to summer camp, we are all thrown together waiting in line ups and given instructions, but now starting to form friendships. What a great experience already…
Tomorrow the teams split up and we begin our treks, my team flies to
and we are preparing for lots of running in the afternoon and evening. Wish us luck! Cyprus