Saturday, July 28, 2012

Scene behind the Team

It's done. About 1100 people to dress in 11 days and we did it just by the skin of our teeth in time for Opening Ceremonies.

I have about the last 18 days of my life. I don't think I have ever been as frustrated or doubted myself or just been flat out scared as I have been here in London. But I have rarely been as purely proud as I was last night as I had the great privilege of watching Team USA spill out onto the track looking as bright and shiny as we dreamed they would be.

Maybe my favorite moment of yesterday was the phone call I got at about 5:30 from one of my favorite team leaders saying that Lolo Jones' Opening Ceremony shoes were too small. I had just gotten off the Tube after a trip to pick up the last minute ticket I got to the show so I was about seven minutes from our warehouse. I scurried over there, ran inside to find my intern learning to skateboard in the lobby. I found the shoes and darted out the door to go meet Aron, the team leader, at the workers entrance of the Village to hand them off. Aron is great to work with because he is smart and responsible and works hard.  It does not hurt that he is also tall and way handsome. He comes out of the Village and I am feeling this pit in my stomach that OMG it's 7:00 and the ceremony starts in two hours and LOLO NEEDS THESE SHOES and Aron gives me this look like, "down a notch Clifford". So he gave me a hard time for a few minutes and we talked and laughed and my heart started beating again and then I went off to get ready to go to the Ceremony.

I have loads more to talk about but after the Ceremony we ended up meeting up with the interns and going out until 4:00 in the morning so I need to get some actual sleep tonight so I can get my venue packed up tomorrow.

The Summer Games man. They are hard to describe.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Home Alone

So much for my grand idea of blogging through Team Processing. We have four days left and I'm not even sure how to go about explaining what the experience has been. Terrible? The worst? Refiner's fire? If you follow me on instagram (replikate34), or we are friends on FB (I have to really know you), or you follow my tweets (replikate), you might be jealous of the last 12 days. They look really, really fun. And there have been some terrific moments. But this has been one of the toughest experiences of my life and I'm afraid when I write about it after Opening Ceremonies are over and I've been to USA House a couple of times and the sun has been shining, I will gloss over all of it.

But here's what I know for sure-I love events because you live a mini lifetime in a span of a few weeks and I have a truckload of lessons learned. I hope I get a few of them down.

Friday, July 13, 2012


This week.

What to say about this week.

I'm in London.

It has rained every single day.

I haven't slept a full night since we got here.

Every single thing that is out of my immediate control has gone wrong.

I was homesick the first day.

But today my friend Andrew from the IOC who I adore, came over to say hello, And we managed to find a place for all the Ralph Lauren items. And our team is going to look beautiful even if everything was MADE IN CHINA.

This is hard work and long hours and lots and lots of things are not working anywhere nearly the way I planned them. But I still feel really lucky, and as I sat in a pub tonight and my team teased me mercilessly about the super cute volunteer who has been flirting with me (I maybe flirted back. A lot.) I can't think of anywhere I would rather be.

Except maybe asleep.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Things I forgot about Olympic Team Processing set up

*Unloading 15 trucks into any venue makes your heart stop a little bit
*Volunteers are the greatest
*Even though I see my coworkers every single day at home, when they suddenly appear here they feel like family. It's way fun to have your tribe reassemble somewhere completely new

Thursday, July 05, 2012


July 6 COS to Knoxville
July 7 Set up
July 8 Fit the US Olympic Swim Team
July 9 Knoxville to LONDON

July 10-Sept 1 FREAK OUT!!!

Guys, I'm packing for nearly two months tonight. And by that I mean I'm watching New Girl and doing my nails. I managed to get in pretty much all of my Colorado summer list items (including #7) and theoretically I'm ready to go. I mean, I have a passport and these guys-what more do I need to do?


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Punch list

A thing that is always terribly annoying to a writer is when I feel like I don't have a way to adequately translate my swirls of emotions and thoughts into any kind of coherent blog post.

Olympic Trials were an unreal experience. I saw historic performances on the track, I sat in rooms with more Olympians than I could keep track of, I flirted with my fair share of cute boys (did you read my last post? I have to BE MYSELF after all), I stayed up half the night checking the internet in hopes that my house didn't burn down, I got to hang out with two lovely friends who came to visit, I worked with people I both admire and respect and that's all the way from getting to spend some significant time with Jackie Joyner-Kersee to just falling further into professional love with the two women from the USOC I brought to help me.

I am still trying to figure out exactly why 2012 has decided to be such a dramatic year but one thing I'm really trying to do is stay anchored in my faith. I got a nice blessing before I left for Oregon that confirmed to my little heart that I have done the work and the preparation and things are all going to be OK.

I am pretty excited to go to the Olympics. I'm excited to have a cool job that makes people in the airport want to ask me a million questions. But after the emotional intensity of the last few weeks, I am way more grateful that I have a home that is still standing, that I had an overwhelming outpouring of people from all over the country checking in on me last week when our fire was front and center on the news, that I have a family that dropped everything to support my father when he needed us, that I have made some choices recently that were hard but were right.  The Games will be a good memory and an awesome experience but I'm so, so thankful that my life and my identity goes way deeper than a neat title and a trip to London.

Sunday, July 01, 2012


One of the reasons I love working big events so much is how they always end up being super concentrated periods of growth. You simply can't go through them and come home exactly the same. Something changes-you meet people who become signfigant in your life, you interact with your coworkers in new ways that affect the way you work with them back home, the pace is fast and you have to make quick decisions and trust yourself and deal with crazy things that never happen when you are sitting at a desk. I always feel different getting on the plane at the end of one of these adventures.

The last nine months of Pan Ams, Parapan Ams, Youth Games, trips to London and then the insane lead-up to the Games have had my brain and my heart feeling like I've been strapped to the top of a rocket ship. It's fun and it's thrilling but it's also been really scary and there are moments where I just want to get the hell off this thing.

One of the coolest parts of what we're doing here in Eugene are these Ambassador Programs we get to facilitate. Every athlete has to attend one and they basically hear from a bunch of decorated retired athletes about how to represent the USA well at the Olympics. At the sessions here in Eugene we've had a good mix of veterans and first-timers so the vets have been sharing quite a bit of advice with the newbies. It's been unreal to listen to a room full of people who are among the best track and field athletes in the entire world give each other honest and frank advice on how to make the most of their Olympic experience.

I'm not going to compare myself to an Olympian but some of the advice has been shockingly applicable to what I've been going through this year. I don't know how you measure how I stack up compared to all the other Team Processing Directors in the world but I do know that I'm pretty darn good at my job. And I know that I've worked my damn tail off pretty much since the minute I left college to get this place. Everything happening right now is a culmination of 12 years of blood, sweat and tears trying to claw my way to a job that makes me happy almost every single day. In many, many ways, I can relate to the journey the athletes have taken to make this team and the pressure they feel to turn in a gold medal performance.

So one thing they have been saying to each other over and over is "just do you." Meaning-YOU got yourself here,  so don't change your routines, don't try to be someone else, don't let the competition convince you that you are doing it the wrong way. Just be you. I have found myself way too many times in the last few months second guessing my own decisions or wishing I did things like so and so does or wondering if I'm too this or not enough that. But it's sinking in that it's not just a series of lucky events that brought me to Colorado Springs. I say that because I'm a nice girl and nice girls have trouble saying "I got this job because I'm very, very good at what I do." It feels better to say that I'm lucky. I AM blessed and I'm grateful for the opportunities I've gotten but I am ready to give myself some credit for what I've done with those opportunities and to turn that into confidence that I am ready for this. Luck didn't get me here, I did. And continuing to be me-even if that means that I never remember where I laid my clipboard and sometimes I get bossier than I realize and I do talk too much-is the only way I'm going to turn in my own gold medal performance.

Tomorrow is our last day in Eugene. I don't mind saying I'll be leaving a little peice of my heart at Hayward Field.