I'm trying to figure out some clever way of saying, "I'm excited." But nothing comes to mind.
So let me just say in plain ol', ordinary words -- I AM EXCITED!
To be honest, though, I'm a bit nervous, too. The Olympics are such a huge, huge deal. I want to make sure my stories bring alive the local ties to the Games.
For example, take Ryan Lochte, a University of Florida grad. This famous Gator has won six gold Olympic medals already, but can he finally beat Michael Phelps in an Olympic event? Lochte has raced faster than Phelps at times during the year, but not at the Games.
I've had the honor of interviewing Ryan at UF a couple times. He's friendly. And his mom is such a sweetheart. Ryan tells me his mom (Ike, as folks call her) makes this amazing, breaded Cuban dish. So, sure enough, Ike showed me in Ryan's kitchen how she breads these thin, little steaks that Ryan loves to eat.
She is a spirited, happy person and I can see why Ryan gives his mom big hugs and says she's everything to him.
Ike sends me text messages and even sent me a photo of Ryan's shoe closet. Guess how many shoes he has -- all perfectly lined up -- on shelves? (He organizes them by himself, Ike says.) The answer? Ike tells me it's 138 pairs! I'll show you on TV during the Olympics.
Anyway, I'm nervous because this is the first Olympics I'm covering. What if I can't get anywhere close to Ryan Lochte? What if I can't find his family, even though I have their cell numbers and their permission to call? Well, all I can do is try my hardest. And I will.
There are a zillion other interesting stories, of course. Gregg Troy, head coach of UF's swim team, has been chosen to be the head coach of the U.S. Olympic men's swimming team. What an honor for the Gator Nation and Bolles, as well, because Coach Troy spearheaded the prestigious program at Bolles for years in Jacksonville.
Coach Troy has coached 68 Olympians. He'll be in the international spotlight when the Phelps vs. Lochte races heat up. I hope we can talk with him while we're in London.
Everybody keeps telling me, "Oh, you're so lucky. Have fun!" I know the trip will be incredible, but we've been warned that our work hours will span from 8 a.m. to 1-2 a.m. (Hope my ankle heals fast. Right now doctors think it's sprained. Just what I need ... I'm pretty worried about that.)
Most of all, I think the Olympics deserve the attention they get. I've read that during the last Olympics in China, 3 out of every 4 people in the world watched at least some of the Games.
Let me offer another fun bit of trivia: When was the last time the gold medals were really solid gold? (I'll tell you during our live shots from London.)
So bring on the sweaty palms (always happens to me while watching the gymnasts walk that balance beam) and the amazing muscles (so wild anybody can hang on those rings so long). Join in the fun and the excitement. GO USA!
First Coast News