Olympic Journal: Village Buzzes With Anticipation

Gia Lewis-Smallwood is a former discus thrower at Illinois who recently qualified for the 2012 London Olympics as a member of Team USA. In her second Big Ten Olympic journal for BTN.com, she writes about what it’s like to be in London. Read her first entry in this post and find more Big Ten Olympic journals here.

Here’s what Lewis-Smallwood sent us Thursday.

“There are no words to express how completely awesome London and the Olympic Village is. Before I came to the London others told me the Olympic Village was similar to your first day of  college. You meet new people and get accustomed to a new environment.

Gia Lewis-Smallwood will throw the discus for U.S. at the 2012 London Olympics. The former Illinois thrower and Champaign native is chronicling her first Olympic experience for BTN.com. Read all of our Olympic journals.

“I was very surprised that when I first arrived to the village it felt like the first day of college except everyone was confident, capable, and ready to enter a realm of greatness that even as I am writing this now is seemingly unimaginable. It is kind of a Disneyland for potential to be realized over the next two weeks. Everyone is amongst the world’s best in what they can do, and we are going to push each other and the boundaries of the possible.

“That attitude and energy is in the air here. It feels so tangible and real. There is nothing like it.

“The most amazing part of the Olympic village for me is the dining hall. There are tons of different places to eat including a 24-hour McDonald’s. The village dining hall is as big as a football field filled with food from the world. You can get food from Britain, the  Caribbean, India, the Americas. The food is so good! There is a funny quote I have heard used among the American athletes: Be careful about the dining hall. It’s easy to eat yourself out of a medal.

“For the USA track and field team we arrived at the Olympic Village today. Prior to that time we were in Birmingham, England. Birmingham is similar to London in that everyone there is friendly and wonderful. The town reminds me of a city similar to old Chicago with beautiful buildings or flats and amazing architecture. It’s weird to walk down the streets of Birmingham and realize there are buildings that are older than our country!

“When I was in Birmingham I trained three times a day and received treatment. That is the best part about making a major team is all medical services. Imagine having an unlimited amount of massage therapy, chiropractic adjustments and recovery treatment at your disposal. My day consists of one session of throwing, one session of lifting and one session of balance and stability work. At night I would either get massage therapy or chiropractic adjustments!

“I actually compete in my first round of competition in eight days and am extremely excited. Tomorrow is Opening Ceremonies and the village is buzzing with anticipation.

“So as I write this post I have I ask myself what should I take away with this experience? What does being here really signify? How can I put this experience in the right context and not miss the point of what I am really suppose to learn? As I figure this out over the next two weeks, I can say that my first days here are giving me a glimpse into the part of the answer.

Part of the greater point lies within acknowledging the true spirit of the Olympic Games. Essentially you have a group of people who are not afraid to harness the greatness within. On some level rather consciously or unconsciously they have consented to taking their talent and defining the possible. When you get all of those people in one area, the atmosphere just about buzzes with possibility and inspiration. No one is thinking about all that they lack instead they are focused on the greatness to come, that exists now and is just looking for an opportunity to come out.

Certainly, only a relative few make it to the Olympics, but everyone on this earth can consent to reaching their highest potential and not shy away from their greatness within. At this moment we all are just like the athletes at the Olympic Village. Right now the games have not yet begun and all you can do is follow your talent, consent to do your absolute best and see where life takes you.

“It’s going to be an amazing two weeks. Let the games begin.”

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Mary Biddle on 7/31/2012 @ 2:30am EST Said:

Gia, I’m so glad I found this blog! Your reflections are deeply inspiring, and they help me to understand what I’m seeing on TV even better. You have the well wishes of everyone who knows you in this incredible adventure!
Mary Biddle (6th grade teacher)

Bob on 7/31/2012 @ 9:46am EST Said:

Our teacher is Ms. (Haun) Hays, I wish you luck in the Olympics!!

Jasmine on 7/31/2012 @ 9:47am EST Said:

Hey! Our teacher is Ms. Hays (Valerie Haun). I personally wanted to let you know i’m wishing you luck, and i hope you are having fun while competing.

Kaily on 7/31/2012 @ 9:47am EST Said:

Our teacher is Ms. (Haun) Hays and I’m Kaily I just was wanting to wish you good luck.

Hunter Hostens on 7/31/2012 @ 9:48am EST Said:

Bring home a gold medal. – Mrs. Haun’s 10th grade student

Student on 7/31/2012 @ 9:48am EST Said:

Hi Gia I am a student from Moline High School ,and my teacher is Ms. Hays (Valerie Haun). I think it’s awesome that you get to be in the Olympics. I hope you get a medal and have a great time out in London. I feel like you really inspire lots of people to try hard to get to their dreams. Good luck at the games!

Braxton Gelaude on 7/31/2012 @ 9:49am EST Said:

Our teacher is Ms. (Haun) Hays and we just wanted to wish you luck.

sala on 7/31/2012 @ 9:50am EST Said:

Our teacher is Ms. Haun and i just want to say good luck and i hope i m in the olympics some day for track and field.

Alaiveir on 7/31/2012 @ 9:53am EST Said:

Hi Gia i am a student from Moline High School and my teacher is Ms. Hays (Valerie Hann). Anyways I would like to wish you good luck in the olympics. I hope you win in your event.

Mariah on 7/31/2012 @ 9:54am EST Said:

Gia, I am a student at Moline High School and my teacher is Ms. Valerie (Haun) Hays. Just wanted to wish you the best of luck in your competition. :) Very inspiring words in this blog. Stay strong! :) “commitment leads to action. Actions brings your dreams closer”
-Marcia Wieder, dream coach

Mary Dean on 7/31/2012 @ 9:55am EST Said:

Gia, I am so happy to have had the opportunity to read this blog. I find it truly inspiring and I wish you nothing but the best!! My friend, Valerie Haun, spoke of you in class today and she is the one who gave me this website. She is so very proud of you, as am I. Go get it done and know there are many people back home in America praying you achieve everything you have worked so incredibly hard for! Mary in Illinois

Erik Navarro on 7/31/2012 @ 11:11am EST Said:

Our Teacher is Ms. (Haun) Hays. She told us about you and it’s cool to have a friend in the Olympics. We Wish You The BEST!!!

Dajanae on 7/31/2012 @ 11:19am EST Said:

Our teacher is Ms. (Huan) Hays she showed our class this website. This is a very inspiring message. I wish you good luck.

Valerie on 7/31/2012 @ 1:23pm EST Said:

Gia, We’re so excited for you! We’ll be cheering for you this week. Looking forward to seeing how you do! Good luck! :)