staff, July 26, 2012

Former star Illini soccer player Emily Zurrer sends back her latest update as part of our ongoing Big Ten Olympic Journals for the 2012 Summer Olympics. In this post, she describe the days leading up to Canada's Olympic game and she has a little bad news to report.

Here's what Zurrer wrote on Wednesday.

"T'was the night before Japan, Game 1, at the London Olympics 2012….

The day has finally arrived. My teammates, Mel Booth and Robyn Gayle, started the countdown 170 days ago and today the count was at one. Crazy! We could not be more excited to begin this journey. Our team feels more connected than ever before, and we are ready to head into battle tomorrow vs. the reigning world champs.

Former Illinois soccer All-American Emily Zurrer is playing for Canada in the 2012 London Olympics. The three-time All Big Ten player chronicles her journey here for Read all of our Olympic journals.

"All of the extra sprints, workouts, ball sessions, tactical meetings, 6 a.m. lifting sessions, fitness tests, double day, drops of blood, sweat and tears (cliché but true) have all been worth it. Tomorrow we have the opportunity not many people get - the chance to represent our country at the Olympic Games.

"Whatever happens, we will do it together, as one. Tomorrow I will be taking on an off-field role due to a hamstring injury. It is not exactly how I would have chosen my 2012 Olympic debut to go, but these things happen and nothing about my mindset has changed - on field or off. Actually I think I will be more nervous on the bench than on the field.

"On my birthday on July 12 I tore my hamstring during the last play of practice (of course).  I guess it really IS all downhill at 25. Ha!  The goal was to get me back to 100 percent for Japan, OR if I had it my way, back two2 days later. I got a few laughs from the med staff when I said that - always here for comedic relief.

"Unfortunately, muscle tears are pesky and they are not something you can just tape up and play through (I asked), so it?s been a test of patience. Something I do not have when it comes to sitting on the sidelines. I am doing everything possible to build a newer and stronger hammy, so I can be 100 percent and ready no matter what happens in these next games.

"Now, more importantly, let?s get this party started. Even though a lot of you are Americans I hope you can find it in your hearts to show a little Maple Leaf love for your neighbors up North :). LEGOOOO.

"And now, some more pictures…"

Best Dressed?? Helloooo jean jackets!!! With Mel Booth and Jonelle Filigno.

Mel and Rob's "countdown." The queen is a symbol of London and I love it, but I find the figurine extremely creepy.

A photo of the stadium in Coventry we will play in. Diana Matheson in the middle taking it all in…

Just CanWNT being CanWNT. Love 'em.

We also spent two days in the Olympic Village after Switzerland before traveling to Coventry. Here are a few pics from that.

First view of the rings! London Bridge.

In the village in front of Team Canada House. Proud Canadians!

It would have been rude not to.. With Sophie Schmidt and Chelsea Stewart.

Editor's note: Look back at Zurrer's Illinois bio page at and find her entries from London on her Big Ten Olympic archive page.