Hello from Hoffman Estates, Illinois, site of the 2009 Tyson American Cup on Saturday.
While volunteering yesterday as a media quote taker, got to speak with a few of the athletes and coaches for tomorrow's competition (the USA Gymnastics site for the event includes notes from the experience). You can't make it here tomorrow? Check it out on NBC Sports and Universal Sports.
On site, spotted Olympians Bridget Sloan, Joseph Hagerty, Chelle Stack and Diane Simpson. The word is that tomorrow's event will include pre-competition autograph session with Nastia Liukin, Mary Lou Retton, Kerri Strug, Stella Zakharova, Elena Zamolodchikova, Tim Daggett, Trent Dimas, Paul Hamm, Vitaly Scherbo and Peter Vidmar -- should be exciting.
As hoped, the experience also helped learn more about the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid efforts and to meet a few fellow volunteers -- looking forward to seeing the bid booth on site at the event.
Only two "issues" on this trip:
American Airlines charged me $15 for a checked bag, and then they left it in Atlanta while I arrived in Chicago. Fortunately, a courier arrived overnight with my gear (problem solved, but about that $15 ...).
The other is the weather -- no surprises, but yesterday's 15 degree Fahrenheit morning temps were just brutal. Even the locals found it unpleasant.
Everything else is top-notch, from the Hyatt Place to the Sears Centre and even dinner in Milwaukee yesterday evening (yikes, it was windy and cold there, too).
Looking forward to walkabout downtown this afternoon (a day off) and tomorrow's day "on" at the Tyson American Cup.