Friday, August 3, 2012

4 August = Gwen, Maria, Kate, Serena

Saturday will be epic. Two HUGE Olympic events with some of the most beautiful women in the world (if only my girlfriend could be here, too!).

With an early morning wake up call set for 7 a.m., I'll walk from Paddington Station to Hyde Park for the women's triathlon competition.

Hyde Park is gorgeous. The closest thing to it in the U.S. is Forest Park in St. Louis, site of the 1904 Summer Olympics and the 1994 U.S. Olympic Festival (one of the best summers ever working at the athlete village at Washington University). From my hotel to the park's northern gate, there are thousands of sycamore trees with Fiat- or refrigerator-sized trunks, and the park's expansive lawns and massive shade and lakes also take me back to western St. Louis.

The 2012 Olympic triathlon venue also reminds me of the lakefront parks in Chicago and Milwaukee, where Team USA's triathlete Gwen Jorgensen grew up and works at Ernst & Young. At the Team USA Media Summit in Dallas, Jorgensen spoke about her upbringing and how the company gave her time to train for the London Olympics. I really, really hope she does well tomorrow.

On an Underground train tonight, a member of Team GB's triathlon support team said their girls will give Jorgensen a tough run for the medals. Go, Gwen, GO!

For months I've been dreaming about tomorrow's Olympic tennis competition, too. Saturday afternoon I have a ticket to Centre Court at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London. The best possible women's final is set: Maria Sharapova versus Serena Williams. Amazing. I've been watching Wimbledon tennis since 1976 and meeting Boris Becker today in London was tremendous. Hope the family is able to tune in back home.

I am convinced that Prince William and Kate will be in either or both of the venues on Saturday, and my crappy camera and borderline Flip camera better be on game for any sightings. My blog question for Kate pertains to the Olympic torch relay -- also, I typically do not ask for photos with celebrities but will make and exception in this case. Well, actually, I'd make an exception for a photo with Sharapova or Williams, too (twist my arm). The tennis ticket also includes the mixed doubles medal round, so there will be plenty of time for strawberries and cream.

A contact from the Wimbledon Museum today confirmed details of their Olympic exhibition "Tennis at the Olympics," so I hope for media access to see their rare 1908 Olympic tennis memorabilia from the first time Olympic tennis took place in London.

If Jorgenson and or Williams are victorious, a return visit to USA House is on deck for Saturday night. If it's Sharapova, see you tomorrow night at Russia House (also in Hyde Park), where that nation's medalists appear nightly.

But if Kate invited me to tea, well, I suppose that would do just fine.

Photo credits: Sharapova via Reuters/Adrees Latif; Kate Middleton via LOCOG/Getty/Ian West; Gwen Jorgenson via this link; Serena Williams via Getty/Clive Brunskill

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