Last couple of days = blur.
Sort of hit the wall on Monday, with some in-hotel media pitching and rest on Tuesday.
But last night brought some early evening time to trade pins at the London Olympic Super Store (nothing "super" about it if you ask me -- considerably smaller than even the Torino Olympic store in 2006) and neighbouring Coca-Cola Pin Trading Center (considerably smaller and much more quiet than in Olympic Park).
Scored a London Bridge pin featuring the Olympic rings and a few Cobi and Petra (Barcelona 1992 mascot) pins, then strolled over to USA House in the rain. Oh, what a night!
USA House was hopping with Olympians -- Edwin Moses, Bob Beamon, some gymnasts and volleyball players (the tallest Olympian yet met), Rowdy Gaines, Donna De Varona and Prince Albert of Monaco (bobsleigh Olympian of winter Games fame).
This was my third opportunity to interact with Mr. Grimaldi. As readers of this blog may recall from 2010, Prince Albert was part of a blog post from a Visa event in Vancouver. And also, in 2002, I was part of his motorcade and press team when he visited Atlanta for the opening of the DeKalb International Training Center (DITC) for which he is a board member.
How fun it was to interact with HSH for the third time -- this time, with an important question: What was Prince Albert's reaction to his portrayal in the Oscar-nominated film "The Social Network"?
Why was this question on my mind?
Well, blog readers may also recall that when the movie premiered I posted a critical review including my reaction to the portrayal of Prince Albert in "The Social Network."
Readers may also recall that the actor who played Albert, James Shanklin, wrote in a response in the comments section of this blog (on one hand, very cool he took the time to post a comment; on the other hand, interesting that a Hollywood actor has time to personally troll the Internet for blog posts about his work -- either way, I respect and appreciate Shanklin's readership and response).
When I posed the question to HSH, "What is your reaction to your portrayal in 'The Social Network'?" and "[when] did he see the film?" Mr. Grimaldi responded directly that he had not viewed the entire movie, but that when he did see HSH's likeness on screen it was played "a bit dry" or a bit to stiff.
Because Mr. Grimaldi endured a long line of fans and Olympians to pose for photographs, and HSH stated the person before me was "the absolute final photo" of the evening, I opted for the brief conversation in lieu of a grip and grin image.
I greatly appreciated the courtesy of his response, thanking him by presenting a hot off the press 2012 Olympic Rings And Other Things media pin featuring Wenlock. Prince Albert returned the favour with a brand new Comite Olimpique Monegasque (Monaco Olympic Committee) lapel pin.
If there is another opportunity to speak with HSH, I want to ask him about the reports that the London Cultural Olympiad was searching for Monaco's national poet. Did they find an entrant, I wonder? But poetry was not on the brain last night -- too many Olympians!
After the interaction with HSH, I turned the corner to shake hands with Beamon and his wife, who were in USA House sharing information about Art of the Olympians, for which Beamon is CEO. I will visit their exhibit in London later this week to post from that location, which sounded very interesting.
Of course, in the last couple of days I lost my camera's USB cord, so photos of the USA House encounters will follow when a connection may be made. Please enjoy the Team USA Media Summit and 24 Hour Fitness press event photos until the Grimaldi interaction images may be added.
Heading soon from London Media Centre to the gold medal women's beach volleyball game featuring USA versus USA. Can hardly wait to see Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh play for a three-peat gold medal against Team USA's Jennifer Kessy and April Ross, who I spoke with at the Team USA Media Summit in Dallas earlier this year. Ross said in Dallas she hoped for an all-USA final game, and I expect Ross and Kessy will play hard to attempt to dethrone Walsh and May-Treanor.
Tonight marks my own Olympic three-peat as the gold medal women's beach volleyball match in Athens 2004 was among my tickets in Greece eight years ago, and in the pouring rain in Beijing, Walsh and May-Treanor emerged victorious again. My friend Brian (an ISOH member who writes and talks extensively about -peat feats in the Olympics) sadly could not three-peat with me tonight (we both attended women's beach volleyball finals previously), but we will be sure to RE-peat on Copacabana Beach during Rio 2016.
Please enjoy the video of Kerri Walsh with a special message about this blog.
Photos and video by Nicholas Wolaver, except for the 2012 Olympic beach volleyball photo by Petr David Josek/The Associated Press