This was my Olympic Experience!  Who knows … yours could be next!

 

                                                                 

          My Olympic experience was one that I will never forget. To be in Beijing, at the 2008 Olympics, competing for my country and to feel the spirit of the "Olympic celebration" in person, is something very hard to describe. To simply be around the very best athletes in the world, not to mention being able to speak with them and learn from them is an opportunity so few people get, that it is one I will always remember.


      The Olympics Games of 2008 were held in Beijing China.  Beijing during the Olympics was a very hot and humid city with temperatures often over 40 degrees Celsius!  Though just a little cooler, the weather was actually quite similar to that of my new hometown; Windsor, Ontario, Canada!

          Having made the Romanian National Men’s Artistic Gymnastics team, we arrived in the Athlete’s village a few days before the official stat of the games.  The Athlete’s Village was amazing.  Everything was brand new as the entire village was constructed specifically for the athletes competing in the Olympic Games. 

In addition to the accommodations, the village also had a large store with everything from ethnic foods to essentials and souvenirs, an Internet café, a large open area with video games as well as a food court with wide variety of country-specific foods.

       

  The first day of competition began a week after we arrived.  The goal of our team was to qualify for the team finals by finishing in the top eight countries.  Though we were a little disappointed in our scores, we did manage to qualify for the team finals.  For me, the day was very memorable.  With over 100 of the most accomplished Gymnasts competing in the rings event, I managed to finish in the top eight in the world thereby qualifying for the event final in the still rings event.  If you ever had a dream come true, you know how I felt!

        Two days later we had the team finals and our team from Romania finished in a very respectable 7th place.  The individual event finals were scheduled about 5 days after that.  I have to say that those 5 days went by very slow!  I was very excited that I would be competing against the very best ring specialists in the world, in front of a televised audience of over a billion people, and in my first international event final!  No matter what the result, I knew that starting with that day forward my life would never be the same again!  When the day finally arrived I was very nervous and just wanted to do my best.  I have to admit that I felt a lot of pressure to prove to myself and everyone else that I did not get in to the final by mistake.

          When I stepped up on the podium I could feel myself shaking, but once I presented to the judges, it’s like time stopped.  I could not hear anything but silence as I focused on the routine ahead. The performance itself was a blur (thank God for you tube!) but after I finished my routine I was very happy with how I competed and the score I received  15.850… 7th place in the 2008 Olympic Games!   Of course that was the highlight of my Olympic experience.  My dreams as a seven-year-old boy just came true!

         The day my Olympic competition ended was when I could relax because up until then, I needed to focus on gymnastics.  I was able to visit many of the important places in Beijing and around the Olympic city.  The Great Wall of China, really is one of the greatest wonders of the world.

         

In what seemed like a “blink of en eye” it was time for the closing ceremonies. To walk into the Bird’s Nest (the stadium where both the opening and closing ceremonies were held), along with the very best athletes in the world, packed full of spectators all coming together to celebrate the closing of the Games was something I will never forget!

          This is my Olympic experience.  My goal…. to attend the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, representing Canada as an Athlete and then to return to future Olympic Games asa Coach, playing a small part in making another 7 years old child’s dream come true!!