(Athens) Aug. 18, 2004 - Wednesday was an amazing! Rebecca Giddens, our K-1 whitewater slalom paddler, won a silver medal!
After the semifinals this morning, she was in fourth place. That meant she went seventh out of the ten boats in the finals. When she completed her run, she had moved into first place.
The next girl finished below her, which guaranteed the US at least a bronze medal! Only one of the final two athletes passed Rebecca's time, so she won the silver!
It was an unbelievable whirlwind of activity as she chatted with media, put on her podium uniform and headed toward the medal stand. How often do you get to see an Olympic medal ceremony in person?! It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
The US flag was raised, and although our national anthem wasn't played, it was still an extremely moving experience. After many photos were taken and the medal winners did a walk of honor, we headed to the press conference at the venue.
Then the USOC sent a car to pick us up for a press conference at the Main Press Center. While we waited (forever!), I coordinated some phone interviews and made plans for a few Thursday. We were greeted at the press conference by the likes of ESPN, NBC and CNN. With all the coverage, Rebecca is going to be all over the country! It’s a great thing for her and definitely for the sport of canoe/kayak.
The medal was beautiful. They changed the front of the medal this year to reflect Athens. It has the original Olympic stadium on it, and the silver was gorgeous!
When we were going through security to get in the building, Rebecca pulled the medal out of her pocket and stuck it in a basket for the x-ray machine. The volunteer working was completely surprised and told her she didn't have to put it on the machine! It was so funny, and Rebecca was so laid back and great about everything!
After the press conference, Rebecca and her husband/coach Eric left to meet their families to celebrate. What an amazing experience, definitely one that I'll never forget! We still have a bunch of interviews for her to do - she’s an Olympic medalist!
I'm continuing to get sunburned, no matter how much sunscreen I have on! Thursday is another day out at the slalom venue. We have qualifying runs for our men’s K-1 and C-2 boats. So the process of yesterday and today starts all over again in two new events.
I feel like all I do is work, and there is so much I still want to see of Athens. Wednesday I left at 8:00am and got back to the ship at 10:00pm. It was an incredibly long day, but definitely worth it! Not all the press officers will get to experience winning a medal since several sports haven't
won any. I must admit, I had no idea what I was supposed to do as I stood there watching the medal ceremony, but everything just seemed to fall into place. Time to go to sleep… seems to be a precious commodity these days.
By Melissa Fletcher, press officer for the USA Olympic Canoe/Kayak team
Ms Fletcher is a USC grad and a resident of West Columbia
Posted 8:24pm by BrettWitt
WISTV License Subsidiary, LCC
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