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8/14/2004 - Entry 1
Hello everybody in Acadiana.This is Daniel.I am writing from Athens,Greece.This is my first entry in my Olympic Journal. This journal will allow you to keep up with my daily activities while I am here in Athens.

The travel day was Wednesday. Jamill Kelly, Eric Guerrero and I departed from Stillwater, Okla. at 7:30 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. flight out of Tulsa. We left Tulsa at 9:30 a.m. and arrived in Chicago at 12:30 p.m. We didn’t leave Chicago until 6:30 p.m.

We really needed something to do to pass time. Luckily, Kerry McCoy brought his Playstation2 with a portable television. We played video games all afternoon. Before we left for Amsterdam, we receive a huge surprise.

We all had been upgraded to business class for our flight with no extra charge. Thanks to United Airlines. The trip to Amsterdam was really good and lasted eight hours. Once in Amsterdam, we had a three-hour layover and then flew into Athens. Once in Athens, we went through clean processing and received our Olympic gear. This lasted from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. After such a long day, I went to bed at 11:30 p.m.

On Friday, I awoke at 7:30 a.m. and had breakfast with Jamill, Mo Lawal, and Ethan Kyle. After eating, I went back to my room and read for about an hour. After reading, we had practice at 11 a.m. We were ready to do whatever we felt we needed.

At noon, we met the former president, George Bush Sr., and that was a huge honor. I was able to get a picture with him and later found out he had an office in Lafayette. After practice, we ate lunch and then went get dressed for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. The ceremony was the most amazing thing I have ever been involved in.

When we walked out of the tunnel, I was overcome by a rush of pride, honor, and excitement. I felt so lucky to be representing the greatest country ever — the United States of America. While waiting, we met many of the basketball players. They were real nice.

All in all, these two days have been great.
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8/15/2004 - Entry 2
Hey, it’s Day 3 and we are having a great time. Last night we got home from the opening ceremonies at 3 a.m. After standing for so long I was really tired. I didn't get to say enough about the opening ceremonies last night because I was really tired.

But it was truly amazing. The sportmanship was obvious. You could feel how everybody there was entranced in the Olympic Spirit. We had a really good time and met everybody. The USA team rocks.

Today we slept in. I woke up at 12 noon and had practice at 1 p.m. It went pretty good. It was our first organized practice and it was tough. We drilled moves for 30 minutes and then wrestled a live combat match.

My match was with my training partner Mo Lawal. Everybody wrestled really good. After the match we ran sprints and did some shadow wrestling. It felt good to blow out my lungs and get my heart rate up. This afternoon we are gonna lift weights and then go and watch the Team USA volleyball team. I will write tomorrow, thanks again for the support. GO USA.
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8/16/2004 - Entry 3
Hey, everybody. Today is the third day that we have been here, and so far it has been the most eventful.

I woke up this morning at 8:30 for our 9 a.m. practice with the rest of the USA wrestlers. The workout was hard again, but that is what we have to do in order to get those medals. We warmed up on our own and then wrestled a match.

Today I wrestled a lot better than I did yesterday. I wrestled Mo (fellow Stillwater, Okla., resident and training partner Mo Lawal) again and scored a lot of points against him.

Afterwards we ran sprints and then ate lunch. For the afternoon workout, I went through my weight lifting program. Today’s training was really good.

After our second workout we went to the Olympic Village, and on the bus there we had a good conversation with Tam USA volleyball member Logan Tom. She is a very nice person.

Once at the village we had dinner with a few more of the volleyball team members, Lindsey Berg, Tayyiba Haneef and Heather Bown. They are all really nice and we have gotten to know them pretty good since we all train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

After dinner we went to the basketball game against Puerto Rico, and as you all might know Tam USA lost by a good bit of points. I must say that the atmosphere of the game was electric, it seemed like every time we tried to fire the boys up with a “U.S.A” chant the majority of the crowd would just drown us out with boos.

The game itself was good. Carlos Arroyo of the Jazz is a very good player and led his Puerto Rico team to victory. Being a U.S. fan, I myself thought that the officials looked the other way whenever our guys were getting beat up in the paint. Tim Duncan was getting hammered down low and they wouldn’t call a foul.

That’s okay, though. Let’s hope this lights a fire in their pants and they play good and win that gold medal.

After the game we could not find a way home, we ended up going all the way back to the Village. Once we got to the Village, we found out that we missed the last bus going back to the American College of Greece by two minutes.

We eventually boarded a bus, and with the help of some of the great Greek people we made it home. They took us to the subway and then put us on a cab home. The people here are great.

Well, as you can see, today was eventful and long so now I am going to bed. I hope you are enjoying this journal and again thanks for the support. Twelve days to competition. Go USA!
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8/17/2004 - Entry 4
Day 4. I woke up at 8:00 for our 9 a.m. practice. We had another really good workout everybody on the team is looking really sharp, our coach Kevin Jackson was really impressed with the fact that we looked so sharp after four days of hard workouts.

He kind of expected us to be really tired and beat up, but we proved him wrong. After workout we had lunch at the ACG with the boxing team, Jason Estrada, Devin Vargas, Andre Ward and Andre Direll.

They are a really good group of guys who have bright futures in their sport. Ward is a heavy gold medal favorite he hasn’t lost a match since 1998.

After lunch we took our team picture and then went to a press conference. We had a good time at the press conference. Being that wrestling was one of the first olympic events, lots of media were there. They are really excited about the wrestling competition here.

After we left the press conference we went back to the hotel. at the hotel I took a short nap and then had practice again.

After tonight’s practice we came and had dinner at the Bank of America hometown hopeful center.

This is a place where we can go and spend time with our families, have dinner and use the internet. It is really nice to have.

Tomorrow is our day off, so we have plans to do some sightseeing, it should be fun.
 
8/19/2004 - Entry 5
Like I told you all yesterday, Coach John Smith got here today, and he didn’t wait to make it known that he is here to make sure that we are ready ... not only ready but ready by his standards.

This morning we worked out at 10 a.m. and it went pretty well. Mo (fellow Stillwater, Okla., resident and training partner Mo Lawal) and I drilled for half an hour and then ran some sprints. My body felt really good after that day off yesterday. I felt really good and I was well rested.

After practice we came back to the hotel and I fell right asleep, I slept from 1 to 4 p.m. Being that it is such a big time difference we try not to sleep during the day so that we can sleep at night.

Today I broke the rule, and now I am feeling the consequences since it is midnight and I am not tired at all.

The evening practice was optional, but being that John is here he made us get on the mat. Eric (Guerrero), Jamill (Kelly) and I wrestled top and bottom for about an hour and then ran sprints, it felt great.

Tonight we came back to the hotel and played dominoes and watched the gymnastics final. Paul Hamm did great, he showed a lot of heart and determination by bouncing back to win the gold after he fell doing the vault.

Congratulations, the USA has really picked it up, we are ahead in the medal count and second in the gold medal race, only one behind China. Thanks and keep reading the journal, it is fun to keep you all updated.

Nine days to competition, we are getting really close.

 

 

 

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