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Freestyle Olympic Team arrives in Sydney and enters Athlete Village



Photos The U.S. freestyle wrestling team arrived in Sydney, Australia on Thursday morning, September 14, early in the morning. The flight was actually a little bit early, so the group worked its way through customs for its first full day in Australia. The team was without two athletes, Cary Kolat and Lincoln McIlravy, who will arrive with their families tomorrow. The rest of the U.S. freestyle contingent was there - including Team Leader Scott Beck, co-head coaches John Smith, Dan Gable and Greg Strobel, and National Freestyle Coach Bruce Burnett. The six Olympic athletes arrived, joined by their workout partners and additional coaches. The wrestling team was joined on the flight by U.S. cycling and canoe/kayak athletes. The athletes looked a bit tired from the flight, but were very excited to finally be in Sydney for the Games. The group quickly loaded their belongings on a truck and jumped on busses that would take them to their first Olympic experience. The additional coaches and training partners jumped on one bus that would take them to their housing in Darling Harbour near the venue. The team members and staff coaches went on another bus to credentialling and then the Athlete Village. We were able to join the Olympic team on its bus ride to the Village. The coaches all reviewed the most updated entry lists that were available here in Sydney. Brandon Slay looked at some of the "Welcome to Syndey" literature, and Scott Beck took out a map to follow the route to through the city. The first stop was to get credentials for the delegation, as they were unable to complete the process at the airport like some of the other teams. This process was relaxed and fairly efficient. Kerry McCoy had a new photo taken, as the one on his badge was from a junior high photo and was no longer an accurate likeness. Some athletes grabbed snacks and drinks that were free to the athletes there. The team then boarded another bus that took them to their housing in the Athlete Village. The ride provided a quick glimpse of Sydney Olympic Park, where many of the stadiums are located. The bus drove past Village security directly to the housing units. The U.S. delegation is located in the Green Turtle section of the village, and the wrestling team was given its own housing unit. This will be where both the freestyle and Greco-Roman teams will stay for the duration of their time in the village. The athletes are housed two to a room, and they split up into groups to claim their locations. The luggage was taken off the truck and the team began to unpack. Team Leader Beck and Coach Gable went together to locate the dining facilities and look for the saunas in the village. I took Coaches Burnett and Strobel to the International Zone to exchange some money, then showed them how to find the training facility at the High Performance Center, which is located just outside the village walls. A 2:00 afternoon practice was scheduled, and the athletes had free time prior to their first workout. Many went looking for the best place to eat in the village, as the trip had left them very hungry. The team will stay in the village for less than two days, in order to participate in the Opening Ceremonies. Then the group will load a bus and travel to Canberra for another training cycle. The trip is now over and the team is already getting into its final preparations for the Games. This team is on a mission, to win medals for the United States, and it is time to get to business. Photos
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