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Top News Stories... moving to USOC website platform with new look and functionality

This week, will move to the USOC platform, with a new look, new functionality, but with the same favorite features....

Terry Shockley named Chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Shockley will succeed long-time chairman Jim Keen. Sr. as Chairman of the Board....

Iowa's Tony Ramos determined to finish career with NCAA title

The Hawkeye senior will battle Virginia Tech's Devin Carter in the NWCA All-Star Classic on Saturday....

NCAA announces finalist cities for its championships for 2014-18, including wrestling at all levels

Cleveland, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia & St. Louis are Div. I finalists. Div. II and III finalists also announced....

Getting to Sydney & Getting Around

The Wrestling Entourage Embarks on Sydney

I've been in Sydney, Australia for about a day. Which means I almost know what time it is and what day it is. For all the U.S. athletes and team leaders, the first hurdle to the Olympic dream is getting here and getting themselves physically oriented. The flight is about 15 hours, but because you cross the international date line, you actually land two days after you take off. It was Thursday morning when we arrived, after departing from Los Angeles on Tuesday night. The U.S. delegation flew out in the evening, which is good, because it allows them to sleep some on the plane. You want to get some rest, because the first day "down under" is a bear. We (the USOC press officers and staff) travelled with members of the diving, sailing and track and field teams. All the U.S. people wore the same clothes on the trip, so they could be identified as a team. When we finally reached Australia, once we got off the plane, there was somebody there to greet the U.S. team and help them through customs. In addition, there was a contingent of security staff to protect the team members from whatever harm might confront them. The Australians are taking security seriously, it seems. Olympic credentialling happened right in the airport, and was the most efficient operation I've witnessed in four Olympics. After picking up bags and working through customs, there were buses and trucks waiting to transport the team to its destination. The athletes went off to the Olympic Village - the USOC people went off to a suburban town named Bankstown, 20 miles from the city. This is where the press staff will be situated the entire time. All of the stories in the papers about transportation problems are true. Once we checked into our digs, the trip via train and bus to the Main Press Center took over two hours. They have not yet started the Olympic schedule, so the trains are not very regular from certain locations. You can tell the Olympics are coming - hundreds of Australian Olympic volunteers are on the trains, wearing official blue and yellow Sydney volunteer clothing. The neat part is they all speak English, and are still excited to see visitors in their country. The weather is not summer-like, as the temp doesn't get over the 60's and it was cloudy and rainy all day when we arrived. This will be a jacket and sweater Olympics, or at least for the first few weeks. The Main Press Center is right in Olympic Park, where many of the venues are located. It is very pretty, with colorful banners and brand new stadiums. The main Olympic stadium is here, along with baseball, archery, basketball and other stadiums. The press center is a long "ranch" style building with reminds me of a military quanset hut, medal roofs and no ceiling tiles. When it rains, the noise of the water striking the medal roof is quite loud. The U.S. press has already started arriving, with reporters from Dallas, Portland, San Diego, Orange County, Washington, D.C. and other locations drifting in and out. After doing press officer business in the afternoon, we returned via the trains (we missed on train by one minute and had to wait an additional hour for the next to our destination). People tried very hard to stay awake to a normal hour in the evening, to try to get back on the right life cycle for the rest of the time here. The next plan will be to visit the Olympic Village, the High Performance Center (where the wrestling team will practice) and the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour (where the team will compete). That's a project for the second day in town. I will send a bunch of scans from these areas when I get there, as a preview for what the U.S. wrestling teams will be dealing with in town. Getting a phone line in the press center office is a chore, so we will send the images when we can. The U.S. Greco-Roman team gets here in a day, and we will report on their arrival and progress.
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