Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olympics | Courtney Thompson’s family shares the London vibe

Courtney Thompson’s parents—Steve and Linda—are as proud of their daughter as any Olympic mom and dad would be.
Courtney Thompson and brother Trevor
-photo by Linda Thompson
Each time I’m in touch with them, however, they remind me how hard they try to stay out of the spotlight. To them, all three of their children—Courtney and her older brothers Trevor and Craig—are special and each is deserving of his or her own time to shine.
It took some coaxing, then, to convince them to share a few of their London Olympics experiences. They get to see Courtney every other day for a couple of hours, and are otherwise cheering the team from arena seats, hanging out at the special Team USA Family House, or seeing London’s sights.
Some highlights of their journey so far:
Courtney Thompson and mother Linda
-photo by Steve Thompson
Linda Thompson with bronze medalist Danell Leyva
and his grandparents and cousin, Derek
-photo by Steve Thompson
Courtney Thompson and her father, Steve
-photo by Linda Thompson
  • The “vibe” of the games is fascinating; everywhere you go people are wearing flags, cheering for their teams, and sharing the excitement of so many intense competitions going on simultaneously. Meeting people from all different parts of the world has been a wonderful and unexpected bonus!
  • Hearing the announcer say, “Now serving for the United States, Courtney Thompson!”
  • Meeting Courtney for lunch the day after her first match and giving our daughter a big hug. Our daughter, who is now an Olympian! We are so proud and happy that her hard work has paid off and that her dream has come true.
  • The USA vs China match was electric, especially during the third set that went to 31 - 29. The sold out crowd simultaneously chanted USA! USA! and CHINA! CHINA! It was a moment of true "Olympic feeling". When Courtney entered the third set with USA trailing 22-23 … Oh, my goodness. I was trying to take a picture, but my heart was beating so strongly, I think my camera was shaking!
  • At the USA Family House, we happened to sit by the Kukors family. We had never met, but introduced ourselves and realized we are neighbors in the Northwest! Emily graduated from Auburn High School the same year Courtney graduated from Kentlake. Emily was a swimming star who I remember reading about in our papers all the time. Now her younger sister, Ariana Kukors, has placed 5th in the Olympic 200 individual medley for TEAM USA! What a small world it is!
  • We also met Derek, a 16 year old young man staying at our hotel with his grandparents, Cuban natives who now live in Miami. Derek is here to help interpret for them and to watch his 20-year-old cousin Danell Leyva win all-around bronze in men’s gymnastics. Danell gave us a signed t shirt and we promised to send something of Courtney’s USA Volleyball mementos to Derek. He’s become sort of part of our extended family, and we’ve loved getting to know his family.
  • The USA Family House is sponsored by Proctor & Gamble. They’ve created a comfortable place for athlete’s families to relax, eat, and spend time from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. How awesome is that? Everyone is over-the-top friendly and helpful. There are flat screen TV’s everywhere you look, of every size possible; as well as giant wall-size screens in the larger family rooms. As we watched the Opening ceremonies there with other families, they served champagne and appetizers, and dropped red, white, and blue balloons from the ceiling. We’ve watched the women’s and men’s gymnastics finals, many swimming events, men’s volleyball, and other events there - so much fun when the entire place is cheering for USA! There is food and drink a plenty, free laundry service, and even a play area for young kids, and a men’s and women’s salon. Everything is complimentary….an amazing luxury!
  • This experience continues to be completely surreal. We are so proud of Courtney and we are so appreciative for all the interest, caring and support from all our friends, and the NW volleyball community in general. Courtney’s dream is now her reality. What more can a parent ask for? It’s pretty sweet.

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