LONDON – It's a warm night in London after a "bloody" hot day. Photographer Kevin Ridley and I spent the evening interviewing three Olympic paddlers and a coach with Charlotte connections.
Casey Eichfeld is a 23-year-old kayaker who came up short in Beijing but believes he's capable of winning gold in London. He's enlisted the help of a "neurology coach" to help with the head game that sometimes overwhelms athletes.
I'll be telling you more about that unusual coach over the next few days. Casey moved to Charlotte to train at the Whitewater Center under the guidance of Olympic Coach Rafal Smolen. Smolen was a world-class paddler in Poland and moved to the Charlotte area where he trains four members of the U.S. Canoe and Kayak Team. He's talented and winsome.
Eric Hurd moved to Gastonia and landed a spot on the Olympic paddling team. He'll be in the doubles canoe with Jeff Larimer. Hurd's nickname is "Butter."Hu Friends once dared him to eat an entire stick of butter, which he did.
Caroline Queen is a 20-year-old student at Davidson who loves paddling and social media. She's having a blast in London and has picked up on common British words like "brilliant," which she quotes with enthusiasm.
I'm looking for a few good hours of sleep tonight. I'm still writing stories as well. Lots of work tomorrow and I'll see you live on the air on Thursday morning.
Who knows? I might just throw in a few "brilliants" in for good measure.
Things are great here in London. I hope the same is true in the Queen City of the South.
Hot days in London
I went to bed at 1:45 a.m. and woke up at 3:30 a.m. Between the jet lag and the early sunrise, it is hard to sleep here in London. Once again, my photographer, Kevin Ridley slept like a baby. Obviously, he has a clear conscience. He did, however, blow the circuit in his hotel room, so apparently Kevin isn’t perfect.
It is very hot by London standards. It’s in the low 80’s but definitely feels warmer. We took a shuttle to the International Broadcast Center. It went much more smoothly because there wasn’t a taxi driver protest blocking the roads.
I had a nice conversation with NBC’s Lester Holt at the IBC. He’s a class act, really excited about the Olympic games and says there will be a lot of great stories for viewers in Charlotte.
We also interviewed SwimMAC Carolinas’ David Marsh. He’s one of the US Swim Team coaches and had just finished a morning practice. David is staying in the athlete village. The beds are 5’8” tall and uncomfortable for David, who is 6’2”.
Imagine what it’s like for some of Charlotte’s tall swimmers like Ricky Berens. Speaking of Ricky, I touched base with him today and plan to get together after he finishes his racing. His family is arriving this week, so we’ll talk with them as well. Catching up with the athletes before their races can be a challenge.
While I was waiting to interview David Marsh, we stood beside the ‘Today Show’ set. It was nice to see Meredith and Matt together for the games. It was really clear they like one another. I met Meredith in Vancouver and she is delightful. We also watched them interview Nastia Liukin and legendary gymnastic coach Bela Karolyi.
Also this morning, while we were waiting for David Marsh, I listened to Paul McCartney doing a sound check at Olympic Stadium. No cameras allowed, but he sounded terrific.
There is a lot of speculation about who will light the Olympic cauldron. Could it be the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge? I jokingly mentioned that the group “One Direction” was going to be doing the honors and one of my news colleagues actually believed me. That information is really being kept under wraps.
I’m hoping for more sleep tonight. But for now, we’ve got a lot of work to do.