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Seen and heard with Team USA – Notes from the media tribune

At any major international event, there are two places where you will find the media: in the media tribune, and in the mixed zone.

Approximately 40 U.S. writers are in the media tribune at Luzhniki Stadium for Day 1 at the Championships. The tribune, which gives print and television media seats in the stadium from which to view the competition, takes up nine seating sections, giving the media a bird’s-eye view of the track and field events. 

The mixed zone is where athletes “mix” with the media after they compete, the two groups separated by a sturdy barrier. There are 42 steps in two stairwells between the media tribune and the mixed zone.

The space race: Track writers are a unique set of humans. During breaks in competition, conversations during Saturday’s morning session centered around jet lag and frequent flier miles. Oddly enough, there’s also what appears to be an inflatable spaceship hovering over the middle of the stadium, which presumably is the focal point of tonight’s opening ceremony. One journalist joked, “Sputnik has landed” upon seeing it.

Democracy at work: Team USA captains were elected just prior to Saturday’s opening competition. Olympic silver medalist in the 400 hurdles Michael Tinsley and Michelle Carter, a two-time Olympian and three-time World Championships team member were elected by their teammates.

What’s in a name?  Jeremy Scott’s 6-10 frame towers over most athletes here in Moscow. The 32-year-old pole vaulter is nicknamed “El Grande.” Unfortunately, he didn’t advance in today’s qualification.  Other nicknames on the team: “Boomer” (James Harris); “Batman” (Bershawn Jackson); “Kobe” (Erik Kynard); “Jet” (Carmelita Jeter); “Barbie” (Barbara Pierre); “Bebe” Brigetta Barrett;  “Aunt Dot” (Dot McMahan).

All is right in the Twitterverse: Wifi is back up at the team hotel.

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