LONDON – After spending more than a week at Team USA’s training camp in Birmingham, athletes are now moving into the Olympic Village on the eve of the Opening Ceremonies.
More than 70 members of the U.S. track and field team took advantage of the training facilities in Birmingham at some point since the camp opened on July 16. The athletes were able to train at the newly renovated Alexander Stadium each day during morning or evening sessions, and they took advantage of several nearby parks for distance running and race walking.
The city of Birmingham extended a warm welcome to Team USA with several special events. Team members were able to enjoy movie premiers, community events and cultural activities during their down time. Some of the special events included:
Reaching out to kids – More than 2,000 local children were able to attend Team USA practices and interact with athletes spreading USATF’s Win With Integrity message over three days of events.
Movie premiers – Team USA was treated to special showings of The Dark Knight Rises and walked the orange carpet for the U.K. premier of The Lorax where they met Danny Devito.
Meeting the community – The largest event of the camp was the welcome service held for Team USA and the Jamaican team at the Birmingham Cathedral. The U.S. athletes also enjoyed a reception with the Lord Mayor at the City Council building. Other events included a reception with Birmingham residents who were part of the torch relay, a tour of a local chocolate factory and visiting a hospital for wounded soldiers.
Musical entertainment – American jazz musician Wynton Marsalis performed a concert in Birmingham during Team USA’s training camp and had the team attend as special guests. The athletes went on stage during the final song of the evening and enjoyed a meet and greet with Wynton and the band after the performance.
Team activities – Team events off the track included a ping-pong tournament, talent show, and even the athlete founded book club that was featured in this article by the Associated Press. On the final day of training camp, four-time Olympians Aretha Thurmond and Angelo Taylor were selected by their peers to serve as team captains.
With the U.S. delegation now moved to the Olympic Village, the focus of the team turns to the start of track and field competition on August 3. For a full schedule and more information on Team USA at the Olympics, visit www.usatf.org