Space is a luxury not found easily in the NBC compound. And keep in mind, it's still airline hanger huge. But there's also probably a couple thousand people in here; along with a bazillion computers, edits, control rooms, studios, green rooms, a room for the big boss man to sleep, a Starbucks, robots (I might be making that last one up) and many, many, many, many tvs. In other words - not much room for the old elbows.
The dot com room isn't all that small, but it's packed. When the Games start, it'll empty out a bit as the various producers head off to their events. But right now it's rush hour. Always. I sit on the end of one of the rows and there are 8 people who sit on the other side of me. In order for them to get to their chairs, they have to pass between the 1 foot of space between the back of my chair and the back of the guy's chair behind me. Who's got two thumbs and gets knocked into a lot? This guy! (and if you're not familiar with that joke, I'm referring to myself) The weird thing is that I'm not annoyed by it at all. It's almost comforting, like sitting in a rocking chair that says "oops, sorry" every time it throws you backwards. The fact that it doesn't annoy me at speaks muchly to the amount that I'm enjoying this gig ;)
I saw Mary Carrillo, the tennis commentator, on the shuttle bus this morning. I recognized her voice and looked over to see if it was who I thought it was. This woman was wearing a faded men's style blue collared shirt and "Mom Jeans"... you know the really high waisted jeans with pleats and darting? Yea. She was wearing those. I only believed that it was her after someone bellowed "Hey! Carrillo!!" and started chatting her up about Wimbledon. Sigh.... Mary Carrillo wears mom jeans. Oh well, we all have our flaws.
I took a field trip this morning before work to discover the Russia House with Jess, the gymnastics producer I'm mirroring here, and Martin, a researcher who's fluent in Russian, Swedish and an all around smart dude. Each country has a "house" for athletes, coaches, parents, sponsors, fans from home etc - basically a big place to gather, party and just be with your peeps. These houses also typically have stores. We were on the hunt for official Russian team gear.
Winning the "Obvious Choice of Location" award is the Russia House which has buried itself along a long winding strip of bars. Where else would the ruskies have their house? Nice to see they're living up to their reputation as drunken party animals.... even in Beijing! It was this really cool location on a lake. (With a starbucks at the beginning of the row, of course) There was a long wide walkway along the lake and then bars and restaurants lined the walkway. It stank a bit of stale TsingTao, but I bet that smell totally rocks at night.
At first we couldn't find the store, we found the Russia House, but it looked like it was only the bar/house and we were trying to figure out if the store was somewhere else. We stopped off at the Help desk along the lake to see if they could help us - like the sign said. Help desk, ya know. Help. It makes sense that we'd seek help there. However, some language barriers led to an amusing illustration designed to demonstrate the country we were looking for (see, you China, we find Russia! Ruuussssiiiaaaaaaaa) We ended up picking up a Japanese woman who was very kind and offered to try to help us find it. She was very kind, but also a little odd (ok, and one of my normal rules is don't talk to weirdos - except at work - but I WAS using the buddy system so I figured I'd throw caution aside) she also spoke several languages and wore a funny hat. But the kicker is she was also wearing pantyhose with sandals. Seriously - who does that? Even at Northwestern Mutual that would be weird, and although I have no proof, that place probably requires pantyhose to be worn at the gym. Anyway, she probably wasn't a high priced lady or anything, but the mystery of her occupation and place in life will confuddle me forever.
Unfortunately, after all that fuss, it turned out that the Russia House store was closed until the 7th :( And they had some pretty aggressive doormen who told us so! Luckily we ran into some much kinder, gentler, non-wanting-to-kick-our-ass Russians along the street who provided the info on when it opens.
I'm happy to report that Lester Holt has resumed stalking me again. Only this time he's upped the ante by dressing like me!! Today he was wearing a bright orange shirt.... well guess what yours truly was wearing.... a bright orange sweater. Clearly NOT a coincidence at all. He also continues to rock the nerd glasses like a rock star.
NBColympics.com is live streaming podium training tomorrow. HUGE. It's never been done before. Podium training is the dress rehearsal for the competition - judges get to come and watch and a lot of pre-judging is done during this time. If you blow away the judges during this time, they'll be more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt if you have a few wobbles or misses. Just plain blow podium training and the chances to max out your scoring potential decreases.
Fun fact: They call it "podium training" because at big events like the Olympics, the equipment is literally raised up on a podium. It makes it more exciting and easier to see, but that extra height can really affect the gymnast's timing as it gives you an added bounce - that's why training on the podium is so important... and they only get one chance to do it! Again - don't blow it.