USA’s Heather Mandoli

Writing on the Row2k website, Heather talks about the wind-down after the party

Life of an Olympian after competition

Phew, so I know I had a blog entry a few days back that talked about how "boring" life of a competing Olympian could be…. well I take that back. What I would do for ten minutes of down time! Life here, once you are finished competition, is absolutely exhausting but incredibly fun!

I think I have slept a total of about eight hours since our race on Sunday. As someone who has rarely had much of a social life after about 10pm for the past four years, 3am nights is not characteristic of me at all! (I am known to my teammates as "MOMdoli" due to my often motherly behaviour.)

The day starts with sightseeing in the morning, sporting events in the afternoon and evenings, and then socializing through the night! There is so much going on at all hours of every day, that it seems just silly to worry about sleep! I keep telling myself that sleep will happen next week, when I'm back at home.

Another activity that takes up a lot of time here in Beijing is getting place to place in taxis. Having relied on Olympic transportation until this week, my first Beijing taxi experience was just recently and I was petrified. There seems to be very little in terms of rules and order on the roads here. All the taxis drive about 150 km/hour (that's really fast in miles/hour) down busy packed roads. Weaving and swerving is a very common occurrence, and horns are sounded very often.

The line markings on the roads mean nothing. If there are markings for three lanes, there are at least five cars across, and often cars in the bike line or on the side walk. It really is something else. Quite a crazy experience. Despite this, it takes forever to get anywhere. And you are at the mercy of the driver, as you never know where you are going – you have the name of the place in Mandarin on a piece of paper to show the driver, and when he stops, you hope you are there. It is an adventure!

More soon about my adventures here in Beijing. And a little more to come about the race this past weekend. Thanks! Heather 

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