The Team USA Road to Rio tour visited Venice Beach, California, last weekend, and I stopped by for a quick visit. The tour has been traveling around the United States since last summer, visiting nine cities with the goal of, “giving fans access to Team USA athletes and experiences earlier than ever before, and heightening awareness and excitement for the Rio Games in the buildup to 2016,” as the press release announcing the tour stated.
As I walked along Venice Beach towards the Road to Rio tour, I saw these national flags in the sand. They reminded me of all the countries coming together to compete at the Olympic games.
Team USA had a large area along the beach with a zip-line, concert stage, and several booths and trailers with Olympic memorabilia on display. Some local celebrities and Olympic athletes made appearances each day, and there were musical acts to entertain the crowd.
Liberty Mutual sponsored the tour and insures all the medals that Team USA athletes win at the Olympic games. They had a photo stand set to pose with an Olympic medal.
Here I am posing with my “Olympic medal.”
Another photo station had us pose as if we were on the diving platform.
In one of the trailers, there was an area to experience different Olympic sports through virtual reality. Since I posed as if I was diving, I tried the diving demo narrated by Olympic gold medal diver David Boudia. I always have had an appreciation for the Olympic divers, but this really provided a sense of how high those diving platforms are! In the demo, David explained how divers start on the lower platforms, train there and then when they are completely comfortable they move up to a higher platform. By the time they reach the 10 meter platform, they are comfortable with the height.
On the other side of the VR station was another photo opportunity – to pose for a high jump. I laid back on this green prop and the back drop was filled in to look like I was clearing the high jump bar.
Another trailer featured displays on American Olympic athletes and Olympic memorabilia.
Examples of team uniforms were on display.
Another photo station posed us with the back drop of the beach in Rio. I held the torch used for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics torch relay. It weighs more than I thought! I remember seeing the torch relay run through New York City on the way to Atlanta in 1996.
I loved this display of the gold, silver and bronze medals for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. They are beautiful.
The last station I visited was the Los Angeles 2024 booth. Los Angeles is an official bid city for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. As we stood in front of a rendering of what the Santa Monica beach and pier would look like with the beach volleyball courts and stands set for the games, we held the symbol for Los Angeles’ bid theme, Follow the Sun.
It was a fun event, and I want to thank the wonderful Team USA ambassadors that worked at all of the stations. Every single one of them was welcoming, enthusiastic and having fun. Their attitudes were infectious. Thank you!
The Summer Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 5th. I will be at home watching as much coverage as possible and cheering for Team USA!