Print and Go Back ESPN.com: espnW [Print without images]

Sunday, August 5, 2012
Triathlons, inspiring athletes and USA buffet!

By Jenny Fletcher

LONDON -- I wanted to catch you up on my adventures around London the past few days.

On Thursday, I started off my morning bright and early to head to Hyde Park, where the triathlon race was being held. I wanted to catch some of the athletes coming out of their pre-race briefing and see a bit of the course layout. My favorite sign is the one that says "NO BATHING." I guess things change when the Games arrive?

Triatholon


It's fun seeing the girls come out dressed up in their countries' colors and team uniforms. I chatted with them for a bit and then was off to the next venue.

Triatholon

Next up, I headed to the USA House. Wow, what a beautiful place. When you enter, there is a great display of the past Olympics that were held in the United States, and a fabulous Oakley display along with a room full of Ralph Lauren apparel for the Games. I used to model for Ralph Lauren and the setup was like walking into a typical Ralph Lauren store. Ralph Lauren has style. Always been one of my favorite designers.

In another room there was a massive lounge area with a coffee and drink bar, a Chobani yogurt area and a really high-end buffet with yummy looking food. We lounged there for a while, ate some lunch while watching the Games on TV and then went downstairs to the USA Shops where you could buy souvenirs.

USA House

Back at the Oakley Safe House, I ran into two-time Olympian Aaron Peirsol. I used to train with his sister, Hailey, when she was doing triathlons and he would come school us in the pool. He is one of the nicest people I've ever met and super funny. He's not a bad athlete, either; let's just say he's still a ridiculous athlete, still holding the world records in the 100 and 200 backstrokes along with seven Olympic medals.

Fletcher/Peirsol

Talk about highlight of the day. Kristen Armstrong has the most incredible story. I was able to hang out and get to know her a bit, and I learned something about her besides she is the most insane cyclist -- she started in my sport of triathlon. Now I like her even more!

But she was so raw and personable and real, so nice to talk to, so giving of her time. When you get to see athletes behind the scenes, you get a real understanding and appreciation for them, and my respect and admiration, grew even deeper. Being a wife and mother who had to train for the Games, and then actually be able to stand on the top of the podium with her son in her arms was a dream come true for her. When you find out all she went through to get here, it's so inspiring. It defines the Oakley theme of Beyond Reason. Thanks for sharing a bit of your afternoon with me, Kristen.

Armstrong

Time goes by so fast. All of a sudden, it's 11 p.m.! Good thing there is always tomorrow. I have been up every night until 2 a.m. downloading photos, editing, posting ... and I'm loving every bit of it, to be honest! Can't wait to start some more adventures.