What a difference a year makes. At this time last year, leading up to the London Games, there was a lot of anxiety in my life. After my suspension just before Beijing, I was afraid I wouldn't get another shot at the Olympics.
The best part about winning an Olympic medal? Knowing that you represented your country proudly in international competition. The next best part? I'll be honest: I'm enjoying the recognition. It feels so good to know that what you do -- all the training and everything you go through behind the scenes when the TV cameras aren't around -- isn't in vain.
It may have taken me two days and six flights (SIX!) to reach Rwanda for my very first field visit as a Right to Play athlete ambassador, but the jam-packed four days I spent in Africa were well worth the travel craziness.
I know that most Olympic athletes looked forward to a break after London, but I was not one of them. I have such a passion for soccer; it comes easily and naturally to me, so of course I want to keep it going.
Remember this photo from the 2012 Summer Olympics?It was U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney's honest reaction after taking home the silver medal in the individual vault competition at the Games, an event she was highly favored to win.
What have I done in the last three months?I wish I had a good, clean, heroic answer for you -- something that would knock your socks off and move your heart to dance a jig. I wish I could tell you that life in the past three months was perfect, pretty and certain, like an impeccably painted image of Olympic triumph narrated by Bob Costas.
I didn't expect winning Olympic medals to feel quite this good! Since I started swimming, I've dreamed of competing at the Olympics and earning medals with the U.S. team. Seeing those dreams become reality this past summer has brought me immense satisfaction.
On my flight home from London, gold medal in hand, I ended up taking pictures with just about every person in business class. Even the pilot came out to take a look at the hardware! Less than 24 hours before that trip back to the States, I was celebrating Team USA’s fifth straight gold medal with my family, friends and teammates at our hotel in London.
One minute showed on the clock. The score read USA 8, Spain 5. We were just 60 seconds from winning Olympic gold. But by the looks on our faces, you would have thought we were tied, or even down, fighting for our lives in that pool.
You know not every day is rainbows and butterflies. I had a tough night last night dealing with some conflicts that came up in my life that needed serious evaluation. I need to make wise decisions. I fell asleep exhausted playing the outcomes through in my mind ... and still couldn't make a decision on what to do ... and when I woke up I still didn't know.
After winning a gold and a bronze, U.S. swimmer Jessica Hardy is enjoying her reward: a warm bed instead of a cold pool.
Triathlete Jenny Fletcher finally gets to see some track cycling at the Velodrome, and now she wants to hop on board herself.
The Olympic experience -- for both the triumphant and the defeated -- is powerful. So powerful, that poems are written about it, songs sung of it and movies made of it, but most of all, dreams are born of it.
LONDON -- I loved that I was able to watch the track and field events Sunday at Olympic Stadium.It was definitely jam-packed with exciting events, from Mo Farah receiving his gold medal to watching Oscar Pistorius make history as he ran in the men's 400-meter semifinal to men's steeplechase, the women's 400 final and, of course, the main event, the men’s 100 semifinals nad final.
LONDON -- Such an amazing, amazing day!I was so fortunate to be able to head to the women's triathlon event in Hyde Park this past Saturday and sit in the grand stands.The amount of people who came to watch the event was out of this world.