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August 29, 2003

GO FOR THE GOLD!!!!

That is our motto now that the games have begun!! Let me tell you, the opening ceremonies were an adventure that I will always cherish!!! The Chief de Mission (leader of the USA Delegation) picked 7 people to lead the Americans with him in the march around the stadium, and I was one of the people he chose!! When we were proceeding through the tunnel to the stadium, the Koreans were cheering and screaming for the USA! Some of them were reaching out to touch us and crying!! And then when the USA came out onto the track, the crowd of 60,000 erupted into a roar that gave me chills up and down my spine! I can hardly describe the pride that I felt at that moment. After all 140 nations paraded in, the North and South Koreans came in together holding hands!! WOW!! No matter what nation one was from or what language one spoke, everyone understood that the political differences were set aside. It was so special and I am really thankful I had the opportunity to be there.

We have a Purdue group in Korea!!! Juan Rodela and Javier Diaz (former mens' swimmers) are competing for Mexico and Nikki Lively (former womens' swimmer) is in the Army and stationed here! Nikki sits in the stands waving her American flag proudly! She also brought me a Subway sandwich and it was so good!! (This morning I ate some oatmeal and it tasted a little different....so I asked a Korean and it had a little octopus in it!) Juan, Javier and Nikki are going exploring around the city later this week. Watch out Korea!!!

Before the meet started the swim staff had a little fun at the village photo shop. We all dressed up in Korean garb and got our picture taken. We had a great time and were very entertained, but preferred to wear our American clothes to the meet!

Now that the swimming competition has started, the days are action packed. There are 12 sessions and each one is super important!! We have won 6 medals so far and we still have 7 sessions to go!!! The meet is very exciting and fast!! The Koreans send huge cheering groups and cheer for every team! The cheers are in Korean...but they scream "We love USA!" and our favorite "We will... We will...ROCK YOU." The atmosphere is wonderful!!

I will try to write one more time before I depart. Until then: An young hee kaship si yo "Goodbye"

Proud to be American!,
Coach Cathy


Former Boilermaker swimmers Juan Carlos Rodela (left) and Javier Diaz catch up with Coach Wright-Eger at the World University Games. The Purdue Alumni currently compete for their native country of Mexico