Flashback Friday: The Olympics

Are you watching the Winter Olympics?
We are!
Kevin and I both love playing sports, watching sports & attending sporting events!
We especially love the Olympics.
My first memory of watching the Olympics was when I was 5 years old and I watched on TV as Mary Lou Retton won the gymnastics Gold in 1984 Summer Olympics. That started my obsession with the Olympics.

I wanted to be an Olympian so badly. Obviously that didn't happen, but a girl can dream, right?

Imagine my excitement when my parents told us at Christmas of 1995 that they were taking us to the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. My sisters and I were ECSTATIC!
Luckily for us, some of our family friends had just moved to a suburb outside Atlanta and they graciously invited us to stay with them for the week.
The events that my parents got us tickets to were the 2 Women's Soccer Semi-Final games and tickets to see Track & Field.
(These were the 2 events we wanted to see because my younger sister and I were both heavily involved in Soccer and Track).
Of course, we would have loved to see gymnastics, but those tickets were hundreds of dollars. Oh well!
I will never forget our flight from San Francisco to Atlanta. Almost everyone on the flight was going to the Olympics & was wearing red, white & blue. It was so fun to hear everyone excited & talking about what events they were going to.
The American & Olympic spirit was alive and contagious!
Our first event was on the 2nd day we were in Atlanta. We were going to see 2 Women's Soccer games, both semi-finals. It was a double header held at the University of Georgia.
(My dad fell in love with the University of Georgia during this trip and since then has been a die hard Georgia Football fan. He even likes Georgia Football more than he likes my alma mater, the University of Colorado!)
The first semi-final was China vs Brazil (China won)
The 2nd semi-final was USA vs Norway (USA won)
Both games were amazing & so exciting.
Our original plan was to see track & field the next day and then after that, head to Savannah, Georgia for a few days of sight-seeing.
Because the US Women won the game & were heading to the Gold Medal game, my awesome parents decided to find tickets to the Gold Medal Soccer game & not go to Savannah.
We were able to get tickets to the Bronze medal game AND the Gold Medal game.
It was amazing. The US Women beat China to win the Gold Medal.
It was an experience I will never forget & so fun to witness.
(A year later, when I was playing college soccer I actually played against 2 girls who were on the Gold Medal winning Olympic team!)
The next day, we hung out all afternoon in the Olympic Village.
It was crowded! But, it was fun to see people from different countries who have traveled from across the world to attend the Olympics.
We got to hold the Olympic torch used in the torch relay:
(I can't believe how tan & in shape I was. Oh, to be 17 again!)
This next picture is classic & typical me as the middle child.......
Here we are on the "medal" stand. Of course I insisted on being the Gold medal winner. And poor Becks was the bronze medal winner.
We also went to a track meet, but I don't have the pictures from that because we lost the roll of film from that day. I still haven't gotten over it ;) The track meet was great, even though we had seats in the nose bleed section. We got to see Michael Johnson & his gold shoes.

The last few days of our trip were spent sight-seeing in the South.
Growing up in California, most of our family vacations were to Lake Tahoe or to Oregon.
We had never been to the South, so it was fun to experience.
We went to Chattanooga, Tennessee and went to several historical plantations in Georgia.
We also went to the Whistle Stop Cafe, where Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed:
One of my favorite things about the South is Cracker Barrel!
We don't have those in California.
We became OBSESSED with Cracker Barrel and ate there almost everyday of our week long trip. I have now had a 14 year love affair with Cracker Barrel.
(Remember our trip to Florida last year? I made Kevin go to Cracker Barrel everyday!)
This trip was also the first time we were introduced to Sweet Tea. Oh my goodness! So good.
Here in California, if you order an iced tea, you just get plain ice tea, no sugar.
Sweet tea is Amazing. I could drink it by the gallon. Do you know how happy I was when McDonald's starting selling sweet tea 2 years ago? Yumminess for just $1.

This past October, I was able to actually hold an Olympic medal!
This is me with SF Giant & USA baseball player Nate Schierholtz at our High School Athletic Hall of Fame Induction dinner. He was on the USA Olympic Baseball team that won the Bronze in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
{I was surprised at how heavy the medal was!}

I am so thankful that my parents gave us the opportunity to go to the Atlanta Olympics!
I would LOVE my girls to experience that. And, I would love to experience it again!
On my "Bucket List" of things to do before I die is to go to the Winter Olympic Games.
I would like to experience the Olympic Games with the winter sports.
I would love to see figure skating, speed skating, snowboarding, downhill skiing & curling (for reals)
I better start saving now!

I hope you have been enjoying watching this year's Winter Olympics, it has been full of excitement & drama (of course!) I can't wait for the women's figure skating to start in a few days! What is your favorite event to watch?


  1. Women's figure skating! Love it! Wish I was watching the Olympics right now-instead I'm by myself at a table for 15 waiting for people to show up at the TGIF! Ha!

  2. What an amazing trip!

    Okay, I have never heard of anyone loving Cracker Barrel like I do-- but I love it for the shop part (their biscuits and gravy rock though). I could do ALL of my Christmas shopping in their store every year and not get sick of it. Ah, how I miss visiting the south!

    And let me just say how JEALOUS I am that you got to meet Nate Schierholtz. So jealous...

  3. Yes, we Southern people do love our sweet tea. That is the only way that I will drink it. And that is really neat that you got to go to the Olympics. I would love to see the swimming someday!

  4. I remember the Mary Lou Retton moment!! I was 9 and wanted to get my hair cut just like hers. I started running around the house flinging my arms in the air the way they do when they dismount. Ahhh, sweet memories.

    P.S. Just discovered sweet tea this summer and I am hopelessly hooked. Best way to spend a buck!!

  5. We are all about the Olympics too! Trying to squeeze all the events in each night after the kids are in bed is tough! No time for our other shows right now!

    I love watching most everything! The skiing has been so fun to watch.

    I'd love to attend the Olympic games some time too. How neat that you have been!

  6. I grew up in Florida and had no idea sweet tea was a southern thing. The first time Jon tried sweet tea, you would have thought it was heaven on earth. He wanted to move to the south immediately. I still think sweet tea is the reason he agreed to move to NC.

    (Even now sometimes I will drive through Chick-fil-A and pick up a gallon of sweet tea. My fave combo is 75% sweet tea, 25% lemonade. Oh and here everyone thinks McDonald's sweet tea is gross, funny huh?)

    And girl, Cracker Barrel is the BEST! I always get the sunrise sampler, any time night or day, because it is a little bit of everything - biscuits, hash brown casserole, apple butter, country ham, bacon, and sausage. I pretty much never get tired of going to Cracker Barrel.

    Downside is we get real seasons in North Carolina.

  7. We live 5 minutes from Cracker Barrel. I always wondered why they wouldn't put them in other parts of the country. It seems like everyone loves it! We love going just to get breakfast for dinner!

  8. This was a fabulous flashback. Okay, the picture of you trying to get on chinese news made me laugh out loud. Cracker Barrel is definitely a Grossman road trip tradition, they just put one in 15 mins away! I had no idea you were a Hall of Famer. I just checked it out on the SRVHS website....you go! I'm so proud of you!

  9. one more thing...I can give you an easy recipe for sweet tea. Ryan took a trip to Georgia and has been obsessed with sweet tea ever since!

  10. The south rocks. Oh yeah, so does the Cracker Barrel. We go EVERYTIME we can. What a great Olympic experience for you! You just get more and more interesting, Mel! xoxo

  11. I had no idea that Cracker Barrel wasn't all over the country. I live in Mississippi and we have one at every interstate exit. I appreciate it more now. :)



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