We are currently on the train on our way to Oslo and I’m just thinking about the whole trip and how incredible it all was.
Yesterday was a great final day, which is making it even harder to leave today. We had breakfast with all of Team USA that’s staying in Hamar, and took some team photos. After that we walked to the train stop and went directly to Lillehammer. When we got there we got our tickets for the hockey game and then went to Learn and Share.
It was finally time for the big hockey game and the spectator line was huge! I sat in the USA section that some athletes had saved to be a cheering section. I was sitting next to the siblings of 3 players on the team which was really fun. It was an intense game but USA was ahead the whole time and had a strong win of 5-2! It was so much fun to cheer for the boys as they won their well deserved Youth Olympic gold.
After that we hung out some more in the Learn and Share area and met up with some other US athletes which was fun. Camden, Austin, and I were given two plastic skis that you can win by doing L&S activities, and while we were struggling hardcore to just glide on flat snow, there were some skiers who were completely KILLING it. One of them skied down a small hill with a little flat part before another hill, and did a flip. I can’t explain how difficult it is to use these plastic skis, so the fact that he was able to do a flip with those loose little things is awesome.
Everyone had started to clump up outside the tent for closing ceremony, and while waiting to get in we hung out with some skiers and when it was finally time to go in, we got our flashing bracelets on and went in. All of the athletes, coaches, and team members squished in the tent all mixed together in front of a stage. There were performances, speeches, and highlight videos from the games. It really struck me that the Youth Olympics had actually ended, and I couldn’t help but get a little bit sad. I suppose that’s the best kind of sadness, because it is the result of something so wonderful being over with. After the closing, I said goodbye to some of the amazing people that I’ve met these past weeks, and went back to Hamar with all the skaters.
Back at the hotel, we all began trading team apparel. I didn’t get rid of my USA Olympic gear because I treasure it so much, but I had some t shirts that I purchased in the past and ended up with two Italy shirts, one Russia shirt, and a German shirt, jacket, and hat! I finished packing up with my roomie and then went to sleep. We woke up and got ready like zombies, and then I remembered again that we are ACTUALLY leaving.
Now here I am on the train with a view of the beautiful Norwegian snowy landscape to begin my day, feeling a bitter sweetness, but overall I feel extreme gratitude. I can’t express how much this experience means to me, and how much I loved every moment. Not only was it Logan and my first real international success, but it was an unbelievably incredible experience altogether. I’ve met friends that I already miss, shared the pride of being on Team USA with so many other athletes, I learned so much, and have memories that will last my entire life. It’s so hard for me to write this without getting very upset, but I’m just lucky that the Youth Olympics was such a beautiful experience that it is so terribly hard to part with.
Thank you to Logan, Greg, Lillehammer, Hamar, the IOC, the officials, team members, friends, volunteers, and everyone else who made this event the best time of my life.
Thank you for reading my blogs these past weeks, I hope that you’ve enjoyed getting a small glimpse of what it was like in Norway.
Norway, I love you so much! I will miss you inexplicably!
p.s. I added a kind of lame photo of a small portion of the dining hall as promised.