Monday, September 1, 2008

One of my favorite memories...

One of the most memorable things that we did in China other than lifting in the Olympics has to be our trip to the Great Wall. With only a couple of hours of sleep you would think I would have been too tired to take a trip like that. But still on a high from the night before I was ready for an adventure and it did not disappoint!

This picture is of me, Dan, Ethan and my mother, Bonnie or "Nana" as she is so well known in our house hold.

There were a couple of different ways to "walk the wall". There was a cable car that took us up to the top and then you could either go left down the short way or right down the VERY long way. Nana was the more conservative one taking the short way and me, Dan, Ethan, Dr. Summers, his wife LeAnne, son Sean and Al (my teammate and assistant coach) all took the VERY LONG way down. Although it was a couple of miles of walking up and down large inclines with very small steps at times it was a lot of fun. Ethan and I raced up one of the inclines and all though he won (I let him). : )

Getting to the Great Wall was symbolic for a long but rewarding journey. Not just at the Wall but my Olympic journey as well. What a wonderful experience! Both the Wall and the Olympics!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Good to be home!

It is so good to be home! I was scheduled to stay until two days after the closing ceremonies but after being away for 3 weeks I realized how satisfied I was with the entire Olympic experience and that it was time to go home.

At the airport I received quite a greeting from Dan and the kids! Camille knocked me on my tush - literally! : )

My hubby... I'm not sure who was more excited me or Dan. All I know is that when I was notified of the availability for a flight out of China and I called to tell Dan I would be coming home the next day he said over and over "Oh-I love you, I love you!" I guess he missed me a little. How many hubbies do you know that would take on the challenge of caring for his three young children for 3 weeks (23 days to be exact)? What a great man! I owe you one Dan!

Ethan, age 7... Even though I had just seen Ethan in China it was so great to see him. Other than dates with Dan he has gone every where with me. I don't think he is going to let me out of his sight for awhile.

Drew, age 6... He was super snuggly for several days. Although he can't tell me he missed me, he showed me.

Camille, age 3... Notice my feet coming off the ground because she tackled me with such force! I'm pretty sure if it weren't for my backpack I would have landed flat on my back. : )

So, what took me so long between posts?

Well, I've spent the last 10 days getting back on pacific time, spending time with the kids, getting Dan through the Primary election (which he won with 58%), setting up our new Busy Bugs preschool at Roach Gymnastics, preparing our staff for Fall classes that start on Wednesday, school shopping for the kids, getting our house in order and preparing for a few speaking engagements. Whew... is that ALL I've done? Ha, ha, ha!

I promise to share more of my experience on the next post and I promise it won't take me 2 weeks to do it!

Thank you all for your kind letters, emails and phone calls. There is even a welcome home banner at the entrance of our development. I am so glad to have had the chance to represent all of you at the Olympics and it really was an honor to represent our country! It was a moment in my life that I will cherish forever!

If you didn't catch my session on T.V. or the Internet it is still available. Here is the link:

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Great Wall, an orphanage for special needs children and dinner with the fam.

The adventure continues...

After the competition I joined up with Dan, Ethan, Bonnie (my mom), Pam (Dan's mom), Al (my assistant coach and teammate), Dr. Summers (my Chiropractor and massage therapist) and his wife LeAnne and son Sean for a wonderful dinner at the Bank of America "hometown hopefuls". Greg Bishop of the New York Times joined us as we reflected on the days events. His article made the front page of the sports page! Check it out...

I decided to stay with Dan, Ethan and our moms at an apartment we rented about 20 minutes from the village. It is a cute little 2 bedroom apartment. I could not fall asleep... imagine that! : ) I guess I was a little excited. I slept all of about 2 hours before it was time to get up and get ready for my first "off the Village" adventure in China.

We met up with Dr. Summers and the rest of the gang at 7:00 a.m. We rented a bus that took us to the Great Wall. It was about an hour and a half drive. We were met by an NBC crew. Julie Foudy was the commentator, she is a 3 time Olympian in soccer. They filmed the entire experience for a piece they are doing on Olympian moms in this years Olympics. Other moms featured will be Dara Torres of swimming and Jenni Finch of softball. It is expected to air on the 15th or 16th.

The Great Wall was amazing! I choked back the tears a bit because being there symbolized the completion of my Olympic Journey. It all still seems so surreal. We took a lot of pictures that I will put on the blog as soon as I can download them. I interviewed with Julie and then Ethan and I raced up one of the inclines. It felt so good to chase my son for the first time in 3 years with now fear of getting injured! Getting back down was the easiest part! We rode a toboggan all the way down! If I get a chance to go again I think I might. It really was a lot of fun!

Our next stop was back to the Bank of America "hometown hopefuls" for lunch and some R&R. Then Dan, Ethan, Pam and I joined up with the wonderful woman who we rented the apartment from. She volunteers for the Children's Hope International that runs an orphanage for children with special needs. It was the most touching thing I've ever done. I sat on the floor and snuggled with these sweet little children for over an hour. Talk about a life changing experience!

There was this one little boy Lulu who at first wanted nothing to do with me. Lulu is around 2 years old (they don't really know his real date of birth) and he has no knee caps and so his little legs are like stubs and his feet were very deformed and crooked. I put my hands out and he turned away. Then he saw me playing with another little boy. I reached over and tickled Lulu on the tummy and then he played a little cat and mouse with me and then he began requesting tickles. After a few minutes of that I put my hands out again and he reached for me and climbed into my lap. By the end of the 1 hour visit he wouldn't let me put him down. I can't believe how independent and determined this little guy was. He climbed up the slide with little help and wouldn't give up until he reached the top. He was smart and had the most beautiful smile. From the waist up he looked completely normal and his eyes spoke a million words! If I could have taken him home I would have! I think Dan had a huge fan too. This one little guy wrapped onto Dan's leg as we left. He was the size of a 2 year old but was 6 years old. He was attached to Dan from the moment we walked in. Ethan pretty much played with them all. It was really a humbling experience. I will never forget it!

After the Orphanage we met up with the rest of the group. I signed up the entire crew for an official "day pass" into the athletes' village. So, after a great deal of security we met up at the village for dinner. The dining hall is a very busy place now with nearly 10,000 athletes! The food was fantastic and the company was fantastic too! What a great day!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Thank you John Thrush for an experience of a life time!

Man was that FUN! 6 for 6, career best snatch of 83 kilos, career best and New American Record total of 193! What more can you ask for?

Thank you John for your YEARS of encouragement and guidance. I've learned more than just how to lift weights. I learned how love what you do, live in the moment and enjoy the process! THANK YOU JOHN! I couldn't have done it without you!

Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way make this OLYMPIC DREAM possible! I'm so proud to be an Olympian and represent the U.S.A!

VOTE FOR DAN! : ) Now it's time to get that man elected! Tag your it honey!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Today Show taping of my Olympic journey will air in the U.S. on Wednesday morning!

Peter Alexander from the today show stopped by today to visit. We were at Beijing Normal University. He said they will be airing the piece they taped back in June on Wednesday in the U.S.

P.S. Guess who is getting stretched out on the floor of the computer room? Dara Torres! Pretty cool!

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's a miracle! My weightclass will be on T.V....DURING THE DAY! ; )

I just received the following email...

Check this text out.

Mel and the 53s are going to be a feature at noon on Sunday (EST) on the big network. Of course, this house will be up at 2:30 am that same morning watching live online.

Washington state native Melanie Roach, a former gymnast and mother of three, makes her Olympic debut at age 33 in the women's 53kg weightlifting event. Also, coverage of men's and women's rowing heats.

It is pretty unusual to get the lighter weightclasses on daytime T.V., how exciting!

I also heard from my hubby that the Today Show is planning to air the feature they taped back in June sometime this week. They first said it would be last Friday, but have changed it to "sometime" this week. If I hear a more definite time I will post it here.

We went to the Venue and official training hall yesterday. It was amazing! The energy is incredible! I got to walk up on the official platform... I've been waiting for this moment for sooooo long! This is a dream come true!