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!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Finally... a day of rest!

I finished my last heavy workout yesterday. I'm not allowed to give numbers but it was a very good day. I have done all the hard work and now it is time to rest and get ready to compete. As of now there is only an A session for my weight class which is great news. There are only 10 women and no Chinese girl entered in my weight class. Again, great news.

The opening ceremonies will be at 8:08 p.m. on 08/08/08. You'll have to check the local channels for when they will show it. Beijing is 15 hours ahead of Seattle. I compete on the 10th at 3:30 p.m. Beijing time.

So today was a wonderful R&R day full of bowling on the Wii, watching movies, Trivial Pursuit and yummy food. We left the Athletes Village at 10:30 a.m. and spent the entire day at the University where the USOC has created the best "home away from home" ever. It is just a great place to relax away from the energy and excitement of the Village. Although the Village is amazing it is nice to have a change of scenery now and then.

I had the opportunity to see the Women's gymnastics team and I had my picture with the Head Olympic Coach Martha Karoli. That was pretty cool. I will download that soon. It is such a great experience and I 'm really glad to be able to share it with all of you. Thank you for all of your posts. It is so good to hear from everyone.

Tomorrow we get to see the venue. I'm so excited! Only one more week!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day 6 All work and some play!

One of the many inspiring displays at the Athletes Village!

Carissa and I decided to jump in the ring. She has super human strength... I didn't have a chance!

I couldn't stop laughing! I don't think I'd make a very good boxer!

Day 3/4 photos

These are the mascots for the Olympics. I wish I could bring one home.

Here is the Village. They are basically condos. Very nice condos!

Anyone need to use the potty?

Cheryl giving us a ride to training. : ) What a sweet girl!

Day 2 photos

Going through customs in Beijing. Man, was I happy to get off the plane after 12.5 hours!

Here's the ladies on the bus. Me, Carissa Gump in the middle and Natalie Woolfolk on the right. Cheryl was missing in action. : )

The Olympic Village security is tight. It is an amazing place! The media was there to greet us.

The cafeteria is HUGE! Although it isn't very full right now it will be in the next few days. The food is great! All the different types of food you can imagine!

Day 1 photos

Here we we are at San Jose State University with our shopping carts collecting the Team USA outifitting by Nike and Ralph Lauren. Talk about amazing stuff! Proud to be wearing red, white and blue!

Arnold stopped by to welcome the athletes. He chatted with us for quite some time. He was pleased to hear that my hubby Dan was a Republican! :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm in Beijing

Friday I flew to San Francisco where I met up with the rest of the U.S. women weightlifters and a few other sports like rowing, judo, boxing, cayak/canoeing and archery for outfitting and credentialing. It was like Christmas in July, we received so much we had to send half of it home. The Govenator dropped in and Natalie, Carissa and I had a nice chat about lifting and then had our picture taken with him. I spoke a little politics with him talking about my hubby Dan being up for re-election. He was happy to hear he was Republican. Ha, ha, ha!

The flight was around 12.5 hours from San Fran, it was a pretty decent flight. I slept for 5-6 hours in the beginning and then stayed up the rest of the flight. I had no problem staying up last night but have struggled a bit tonight to stay awake. Thank goodness for the free internet cafe at the Village here so I can stay awake!

We arrived at 2:30 p.m., by the time we arrived at the Athletes Village it was around 5:30 p.m. Since it was Sunday there was little traffic. Beijing looks amazing. It looks very clean and much more modern than I expected. The Village is top notch. From what I hear it is the nicest Village ever. The rooms are like condos with 3 rooms and a common area. It feels more like a mini-resort. There is airconditioning which is great. I got my first view of the Birdsnest where the opening ceremonies will be.

We trained at Beijing Normal University (BNU) which is set up with a great facility with all brand new equipment and platforms. Training went very well today especially considering I just got off a plane less than 24 hours before. I snatched 75 kilos/2, 77.5 kilos/2, 80 kilos/2, 77.5 kilos/1, 80 kilos/1, 82.5 kilos/1. They don't have the 1 kilo, 2 kilo or .5 kilo plates so we had to make due. The sports medicine is very nice. They have Doctors, Chiropractors, Trainers and massge therapist on site both at the venue and the Village. My favorite part was the cold plunge. My teeth chattered for an hour in 90 degree weather. I enjoyed being cold for the first time since we got here.

So far the expereince is awesome. John, my coach is here too which makes it that much better. It is such an honor to represent the U.S.A!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

USADA (U.S. Anti Doping) in the Nordstrom bathroom!

Now this will be a drug test I will never forget!

Yesterday while I was shopping for some last minute items for my trip to China I got a call from home asking for my EXACT location. Ellen from USADA was at my house and wanted to collect a urine sample. What are the odds of her coming to my house on the one day in months that I was anywhere but home, the gym or the Chiropractor? Anyhow, we decided to meet in the third floor "mother's lounge" in Nordstroms.

So here we are amidst mothers nursing their babies preparing to go into the bathroom stall together. I quickly explained to the lady watching us that I was preparing for China and that Ellen was there to collect a urine sample for drug testing. Anyhow, after telling her I was a weightlifter she asked me if I had hear of that girl named Melanie Roach? I said, "I'm Melanie." Then she proceeded to tell me she was from Bonney Lake (my hometown) and was just planning to call our gymnastics gym to sign her girls up for gymnastics. What are the odds?

Anyhow I will always remember that one time I was drug tested in the Nordstroms bathroom!

The adventure continues!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Exhausted and loving it!

There are no words to describe how exhausted I am right now. Believe it or not it's still fun, a bit crazy, but a lot of FUN! My coach is challenging me more than ever before and it is paying off. Training is going very well. Every day I pretend it's my last day in the gym. It's the hardest training cycle I've ever had. I'm enjoying the challenge.

Balancing the relocation of our gymnastics gym and Thrush Sports Performance where I train, summer break with the kids home all day, Dan's election for the State House, all the wonderful media opportunities and preparing for the most important competition of my life has proven to be a monumental challenge. Thanks to my husband, my mother, gymnastics summer camp and a very patient coach it's all working out pretty well.

It's hard to believe there are only 23 days until the opening ceremonies and only 25 days until I compete on the worlds biggest stage! I can't wait! I've been imagining this opportunity since I was 9 years old and watched Mary Lou win her perfect 10! Although I had hoped it would be in the sport of gymnastics little did I know all the time I spent in the gym flipping around was preparing me for the Olympics in a completely different sport.

Patience, persistance and surrounding yourself with great people really does MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Only 49 days until the Opening Ceremonies!

I can't believe there are only 49 days until the Opening Ceremonies and only 47 days until I will compete at the Olympics! Training is going very well, I'm savoring every minute. I am already tired, but I'm determined to enjoy every day regardless of how exhausted I am! : )

This experience has been amazing! The strangest thing happend the other day. I got a call from a good friend of mine who was at McDonalds with his kids and after about 10 minutes he looked accross the table at his son who was taking a drink and saw me on the cup. Crazy, I'm on a McDonald's cup! Such great exposure for womens weightlifting!

We are actively fund-raising so that my coach, chiropactor and family can come to Beijing. We've now raised enough money take my coach John Thrush. I'm so glad he will be there. It's been a long road for him as well. After coaching for 35+ years and at the age of 63 he finally has his Olympian!

There were these wonderful clowns BeepBeep and Glitterbug at the Pep Rally last week who donated the days proceeds from the sale of the cotton candy and popcorn to our travel fund. Then on Sunday, former Secretary of State Ralph Munro turned his birthday party with a "no gift" request into a fund-raiser for our Beijing trip. Needless to say we recieved several checks in the mail today. I'm so impressed with the efforts of our family and friends to make this such a memorable experience.

The kids are out of school now which has been quite exciting. I've enjoyed spending more time with them but have forgotten how much energy they have! They have been doing summer camp down at our gym; Roach Gymnastics and so hopefully we can keep them busy this summer.

I spoke at a fireside for our church on Sunday about goals. I challenged them all to write down a goal they want to accomplish this summer and to make each day count!

Here's to making it count!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The City of Bonney Lake welcomes the Today Show in style!

Yesterday, the city of Bonney Lake threw a wonderful "Pep Rally". It will be one of the highlights of my Olympic experience!

Once Mayor Johnson found out the Today show was coming to town to tape a story about my family he quickly went to work putting a "Pep Rally" together at the local Allan Yorke Park. The city went all out! With Lake Tapps as a back drop I arrived in a black Hummer with a police escort. The fire truck siren went off and the high school band played music as I got out of the Hummer!

There were nearly 200 people there with homemade signs cheering as I arrived. I was in tears before I even got out of the car. It was the most emotional I've been since the Olympic Trials. I really enjoyed every minute.

Thank you Mayor Johnson, David Wells and the rest of the city for making it such a memorable day! I'm proud to represent the United States and the great city of Bonney Lake!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Blog...up and running

This is my first entry so bear with me as I get the hang of this. Thanks for stopping by!