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A bittersweet ending to a fantastic experience

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  March 2, 2010 03:33 PM

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Luger Megan Sweeney, of Suffield, Conn., has provided insight and commentary in occasional blog posts for Boston.com throughout the Winter Olympics. This is her final installment.


I’m sitting here in LAX on my way to Hawaii (yeah, I know … I’m spoiled) trying to process these past two days especially, but really everything that has happened. It all went by way too quickly, but looking back at it I’ve done so much.

At this particular moment I feel as if death is upon me because I’ve only slept about seven hours over the past two nights, but I knew I just had to push through to the end!

So lets start with Saturday … I went to the final of the 4-man bobsled race and watched my teammates win gold. It was so absolutely incredible and I’m so happy for those guys! So that night at the USA House in Whistler, the athletes get to present an appreciation award for someone (anyone, but mainly it’s given to coaches) to recognize their hard work and sacrifices along with the athletes’.

Here’s the thing, I’ve gone two weeks without getting emotional or crying, and it’s been tough because at times everything is very overwhelming! But when you have four big macho bobsled guys (who you know on more than just a professional level) getting choked up and even shedding tears … yeah I was trying to compose myself to some degree. But after that final event we all went into Whistler and celebrated but the following day I had plans ...

Before the award presentations I got a phone call and found out that I had won in the athletes lottery for a ticket to the gold medal hockey game! I honestly cannot put enough exclamation points to show you my excitement. I thought that going to the preliminary USA vs. Canada hockey game made my Olympics … and now this!

I knew that it was going to be a long day because what this meant was I had to catch the 8 a.m. bus from Whistler’s Athletes Village to the Vancouver Athletes Village, get in around 10 a.m., drop off my bags with all of my opening ceremonies clothing, pick up my tickets, and book it to the Stadium. I was prepared for the day ahead … I was ready … but my teammate Erin wasn't!

Someone had decided to give up his hockey ticket and so at 7:30 a.m. I burst into our room and woke Erin up and told her that we have half an hour to finish her packing and get to the bus! It was mass chaos, but by some other will she made it! It all was honestly working out too perfect.

To be completely perfect, the US would have won, but those boys fought their hearts out on that ice. I remember playing when I was younger (my Dad being my coach) and he always emphasized to “never quit playing, don’t stop until the buzzer sounds,” and that team did just that. It almost gave me a heart attack! But that game was so unbelievable and I couldn’t leave until the end, even though I was supposed to be back in the Village dressed and making my way to staging for the closing ceremonies, but lets be serious … priorities!

Immediately following the last goal of the game we booked it out of the stadium and I cannot even describe the city. The entire city was screaming, people were yelling and cheering and chanting off their balconies, horns were blaring, cars were honking … the pride and the unity that was being shown was what the Games are all about to me.

In the end we made closing ceremonies. It was such a great show, but it was so bittersweet. It didn’t seem possible that it was over! The show was beautiful, and at the end when all the athletes are told to go down to the stage, I have never seen so many people trading! I honestly couldn’t part with my Ralph Lauren outfit but people were walking away decorated in pieces of clothing from all around the world.

But now we’re here, in the airport, working off seven hours of sleep, and to be honest, I’m ready for a break. I could not imagine having the Olympics every year or even every two years! I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t survive. These Games though were monumental to so many sports, so many athletes, even the USA won the record for most medals (37!) won by a single country, breaking the previous record from 2002.

I just am honored to be able to represent my country so I thank everyone for supporting me and I can’t wait to see what the future holds! The near one though is a beach, sun, and about 3 days of sleep ...

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