The Things You See In Times Square

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You don’t get to see the U.S. Synchronized Swimming team performing in Times Square every day. Thank goodness I was there to see it happen on September 24! The synchronized swimmers performed routines every fifteen minutes in a large tank in the middle of Times Square near the TKTS steps, and it was so cool!

The whole event was designed to promote Epson’s new printer, the ecotank. There was a tent set up next to the tank that was filled with printers, so people could actually try them out. This event was called #SwimmingInInk because the synchronized swimmers were actually swimming in a tank, which represented the printer, with four colors, which represented the printer’s ink. It was an ingenious way to market the new printer.

I watched the routines for a very long time because the performances were so captivating. I loved watching them!

Here are some more photos:

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The swimmers wore different swim suits depending on what routine they were doing. I was able to talk to the creator of the suits, Andrea Robertson. Her company, Triflare, creates very bold and colorful activewear for triathlon athletes. The U.S. Synchronized Swimming Team will wear these beautiful suits at the 2016 Olympics!

Inside the tent full of printers, there was a Step and Repeat where you could take a photo with some of the synchronized swimmers. I was lucky enough to have mine taken with two synchronized swimmers, Anita Alvarez and Mariya Koroleva, who already qualified as a duet for Rio!

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Kerri Strug, one of my favorite Olympians, was at this event as well! She spoke during a few of the breaks between the routines and gave the synchronized swimmers advice about the Olympics throughout the day.

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Kerri Strug competed at the 1992 Olympics and won a bronze medal in the team competition; however, her real Olympic moment happened at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Here’s a video on what happened:

 

Kerri Strug is a true Olympic hero and truly speaks to beauty of the Olympic Movement. I’m so happy that I was able to meet her and ask her a few questions for this blog. I asked her what her favorite part of the Olympic Movement was, and she replied that it was the athletes because they show everyone that achieving your dreams is possible. I also asked her if she was planning on going to the Olympics in Rio, and she said she wasn’t sure. She’s been to every Summer Olympics since Atlanta, but she usually doesn’t know until closer to the date.

She was only able to talk for a little because she had to leave for the airport, but I was so excited about every second of it. It’s amazing to have met one of the Olympic heroes that inspire me, and I think it’s awesome that she was able to help the aspiring U.S. Synchronized Swimming Olympic athletes. #SwimmingInInk was a success for U.S. Synchronized Swimming, Epson’s ecotank, and The Olympics of Blogs!

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Pins (And Their Place in the Olympic Movement)

In my parents’ house in Pennsylvania, they have frames filled with pins right above the computer. For a long time when I was growing up, I had no idea what they were for. However, it all clicked one day, and I realized that these were the pins my family had collected when we went to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

I was one at the time, so I don’t remember it, but my sister says it was really awesome. She told me that her pins were coveted because my mom had gotten Kodak pins that no one else had. Although I missed out on the pin-collecting fun at the Atlanta Games, I was able to experience my own pin-collecting fun this summer at the Special Olympics World Games.

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He was right outside of the LA Memorial Coliseum after the Opening Ceremony and would only trade for pins. People kept trying to buy them, but he kept refusing.

Amy, my supervisor at Special Olympics New York, gave me Special Olympics New York pins before I left. I’m so grateful that she did because I was able to trade those for really cool pins. Mine were highly desired because not many people there were from New York. From my experience, trading pins was a way to open up conversation and connect with people from anywhere. The pins bridged the gap between cultures and languages. Most of the delegations had pins from their countries with them, and it was a good way to approach a team and get to know them. Special Olympics athletes are so kind that usually they tried to give me their pins instead of trading. I always had to make sure that they also got pins from me.

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One of the coolest pin tradings happened on my last night as a volunteer. I was already done with my shift, and I was saying goodbye to everything at UCLA’s Wilson Plaza with my friend I had made during the Games. A man and a woman approached me and asked if I wanted to trade with them. They ended up trading me pins from the Atlanta 1996 Olympics! I traded some of my pins for an Atlanta Olympic pin, Paralympic pin, and a Diving pin. As I was talking with them, they told me they were Olympic historians, and they had been to 18 Olympics in total. They had actually just returned from the Pan Am Games, which happened in Toronto this summer. I got some advice from them about Rio, and I said I would see them there!

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Pins from the Fan Zone. We were giving them out for free- no trading necessary!

After I came back from the World Games, I wasn’t sure of what I should do with my pins. I definitely wanted to display them, so I could see them every day just like I could in my parents’ house. Eventually, I decided to arrange them on a bulletin board with my favorite photos from the Games. I just finished it this past week, and here’s the finished product:

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Thanks for reading! Please follow me for more updates on my Olympic journey!