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Team USA Continues Prep for Olympic Opener on Saturday

Team USA spent the last couple of days in Istanbul to get ready for London.

July 25, 2012

Istanbul Photo Gallery

July 18 Video With President Obama

"Ready or Not, Here We Come"

Entry #3 | July 25, 2012 | En Route from Istanbul to London

Greetings Husky Fans from the skies of Europe.  Right now we are en route to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Since beating Great Britain on July 18 in Manchester England, the USA Basketball Women's National Team has been moving non-stop towards its goal of Olympic gold.  After practice on July 19, the team was treated to a USA Men's game vs Great Britain.  Seated right behind the US bench (in another “pinch me is this really happening” experience), the team got a firsthand look at the pure athleticism our Men's team has to offer as we witnessed a game full of high flying dunks and 3-pointers.  The men won the game easily, 118-78.

The next day, the teams parted ways for a bit as the men flew to Barcelona to take on Argentina and Spain, while we traveled to Istanbul to take on Croatia and Turkey.  The women took care of Croatia pretty easily, while Turkey proved to be quite the challenge.

“The Turkey game was a really good test for us,” said team veteran Sue Bird.  “Sometimes you need to have games like that to really understand what you need to work on and where you need to improve.  This is a team that hasn’t been together very long, so we certainly need that.”

The two days following the game against Turkey were no rest for the weary.  The team continued to gel as a unit practicing hard both days.

“Turkey is a great basketball country,” said Head Coach Geno Auriemma.  “They have a history of great basketball. Being able to come here, and play two games and have two practices and be away from all the craziness has really helped us.  This has become like a mini training camp for us.”

Although much of our time in Turkey was spent in Istanbul’s Basketball Arena, Turkey proved to be more than just basketball.  It was another opportunity for the team to bond on and off the court.  During their free time, some of the players and staff were able to check out the sights and sounds of Istanbul.  Some visited Turkey’s world famous bazars, Mosques, and Ayasofya, while others chose to spend their time relaxing in their rooms, attending team Chapel, or hanging out by the hotel pool.

“Turkey has been great,” said Bird.  “It was good to get here.  It’s a beautiful country, beautiful weather, and both on and off the court it’s been a great trip.”

Regardless of how down-time was enjoyed, the team all agreed on one thing.  The food in Turkey was incredible. 

“My overall experience in Turkey has been great food,” said team rookie, Maya Moore.  “They have awesome meat and their salads are excellent.”

So as I sit here on the plane to London, pondering what lies in front of me the next few weeks, I can’t help but relish in the memories that we’ve created.  It’s a blessing to be a part of this team and the experience; and I’m grateful for the opportunity to help Coach Auriemma and his assistants in any way I can.  The video needs of the team have increased dramatically over the past few days, as the assistants continue to study their upcoming opponents, even now while sitting on the plane. 

Most people only get to see the final product of all of our hard work when it is publically displayed on their televisions at home.  I am grateful to be seeing firsthand all of the behind-the-scenes moving parts that make USA Basketball the leader in the basketball world.

So enjoy the next few weeks, Husky fans.  It will be a treat to watch 12 of the best players in the world come together as a true team.  They will take on the greatest players in the game, on the world’s biggest stage; and you were fortunate enough to cheer for six of them already during their college careers.

I end this entry with one question.  Does anyone know where I can find a Laundromat in London?