Published July 3, 2008
Since there is a 3 hour time difference, my daily log needs to actually reflect part of Wednesday night's activities. Wednesday was my first experience staying in a dorm room since my early college days some 30 years ago. Adriane's mother Rae and I decided to stay on campus instead of a hotel and it was not only an economical decision but a beneficial one as well. We only paid $59.00 a night for our double dorm room but that also included 3 meals a day in the dining hall. But the best part about it was the experience of being right on campus, surrounded by many professional athletes and coaches who had chosen their accomodations the same way. And the famous Hayward Field is only a 5 minute walk from our dorm.
Adriane had decided to get some early rest in preparation for her debut on Thursday. Rae and I decided with it being such a beautiful night to take a walk on campus. We first visited the festival which surrounds the entire outside of the stadium with many tents of vendors. There are big screen televisions showing replays of the previous days competitions. One race being replayed many times was the outstanding 800 meter men's race which from what everyone told me just electrified the hometown crowd as all three top men had connections with Oregon. Tuesday and Wednesday have been rest days for the athletes.
As we were still walking on campus, we ran into some local Ohio connections. The Reedy brothers, born and raised in Lowellville have been here since the first day of competition and have become wonderful supporters of Rae and Adriane. Actually, it started back in November when George Reedy, who now resides in Austintown, saw Adriane's spaghetti dinner fund-raiser published in The Vindicator and after reading her story decided he and his wife, Diane wanted to attend. Since his brothers Art and Bill had invited him to attend this year's trials, George felt it was a great opportunity to meet a local competitor and to also help support Adriane. Art and Bill have been attending many Trials and this is the first for George. Months after the dinner, George called Rae to see how he could get some "Blewitt Backer" t-shirts for he and his brothers to wear out here in support of Adriane.
The generosity of the Valley community became even more prevalent to me tonight as we conversed with some athletes as they were passing by as we sat on campus. It is one thing to have a major sponsor like Nike or adidas paying for everything but when you don't have that, you find your own support system. A few of these athletes we talked to didn't have the means for that and were amazed to hear how much Adriane's community has supported her. One young discus thrower said he received $5,000 from his town, but was inspired to hear that $28,000 was raised for Adriane and said to me "what a tribute to your community." Another tribute to our community is our hometown boxing hero, Kelly Pavlik. Rae and I wore our bright green "Blewitt Backer" t-shirts and on the back we have autographs from both Adriane and Kelly. One man was so impressed about having Kelly's signature on our back that he said we should frame the shirt. After I explained what Kelly did in attending Adriane's spaghetti dinner fund-raiser, they were even more impressed with their boxing hero.
It is now Thursday morning, the day of Adriane's semi-final competition. Rae and I must go to the Nike hospitality room to pick up the specially made uniform that she will wear tonight. And once again, as we open up the box to see the uniform, the support of the community jumps out at you. On this Oregon green Nike uniform is the special logo of Second Sole in bright yellow colors. And once again, it's a Valley community person, Steve Hixson, owner of Second Sole who is responsible for this uniform and other gear that Nike has been providing to Adriane for the past six months. Steve asked them to make her a new uniform just for The Trials and it was just delivered today. Rae and I immediately took it over to Adriane's dorm and she too was elated with the generosity of Steve, his store and Nike. So tonight as she throws, she is very proud to be representing Second Sole.
It is Thursday afternoon and Adriane went over to the track to just do a light jog and get herself mentally prepared for competition. When asked how she felt, she replied, "I'm very excited about the energy here in Eugene and I'm ready to compete tonight." As she went back to her dorm to get some dinner, her mother Rae went to a vendor in the Festival who makes buttons with athletes pictures on them. So there will be a number of us in the stands tonight, not only with our bright green "Blewitt Backer" t-shirts but also with our "Blewitt Buttons!" Rae also just received a phone call from one of Adriane's fellow high school throwing teammates, Erin Yosay who has just arrived from Atlanta to be in support of Adriane tonight. Weather conditions are beautiful for tonight's competition and I feel very privleged to be a part of another former athlete's success at such an event as the Olympic Trials. I attended the '92 and '96 Trials in support of Laurie Gomez Henes and those were very special times as well. I feel very lucky as a coach to have two young ladies in my career who have allowed me to have such memorable experiences. Obviously, I never would have been at these events if it weren't for their success. GO ADRIANE!
— Denise Gorski