Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tyson Gay made my day

Today we interviewed Sharrieffa Barksdale, the Event Manager of USA Track and Field. Because she was with us, we were able to get a great backdrop of the Olympic Village! 

This is the Olympic Village. I'm surprised that I never saw it before because it is right by the shopping mall that we go to too often. You have to be with a differently credentialed person to get back here. It was pretty cool! Photo by Becca Price.

For this segment Will was the talent and I am responsible for the print story. This is Sharrieffa, a former Olympian and current Event Manager for USA Track and Field. Photo taken by Cameron Hassler.

She had an infectious laugh and warm personality and was very inspiring. She is genuine in her beliefs that she qualified for the '84 games by the grace of God. Partway through the setup she mentions that she'll get Tyson to talk to us. Wait. What?

Five minutes later, who strolls by?

Tyson Gay, Sharrieffa and Will. Photo taken by Becca Price. I really wanted to take a pic but I had to stay calm and take notes.

He even gave us a shout out.

Day made.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Strangely Strange

Somedays strange things just happen. Here are the things that happened to me and my group today:

1.) We were told by city officials how to get alcohol without asking them to tell us. We were simply taking a picture in Westminster. (To be completely honest, we don't want to know!)

2.) We met an Egyptian swimmer who swims for Southern Illinois University, where a friend of mine's dad swam and the coach knew him. 

This is Courtney, Egyptian swimmer Mazen Aziz, his coach Rick Walker and me outside of Buckingham palace.

3.) We took the wrong way every time. On accident. We were always on the wrong side of the fence!

4.) Becca found her cousin unexpectedly while shooting a segment. She knew he was in London but there were no plans for today!

  This is Becca and her cousin whose name I do not remember.

5.) While shooting b-roll footage, Garrett Weber-Gale, a 2008 Olympic swimmer who was on the relay that made the comeback, walked by. I didn't realize it was him until it was too late. He was representing his company, Athletic Foodie.

6.) While shooting a package, a man asked to take a picture with Becca and me because he thought we were Irish. We're pretty sure it was her Ireland sweatshirt and my green cardigan paired with my red hair. After telling him that I wasn't, in fact, Irish he still asked for one for his pub. 

7.) After passing a bunch of USA swim fans, I said "swimming!" and a scary man on the corner asked if I was a marijuana user. (Not to disappoint you, but I am not.) The conversation went like this:
"Do you smoke marijuana?"
"You're American"
"So you smoke marijuana" 
I was then saved by the walking man signal on the crosswalk.

8.) We got an Austrian table tennis player to try Ale-8 for a segment. Of the five people who tried it for us, most people had positive experiences. Ale-8 is a Kentucky soft drink that is essentially ginger ale. Most people were disappointed that it was not beer because they were thrown off by its green bottle. 

9.) Our WLEX page is bursting with stuff. Check out this quick clip on fencer, Lee Kiefer. That may not be strange...

10.) The possibility for purchasing swimming tickets has arrived. Cross your fingers! 


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Strangely Warmed

My formative years coincided with my dad's seminary years. I have a feeling that most kids aren't quizzed on Methodist trivia or what songs Charles Wesley wrote at the dinner table or on the way to school (while the John-boy and Billy show was on, I might add). Today, I went with my friends Courtney and Will to a church service at John Wesley's chapel in downtown London. 

This was taken yesterday when we missed the tour. It was taken with love by Cameron, a member of our team. 

Interestingly enough, Wesley's Chapel partnered with the Leysian Mission in the 80s and the two distinct styles of worship are blended in a church service that I incorrectly assumed would be super frozen-chosen traditional. Afterwards we were invited for refreshments and enjoyed some tea and biscuits before we snooped around the property. 

The stained glass windows were beautiful and the panels beneath them displayed creeds that we affirm regularly.

Aldersgate Street in downtown is where Wesley felt the Holy Spirit in a way that made his heart feel "strangely warmed". Wesley's Chapel is not located on Aldersgate Street.

Wesley's pulpit with a spiral staircase. 

Afterwards we went back to our house and attempted to work on assignments but Courtney and I ended up falling asleep. I am still not on London time! We later found ourselves in the Lego store and made people for each of the members of our group there. 

Where am I?

Today was a nice day to reset and accomplish some assignments but tomorrow starts another day of packages!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

I'm feeling very Olympic today

Earlier today Becca, one of my friends here, posted the Cool Runnings clip "I'm feeling very Olympic today" in honor of the beginning of the games. Today I felt particularly olympic as I attended my very first Olympic event:  Women's Fencing. I know that you're probably thinking "what's so cool about fencing?" but let me just say, the event was engaging and the atmosphere was full of energy in and around the ExCel Arena. Even though it wasn't swimming, I was hooked. 

This is a match between USA fencer N. Prescod and Hungary's A. Mohamed. Prescod did not make it past this round. 

It was so fun seeing different nations represented in the arena. Jane (who I attended the match with) and I met a variety of people from all over the world!

This is Jane. Follow her at janeloveswords.blogspot.com! This man from Thailand said that he loved her and from the looks of it, the guy in the back did, too!

This is the Queen and Mr. Bean, what an honor to meet them ;).

These are some very colorfully dressed men from Brazil and me. 

Here is a French mom helping her daughter paint up!

Tonight also had its share of adventures. We met a man who takes pictures of his stuffed animal squirrel and rat around London for a Facebook page. It started out strange and turned towards creepy but fear not, we are safe. We also were eating dinner at the mall's food court because everything closes so early here when the security alarm went off and partitions started coming from the ceiling. The automated voice eerily told us to get out. Panicked, we ran. After finally finding an exit (they are not marked as well here), we got the all clear signal. Don't worry Mom, we are just fine!

Also, a Lexingtonian, Lee Keifer fenced today and I got a shot of her and Jane wrote the short copy. Check it out here!

Tomorrow we may go to John Wesley's church for a service. Makin' my Methodists proud ;)


Friday, July 27, 2012


You know the the little torch-chasing thing I told you about? Well, it's up today! Check it and some of the other stuff out on LEX18's Asbury University at the Olympics page. It's cool to see our packages come to life. 

Today we focused on completing packages and writing articles. After a long day of staring at our computer screens, we tried to catch the Opening Ceremonies at Trafalgar Square. However, the screen that we thought would be there wasn't there, so we enjoyed the patriotic atmosphere surrounding the countdown clock that was at the square. A large group of rowdy Americans were shouting "USA! USA! USA!" with their red, white and blue garb and Budweiser products in hand. Nearby the French sat posed with their Flag and a group from Mexico was cheering and dancing. As I was getting a sense of everything going on, the clouds opened up and we started to get really wet. (Not as bad as Kentucky rain, though, or Florida's thunderstorms for that matter!) We ended up taking the tube back to our cute house and turned on the BBC. I'm still waiting for the Americans to walk in!

Here is a poor, unsuspecting man in front of the countdown clock in Trafalgar's square.

And for the big exciting news.....

I get to see fencing tomorrow!! Our school got us tickets. I am so excited!

Day 3=productive and exciting. So fun.

:) Hillary

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Catching the torch and some fish

Today we started with a goal:  find the torch. It was paraded around London today and ended up in Hyde Park because the Opening Ceremony is tomorrow. We caught the torch at two stops: Sloane Square and Downing Street (where the Prime Minister lives). At the first stop, we just saw it go by but at the second stop, we were surprised by the wealth of knowledge that a very patriotic man dressed up on the street gave us like the fact that U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney was behind the very gates we were standing across from. Who knew?

This is David Weeks. He dresses up in honor of all of the major events in England. His last trip up from his home several hours away was for the Royal Wedding. He likes to share his joy and knowledge of England with others. 

After catching the torch, which you can see on our WLEX site when it's posted, we worked on a bunch of human interest stories around downtown London. It was really cool to see the iconic structures in real life. 

Here is my team working on a video package for WLEX.

We finished up our day with a meal in Borough Market and of course, we got fish and chips. It. Was. Yummy. 

Bottled coke, fish and chips with salt and vinegar. Mmm.

Thus concludes day two. :)


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We made it!

 Yesterday my group left Lexington, Ky for London! For me it was more stressful than normal because in addition to packing, which I hate, I also had to move out of my on-campus apartment that I had been living in this summer. Luckily, I was blessed by being able to move directly into my dorm room. Phew!

My friend Courtney and her mom, Alesia picked me and Phillip up to go to the airport. On our way to get food, a member of our group who was at the airport called to inform us that our first flight from Lexington to Chicago was delayed due to weather, making it nearly impossible to catch our international flight. The airline had switched her flight, and after calling the airline, the airline had agreed to switch my flight too. Courtney, however, was not as successful with her airline operator. Because of this, we decided to wait to switch our flights until we were at the airport and after the kiosk clerk switched us, we were good to go.

This is Courtney and me on our international flight before we were squished by the people ahead of us.

On our first flight, we found a friend who was an incoming UK freshman going to see the equestrian events in London. She joined our group as we got lost in O'Hare and even took turns as we went off in small groups to get food and use the restroom. We lost her after customs in Heathrow.

Here is our group +Ali, in baggage claim in Heathrow.

While getting our bags, the Olympic team from Croatia was getting theirs!

We then were joined by our Prof and took taxis to our cute house in London! I swear that the taxi ride took an eternity. We were all so tired and hungry that it was an adventure, to say the least. While on the way, we drove through downtown and saw some sights. Here is a pic from the cab. Better pics to come, I promise!

Left is Big Ben, right is the London Eye. Taken from taxi cab.

We finally got out of our taxi! (to the right)

Our humble abode complete with pretty flowers!

That's all for tonight, folks! It's late here and I am so, so jet lagged. 
See ya later!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hello, world!

 After spending my formative years being dragged to the beach as a part of my mom's to-the-beach-once-a-week plan, seeing the Disney classic, The Little Mermaid, changed my world. Ariel made life under the sea glamorous, with her flowing red hair and fun fish confidant, Flounder. Instead of dreading the goopy sunscreen application, I was strapping myself into my car seat with anticipation hours before it was time to go. (Don't worry, my mom humored me and opened all of the doors of our minivan while I did this.) I wanted to be a mermaid.

Pre-K Halloween photo by my dad

Now, after years of beach-going, swim lessons and swim practices, I am about as close to a mermaid as my Pre-K self could have imagined. While the seaweed is definitely greener in the movie than in the competition pool, I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

So here are the over-chlorinated musings of a journalism student whose life is spent in two worlds. I hope you enjoy!