Jair and Kermit
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Jair and Kermit
Jair and Kermit
After the match, Jair headed to Shanghai to be the Fourth Official for the August 9 matches between Argentina vs. Australia and Serbia vs. Ivory Coast.
We are still pumped up from the match and the realization that we are now officially Olympians! As you probably know, the game ended in a scoreless draw. Last night was an incredible experience! Wu Lihe Stadium is a beautiful brand new stadium redone specifically for the Olympics. The crowd in the stadium was quite loud and there were several moments during the match where our communication system was quite useful.
With a long way to go, we were the first crew to depart Beijing. Our fellow referees gave us a send off we will never forget, cheering and clapping for us. It was an unexpected moment of solidarity that reminded us we have a football family rooting for our success.
Upon arrival at Shenyang, we went on a short tour of the city and the Government Municipal Square. Many of the city residents take part in physical activities such as dancing, skateboarding, and jump roping on the square. In fact, there were a few thousand people at the square that night. Walking around the square was a perfect activity for us as we had a chance to see a local summer pastime and walking is a good way to loosen the muscles after flying.
We began preparing in earnest for the match by watching part of the World Cup Final from 2007 and discussing styles of play and strategies for dealing with specific situations. The next morning, we continued preparations with a pre-game at the hotel with our Argentinean fourth official. Veronicaʼs fluency in Spanish really came in handy to avoid misunderstandings in instructions.
We left for the stadium in a bus right behind Brazil and Germany.
While we waited for the bus, the Brazilian menʼs team departed to train and watch the match (Ronaldinho walked right past us!). With our police escort, we drove to the stadium while the locals waved.
Entering the stadium brought home the reality of participating in the Olympics. We went through the normal pregame preparations of walking the field and warming up, with the added step of testing the electronic equipment including the communication system, flags, and electronic sub board. We walked onto the field to the cheers of tens of thousands of fans. As the game began, we forced ourselves to ignore the distractions of the crowd and focus on the task at hand. Through the course of the game, we learned when to communicate vital information via the electronic system as well as when Kari was speaking to us and not to a player. At the end of the game, we were all drenched with sweat from the high heat and humidity. Although we were tired, we also experienced the exhilaration of working in a stadium with so many people, officiating the reigning World Cup champion and the runner up, and officiating at our first FIFA tournament. We were very fortunate to work our first game with a referee as experienced as Kari to help us with all the small protocols we never even thought of and calmed our nerves a bit with her confidence.
Monday, August 4, 2008
* The USA will be represented by a duo for the start of the group play for the Men which begins on Aug 7, 2008. Jair and Kermit will be working the match between Cameroon and Korea along with the second assistant Ricardo of Jamacia. This match will take place in the City on the coast called Qinhuangdao, at the Olympic Sports Center seating 32,000. Today we practiced using the communication system, as well as began mental preparation for this match.
We are thrilled and can't wait to kick-off this wonderful event with great performances by the USA officiating crews.Thank you everyone for all your support - go USA
Sunday, August 3, 2008
The sun was out and it was hot today, we’ve heard anywhere from 35-40 degrees Celsius (95-100 degrees Fahrenheit). Of course we are also told that is only at about 20 degrees humidity so there is a lot more heat where that came from. It was a bit hazy, but we could see the sun.
With the morning session out of the way, we had an opportunity to take an optional trip to the Forbidden City in the afternoon. This time we were able to go in. A huge and amazing facility. First used as a palace in 1368, it covers 720,000 square meters. (Yes, I bought a map with these fun facts).
Tonight was the night of the official FIFA Banquet (the first opportunity for us to sport our new Olympic “uniforms”) so we kept our touring to a manageable time. Many of FIFA’s most important people, as well as some representatives of the IOC were in attendance at tonight’s dinner. It was an enjoyable meal with over 200 people in attendance. Everyone looked great in their blue and white suits.
We are headed off to bed. Any questions just let us know….
We want to thank all of you for the kind words and support through our Olympic experience.