Rita Wieber is the mother of World and US Champion Jordyn Wieber of Gedderts' Twistars USA in Michigan. Rita will be blogging about her experience throughout the Olympic Games. She most recently wrote a book, Gym Mom, giving you the ins and outs of the sport of womens gymnastics from the mom's persepective. Below is her latest blog post. For more from Rita, visit
Ten things I've learned being in London for the Olympics...
by: Rita Wieber
Well, one phase of our trip is over-- our family and friends have all left and now it's just our immediate family here for a few more days. I can't even imagine getting through the last week without my sister and her family and my BFF, Donna, and her family being here. They were not only fun to be with but supportive in every way.
Looking back over the past 10 days here-- I've come up with 10 Things that I have learned and observed about this experience to share..
1) The Brittish love peas. My children somehow came through childhood with the impression that peas were a form of punishment or penance. But here in London, peas seem to be very well liked- possibly even loved. Whether it be the "mushed peas" or just regular peas- they are a common side dish. Weird.
2) It is possible to not understand a single word of a conversation with someone speaking with a thick Brittish accent, even though they are, in fact, speaking English! This was very evident just last night where nine of us sat and listened to a nice Brittish gentlemen talk to us for 15-20 minutes. After he left, Dave thinks he might have been talking about a ship- but we aren't really sure.
3) There are only 4 or 5 trash recepticles in all of England- yet no one liters. Most days, many of us would be carrying around empty water bottles or other "rubbish" for most of the day waiting and waiting to find a trash can. There is one on the northeast corner of the London Bridge Tube stop if you need it.
4) It is dfficult to adjust to the "wrong side of the car and wrong side of the road" thing. On one trip across town I was freaking out because the driver was literally on her cell phone texting the whole way-- I coudn't believe she was being so unsafe transporting a whole carload of people. After several miles of panic- I realized the driver was on the other side of the car- very focused on his job.
5) I shouldn't talk to media. It appears that there is a formula used by journalists after i speak with them that involves taking every third word out, then converting my quotes to German, retranslating them back to English and then flipping everything upside down until it seems like what I said is what they want me to say... Then they print it with a dramatic headline that is typically the complete opposite of the main gist of everything I said. Not nice.
6) I will only use P&G products for the rest of my life! When Jordyn singed contracts with Proctor & Gamble- we were all very happy for her. But since then, we've learned that this amazing company is clearly the most supportive and generous- especially to families of Olympians here in London. In fact, I've had my make-up done in their salon so many times that I'm not sure I can go back to my regular life of having to perform this tedious task on my own...
7) Support feels great! No doubt, this Olypmics didn't play out as we all expected in respect to Jordyn's all-around quest. Yet, the outpouring of support and love for Jordyn during a difficult time showed me that the world is full of good. Thanks to everyone who sent such amazing texts, emails, posts, etc... It means more than you know.
8) After approximately 2 days, you start to forget that a pound isn't the same as a US dollar. Everything seems reasonably priced if you don't go to the bother of calculating the exchange rate. After a while a 9.99 pound burger seems normal- you forget that you would never spend $16 on the same burger at home...
9) You can't make the guards laugh. Trust me, we tried it. I did ask one guard to wiggle his left thumb if his "shift" was 2 hours to stand on guard- and, while it may have been a small muscle spasm, I think I saw him move his thumb. But laughing will never happen. Not even a smile.
10) There is no light beer in London! I'm not even going to Google the calorie count of the beer they have here- it could send me straight into shock. Fortunately, we've been lost so many times, all the extra walking has balanced it all out.
There you have it-- a little of what I've discovered here in London. Looking forward to more great performances by the US gymnasts in event finals-- GO USA!!
Categories: olympics 2012
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