July 7, 2013
Editor's Note: This is the second entry in the World University Games Team Blog for K-State Volleyball. The Wildcats are representing Team USA at the Games in Kazan, Russia. Photos, Blogs and Videos will be posted throughout the 10-day trip from the team. Today's entry is written by senior Courtney Cook.
July 6 – Courtney Cook
Today, we started the day by getting up early in Moscow to catch our flight to Kazan. It was only a short flight, but when we got to Kazan we couldn’t believe what we saw. As we got off the plane, over 20 World University Game volunteers greeted us. The people of Kazan are so kind and welcoming! They were waving and whistling and even hugging us like we were celebrities!
Our next stop was to the University Village. We arrived there and began to settle in. We got a run down of the village by our Russian dorm manager, Kirill. He showed us a map of the village. It has absolutely EVERYTHING an athlete could every want or need. All of the buildings are brand new, and seem like they were built yesterday. We can eat, shop, go to movies, work out in a brand new weight room, and exchange money all in one area. And the best part…everything is free to the athletes and coaches in the village.
Now, if you know me personally, you know I love food. So, I have to talk about the food at the University Games. The cafeteria in the University Village is absolutely amazing. The first time our team walked in, we were in shock. There are so many choices of different foods around the world. They have different sections for salad, Asian, European, pasta, pizza, local foods, breakfast, desert and much to my teammates’ excitement, McDonalds! And guess what else? It’s open 24 HOURS! We are in food heaven.
The last thing I have to talk about is opening ceremonies. Our group leader immediately informed us that our group is the first large group of American athletes to compete in Russia in over 30 years, and that we are making history. What an honor! This was an experience that my teammates and I will never forget. We got the opportunity to go through the tunnel and walk out in front of over 50,000 screaming sports fans in the beautiful Kazan arena.
To be able to represent your country on such a large scale is the most humbling and exciting thing an athlete can ever experience. It made me feel so proud to be an American.
After we walked through opening ceremonies, we got to watch the show. It was just like the Olympics! Words cannot describe how beautiful the lights and choreographed dancers were as they moved together in unison. The music was also strikingly beautiful, sung by Russia’s most famous opera singers. Near the end of the ceremony, the University Games flame was used to light and begin the grand finale. Fireworks boomed over us, as the University Games flame burned in the middle of the arena. The 2013 World University Games had officially begun!! We can’t wait to get on the court and play for the United States of America!