A few memories

Hello Champs,

I apologize for not keeping the entries rolling while in London. With all the excitement, and the lack of consistent wifi, I had a tough time keeping up.

Let’s try to get on track.


A few memories from the games

When it hit me

The first full day we had in London, Shannon and I decided to do as much sight-seeing as we could. The first stop was Buckingham Palace. We didn’t realize that the palace was the location of one of the sports, the race-walk. Now I am sure a lot of you just read the sport and laughed while you did. The race-walk has always been the curling of the summer games. The idea of walking fast, hips popping left and right, is one the leaves many to scratch their heads. I had the exact same feeling… until I saw it in person… at the Olympic Games.

As Shannon and I got closer to the course, the noise grew. The course barricades were covered in vinyl, and each time walkers passed, the fans would bang on the vinyl and cheer the racers on. Just being there, hearing and feeling that excitement, was exhilarating. The thought ‘I cannot believe I am at the Olympics’ ran through my head on a loop.



The venues

To call any one of the competition arenas a venue does not do it justice. They were cathedrals. Each one was simple, yet perfect. And each one awe-inspiring.

And my true favorite…

After the pentathlon finished, Suzanne came up into the stands to see all of us in her cheering section. As soon as she emerged from the tunnel leading to the stands, everyone (not just us) turned. She came down, hugged everyone, and shared with us the excitement of the day. Two things come into play here. One, watching the five sports of the pentathlon on tv does not do it justice. We spent the entire day riding a wave of emotions, from wins in the fencing, to watching Suzanne ride a horse that didn’t cooperate, to the staggered start on the run/shoot. You are there, experiencing it all. Second, as a coach you have a connection, you are invested. When an athlete you work with finds success or disappointment, you feel it. When an athlete you work with competes in the Olympic Games, you feel it so much more. As we are talking with Suzanne, and showering her with pride, I could see over Suzanne’s shoulder a little girl standing still. She was patiently waiting, with pen and paper, for Suzanne to turn to ask for an autograph. She wasn’t the only one to ask for an autograph or a picture, but because she was the first that day, in the excitement of everything, I felt like I swallowed a golf ball.



And that is it for now.


First day

Hello Champs

Dear McDaniel,

The closing ceremony is one day away. Should we just go to will-call for our tickets?


My wife and I have four kids. Some days they test our patience. During our flight here we were lucky enough to spend some time with a young girl who took the test to another level. During our seven hours we were serenaded with this two-year old’s only word (please read: sound)… Nah. Some of the others in our party debated the actual word, but being as I was in the row directly behind this young lady, I am going with a sharp ‘nah’.

After getting settled in our hotel, Avis, Damien (Suzanne’s fencing coach), and I headed to the Proctor and Gamble house to meet up with Suzanne.The P&G house is a place for athletes to met up with friends and family; you just have to be ‘on the list’. Lucky for me, Suzanne likes me enough to grant me access.

After picking up a considerable amount of all things Proctor and Gamble, we headed back to our hotel, giving Suzanne a chance to meet up with her family, who she hasn’t seen in months.

The big day is tomorrow, and Suzanne is itching to race. Fencing starts the day-long competition at 8:00a. I will be in two competitions of my own; the first with trying to out-post our SID with live results (I think being here gives me the edge). The second one is in the Twitter-sphere with Suzanne. Her number of followers has sky-rocketed this last month, or so. I guess being Olympian helps with this popularity thing.

Shannon and I are headed this today to take in London. It’s going to be a great day.

If there are any typos, etc. please forgive me. I am using an iPad to type this…aggravating to say the least.

Keep it real,


London calling


Hello Champs.

Dear McDaniel,

Suzanne posted this the morning after the opening ceremonies:


After a long night at #OpeningCeremonies hope my swim coach can join me at #closingceremony

We can’t deny the olympian her wish, can we?


I would like to take a moment in this post to extend the largest congratulations I can muster to Coach Bob Bowman, and Michael Phelps. Over the course of 4 Olympic Games, 24 events, 22 medals, 18 of them gold. Absolutely phenomenal!

Again, congratulations!


Frances Merryman sent this note to me last week. Frances is Suzanne’s father’s cousin.

Did you know that Suzanne’s cousin, Tamara McKinney, skied on 3 Olympic teams for the US – only US woman to win the overall World Cup?

I do now, Frances. Pretty cool fact. Congratulations to Tamara!


And from Joanne Fry (mother of recent graduate, Jess)

We are all sooooo excited for you and Suzanne!!! You are making us proud. Give Suzanne a big hug for us!!
The Frys of Georgia

I would like to respond to this one. Joanne, I’ll let you know that Suzanne is already in debt with ‘hugs from Jeff’. She received one on Senior Day, one at the Conference Championships, and knowing full-well she hit her limit, she ambushed me with one the night before she left for Colorado. I will however, pass along the note.


And finally, our question of the week. This one comes from Tanner’s (one of my boys) art teacher:

Are you excited? Does a bear…

I am very excited. I am planning to go with as little sleep as possible.


I am going to keep this post short. I am on a shortened, family vacation as I type this. We have been trying to enjoy a week-long vacation in the Outer Banks for the past three years. Two years ago we had to leave early to bring my oldest son back in time for his middle-school orientation. Last year we got kicked out due to the hurricane that came through. We thought we were smart in scheduling our week earlier this year, but here comes the opportunity to attend the Olympic Games. Big opportunity.


My wife and I, along with the other coaches, and Suzanne’s family, leave for London on August 9th. I will post as many entries as I can while there, but I am sure with all the excitement, they will be much shorter than what I have posted so far. I will also use twitter as much as I can (@McDanielSwim). If you would like to follow Suzanne, @sstettinius


Suzanne is in Poland right now, putting the finishing touches on her training. The morning after the Opening Ceremony, the US pentathlon team flew out to Poland to train in a quieter environment. From the emails, and texts she has sent me, she is setting herself up very well. She will fly back to London on the 9th, and compete on the 12th.

Let’s get together and shout from the hilltops, “GO SUZANNE!”.


Have a great week everyone,