In her latest post on her website, Maria Michta gave us an insider's look at what it's like to live inside the Olympic Village; that place we all read about and hear about every four years, but never quite realize how elaborate it really is. Below is an excerpt from her post. Post-script: We don't want that couch she's sitting on...we need that couch she's sitting on!
Unlike many of the crazy stories floating around in the media leading up to the games about the Olympic Village being more like a club filled with sexy athletes, hyped up on nerves, adrenaline surging through their bodies, in desperate need and ready to let loose it's much more of a laid back, subdued college campus kind of feel where the dress code is athletic casual and everyone has enormous "school" pride. It's not open to the media, and gaining access is a quite challenge, passes for family or friends are limited to four per athlete for the entire games, and must be requested 48hrs in advance, require a background screen, and are not guaranteed. In fact you specifically need a credential just to be able to leave the Village, unless of course you don't plan on returning.
The Large Olympic Rings, perfect for picture posing, with a glimpse of athlete dorming in background
Once inside you can view the athlete living quarters, walk around, perhaps be lucky to catch a glimpse of someone famous and of course take a tourist picture under the giant Olympic rings. If you were planning on eating in the dining hall be ready to shell out 20pounds for the largest cafeteria style buffet you will ever witness. Other than that its a place to call home for about 2 weeks, a place to come back to after training sessions, a places to gab with one another between events while watching on TV fellow teammates and countrymen compete, it's a place to "relax" while nervously contemplating one's upcoming performance.
The accomodations are just fine, the beds neutral, the lack of AC only noticed the first few hot days, the rooms always freshened, the staff always attentive, courtious, and smiling. The food is available 24hrs around the clock, with a selection of food from all over the world, all enthicities represented every meal everyday. The food while "ethnic" is still a caferteria verision of the real authentic cusine that each athlete left behind back home. It needs to be salted and seasoned to one's own taste. It is always prepared fresh and served hot. It has thankfully agreed with my sensitive stomach while leaving me craving good old NY style pizza and bagels.
The McDonalds in the Village is free all day all the time to the athletes. It is a tease and temptation for many reservered for post competition while others indulge more frequently...I'm not judging I'm just saying. I have surprisingly enjoyed the Indian food selection the most, and have heavily relied on bread, brie, and humus as staples at almost every meal.
The pasta is disappointingly cooked in oil and too oily for my stomach. Overall, it has suited me fine and I look forward to indulging in a chocolate croissant after competing! The beverages are just perfect with a selection of water, juice, powerade, and assorted coke products not to mention the coffee and teas. I personally love the apple juice because it tastes more like the apple cider I get after apple picking back home! I have also more recently been drinking the peppermint tea after dinner because the evenings are pretty cool here in London.
Read more of this post by visiting her webpage, mariamichta.com.