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August 9, 2008 – My Olympic Experience…

…isn’t over yet!
 
I competed today and now it is 10:15pm here in China and I am exhausted. 
 
After getting back from the opening ceremonies last night at 11pm or so, I slept a little bit, and weighed in at 7am. After I ate I went back to my room and rested for a minute and took the 10 o’clock bus over to the venue. Started warming up at 11:15 or so for my big match against Tani.
 
I wasn’t really nervous as much as I was excited competing against her.  In my mind I had built her up to be super-human because of all her accomplishments, but in reality, she was just like you and me.  One thing I definitely have to say is that she is a very smart, experienced player.  Once she scored a yuko on me, she wasn’t going to take ANY chances and was playing very cautious.  This is what smart judo players do when they have the lead.
 
Nonetheless, I lost the match, but I felt like I gave it my all.  I was able to hang the whole time with the legendary Tamura and what a way to experience my first Olympic Games!
 
After my match with her, I fought a strong Chinese girl in the loser’s bracket.  We were even until the last minute when I got thrown for ippon with a cross leg grab.  I just lost my focus for two split seconds and got caught.  It only takes a few seconds for a mistake like that to cost you the match, and in this case, it did.
 
All in all, I am happy that I competed the way I did, but still dissapointed that I lost.  For me, it doesn’t matter if its a local tournament or the Olympics, losing is still dissapointing.  But I feel like I gave it my best effort and thats all I could do. 
 
The competition still has 6 more days to go and I am looking forward to seeing such great judo. 
 
I’ll write more to you soon.
 
Thanks for all your messages!
 
Sayaka
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