Thanks to an amazing hook up (shout out to Kelly Lucey!!!) the two of us were able to attend the Oprah Olympic Special at Millennium Park last week. Though we began our adventure feeling like the ultimate Chicago VIPs, we ended up waiting in line with thousands of additional VIPs, which made us feel slightly more “common.” Nonetheless, at 9:00 a.m. we began to file into the Millennium Park amphitheatre to take our seats with the rest of the red-wristbanded crowd.

Despite the rehearsed, piercing screams of, “We love you Chris Paul,” from a group of overzealous teens seated directly in front of us, there was a relatively calm in the audience as we anxiously awaited the processional of Olympic medalists. In a twist of fate, I (Susie) had to use the rest room right before the medalists were introduced. As I scurried back to my seat desperate to catch every minute, I walked right past the line of Olympians who were waiting to take the stage. None other than Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin made direct eye contact with me as she mouthed, “I’m so nervous!” to a fellow Olympian. And that’s when I passed out…

Just Kidding! Take it away Allison…

Well thank GOD Susie made it back in time! Just as she was getting back to her seat (as she always has a tendency to run to the bathroom right before something exciting is about to take place) red, white and blue confetti started shooting out into the crowd and here came the Olympians! As a huge sports fan with a long history of competitive swimming and running, the Olympic season is always an amazing time for me. And to be able to cheer as these stars walked right past me was beyond belief. I had just spent the last two weeks biting my nails and sitting on the edge of my couch watching these athletes do the impossible – and now to have them all in the same place at the same time…INCREDIBLE!!!

For the next hour, Susie and I watched as Shawn Johnson, Dara Torres, Kobe Bryant, Michael Phelps and many more relived their experiences in Beijing. Their stories were so inspiring that it made me want to get back on the track, back in the pool…or at least just back to the gym!

In addition to the actual athletes themselves, some of the most exciting things to see were the medals! We were all curious to see if we would be able to catch a glimpse of the hardware. As one fellow Oprah-goer asked before the show, “Will they be bringing their Olympic trophies?” Well, they forgot their trophies, but medals were definitely worn proudly. We even got up close and personal with them when many of the athletes flooded the audience after the show!

Yes, we got up much earlier than we like to, and yes we waited in the longest line ever, but it was worth every minute. Susie and I had the best time ever and were so excited help welcome home the Olympians in our very own city!!!Susan Schreiber, Publicist
Allison P. Evans, Director of Business Development