• Maddie Phaneuf

2018 Winter Olympic Games - Part 1

Hi everybody! Sorry for the lack of blogging...It's much easier for me to do quick updates via Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat (@maddiephan). So if you have any of those accounts, be sure to follow me there as well!

We traveled to South Korea a little over a week ago, a 10ish hour flight straight from Germany. The flight wasn't terrible, but it was long, and I didn't sleep well on the plane. I did try a traditional Korean dish on the plane, called Bibimbap, which was delicious!

Once we arrived in Seoul, we went through a station where we got our Olympic Credentials, then we waited for our luggage to arrive. Luckily it all showed up, where it was picked up by the Olympic Committee and brought directly to the Olympic Village so we didn't have to deal with it at all while we went through Team Processing.

Team Processing is something you must do as an athlete before arriving at the actual Olympics. Basically you get all of your Team USA gear, along with getting your Team USA headshot, answer some media questions, get a ton of free stuff, and go through a Team Ambassador program. The whole thing was a really cool experience. I felt like a celebrity in the Nike and Ralph Lauren stations, where we tried on all of our clothes to make sure it all fit. At one point, I was being dressed by two women, and a third pops up from the back and starts putting on and tying my boots for me. It was incredible. I soaked it all up, considering I probably won't be treated this way ever again, unless I find myself at another Olympics one day!

Trying on the Closing Ceremoines outfit at the Ralph Lauren station!

They had a tailor on site in case any of the clothes didn't fit correctly..

Just a fraction of the Team USA luggage!

After Team Processing, we loaded up and headed to the Olympic Village in PyeongChang! The Village is basically a bunch of apartment buildings for all of the Olympic Athletes (and most of the staff) to live during the Olympics. They have a 24 hour dining hall on site, laundry rooms, recreation centers to relax at, a grocery store, a Samsung store, a nail/hair salon, an Olympic merchandise store...and much more! It's truly crazy how much stuff they have in here.

At the hair salon...met the First Lady of South Korea (in the very middle)

We also have our own Athlete Resource Center in our building, only for Team USA athletes, where we can grab cereal/snacks, hang out on couches and watch the Games from the TV, and hang out with other athletes. Team USA does a great job making this place feel like home.

Jonne and Marci putting up our black-out shades. Since we're racing at night, our sleep schedule is from 2am-12pm it's nice to not get woken up by the sun at 7am!

The weather here so far has been drastically different from the last time I was here (last year, in March). It's usually in the teens, and the wind has been howling all we are very cold while we're training! It also makes for tricky shooting conditions at the venue, since the wind is so strong and it can change directions as well. Last year, it was a lot warmer and the wind was not as bad, so we weren't really expecting this at all!

Freezing, but happy to be here!

You know it's cold when I'm wearing my buff all the way up my neck!

Photo by Getty

My favorite item we receieved, the onesie, keeping me warm!

There's not a lot of natural snow, almost none, but they did a very good job at making enough man-made snow. The course is fast and hard packed, so it should make for great racing! There have already been two biathlon events, I didn't get the opportunity to race yet, but it has been fun cheering on my teammates!

Another amazing experience I've had on this trip so far is being able to march in the Opening Ceremonies! This has always been a dream of mine, and I'm so thankful the Olympic Stadium was so close to our Village. We got to walk in with Team USA, wave at all the cameras, and then hopped right on the bus to head back home. Since the rest of my teammates were racing the next day, our coaches allowed us to participate in the Opening Ceremonies, but didn't want us to stay out in the cold so long. Since I was the reserve athlete for the Sprint, and Susan was fighting a cold, they wanted me to be prepared to race just in case somebody couldn't start.

Notice: Slideshow above! Don't miss out on all the Opening Ceremony photos

Although I was the reserve athlete for the first races, I have been told by my coaches earlier today that I will get to race the 15 km Individual!!! I'm so happy and excited to be racing my very first Olympic race!! It starts at 8:05 pm Korean Time on Wednesday the 14th, which is 6:05 am EST Wednesday morning. I'm sure I'll be one of the later starters, and I'm not sure how much TV coverage I'll get, but if you're up early and want to watch LIVE...tune in!

Shooting on the range

Photo by Getty

I've been so thankful for all the hometown (and world wide!) support I've been getting leading up to, and during, these Olympics! I feel so loved, and I can't wait to see what Wednesday brings for me. I'll be going into the race with zero expectations. I just want to enjoy the whole experience, do my best, and see what happens!


Currently listening to: Good Old Days (feat. Kesha) by Macklemore

- MP