Russell is going in on the end end of the pool!
He’s right though, we don’t get enough sports submissions! So come on you sports collectors! Let’s get on the ball! Pardon the pun lol…
Russell went out to an awesome event and was able to meet a whole bunch of the USA Olympic swim team. The most notable name was Ryan Lochte but he also met Missy Franklin, Natalie Coughlin and more!
Check out Russell’s full report after the jump!
Asked Mike if anyone ever goes out to sporting events as would love to hear more stories about them, but think I am in minority of the audience as sports figures are a whole different breed for collectors as they get paid to play, not be liked (I did see Billy’s story on Ronaldo).
Well there is a first time for everything and I decided to venture out to a swim meet as my son has a project and trying to get his 2012 USA Olympic card set done and there were going to be a lot of swimmers that swam in last summers 2012 London Olympics at this meet. The Santa Clara Grand Prix was Thur – Sun but figured Friday would be the best day as most of the swimmers would be racing.
I guess you can equate swimmers to those stars you only see and hear about every 4 years as most are not household names except if you are Michael Phelps (I did manage to meet Michael as he trained down in Palo Alto in 2008 before they left for Beijing). But there were some good notables there such as Ryan Lochte (star of his own reality show now) , Missy Franklin (star of the 2012 games) and Natalie Coughlin (tied for most medals for women).
So we get to the meet and find some free parking (always good) and then pay our $15.00 to get inside. Pretty casual environment and right away we spot Ryan Lochte just sitting down talking to some folks. Lochte is an 11 time medalist and was my top target as he is rarely in Northern California and so we went up and asked him to sign a few photos (probably thought we were ebayers, but I told him to personalize some) and he was real cool about it.
Unfortunately this started a trend as others took notice and sprung up and immediately a crowd gathered. Oh well, he was nice and personalized and signed anything you wanted.
Pretty cool as he has the potential to break Phelp’s records one day. (Side note, I did go home and watch his reality show and very interesting about peeing in the pool stories).
Next target for me was Natalie Couglin. She became the first U.S. female athlete in modern Olympic history to win six medals in one Olympiad, and the first woman ever to win a 100-meter backstroke gold in two consecutive Olympics and also her total of twelve Olympic medals tie her with Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres for the most all-time by an American woman.
Also a local California girl that grew up in my wife’s hometown. Anyway, we asked if she could sign after her preliminary race and she said she had to go warm down and was sorry.
So we followed her to the warmup pools and basically waited. She must’ve swam for about 20 more minutes (I get tired just one time back and forth) and then got a 30 minute massage. She then came over and apologized and thanked us for waiting. Now how cool is that?
Finally the last target was Missy Franklin. In her virgin Olympics she won 5 medals (4 gold) at the age of 17 and was coming to Cal after graduating from high school last month. She too had her routine and after her massage we called out to her and she immediately came over.
She asked who she should make it out to and of course I didn’t mind the personalization (I think she knows or was coached to try and personalize the photos at least).
Then the trend setting started and a boat load of people came down from stands and she was mobbed, but bless her heart she must’ve signed and posed for pictures for 45 minutes. We were the only ones with pictures of any kind so most of the stuff people had was programs, shirts, swim caps, Iphone cases, and just pieces of paper.
On the way out we see Nathan Adrian waiting in the lot (3 time gold medalist) and able to snag a picture as well as some autographs of him as well.
It was a great day and love these type of venues to get a few icons of their world.
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