In 1996, gymnast Kerri Strug vaulted into history. The anchor for Team USA at the Atlanta Olympics, she competed on an injured ankle to help secure women’s gymnastics their first-ever team gold medal – and Tuesday, she watched this year’s ‘Fab Five’ win the second team gold.
The now married mom of one is a spokesperson for Hilton HHonors’s Support the Dream program, which allows fans to connect with Olympians. "Since I know how much the support of the fans means to the athletes, it’s great to be part of a program where fans can send good luck messages to Team USA," says Strug, 34. While at the Games with her husband, Robert Fischer III, the Olympic gold medalist is blogging for PEOPLE.com about her experiences in London.
Before we arrived in London, I was a little anxious thinking about the crowds and the logistics of getting across the city. It is always wonderful to see so many fans from around the world travel to cheer on athletes in the Olympic Games, but sometimes you worry about how all these fans will get to and from events safely.
Thankfully the fans have managed to make it to events with the help of the staff here in London. All over the city and at every event, we have found helpful, cheerful, and energetic staff helping the crowds.
These so-called “Games Makers” have managed the security and logistical aspects so that the fans can simply enjoy the competitions. A number of them are volunteers giving their time and efforts to make the games great. Their help and hard work has made this Olympic Games work.
We started at the Tower of London. It’s pretty remarkable to learn about nearly 1,000 years of history although that history is full of imprisonment, executions and conspiracies. A highlight was seeing the Crown Jewels.
The collection is beyond words. There are a number of amazing gold artifacts kept there, although I didn’t see any medals. Some girls dream of being a princess one day and others dream of winning a gold medal. I’m so glad that Team USA was able to live their dream as I did 16 years ago.
Next we visited St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is another historical location and the sight of Prince Charles’ wedding to Princess Diana. We climbed all the way to the top of the dome for an exceptional view of the city (Editor’s note: If you’re on a desktop, click through to see all six of Kerri’s photos above!).
Then we walked towards Piccadilly Circus to make a special souvenir stop. As many of you know, I am the proud mother of a 5-month-old son, Tyler. My husband and I have certainly missed him this week so we stopped at Hamley’s, the self-proclaimed finest toy shop in the world. We picked out a special teddy bear for him there.
The trip wouldn t have been complete without seeing Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park. We walked over and caught a brief glimpse of the Palace, and in Hyde Park we found a beautiful rose garden.
Another special place we visited was USA House (see the American flag photo above). The U.S. Olympic Committee along with USOC sponsors including Hilton HHonors have created this special meeting place for Team USA athletes and their families and friends to enjoy. After a nice lunch of American classics, we caught up with some good friends from the USOC and USA Gymnastics. As an Olympian, I am always proud to see all of the support for current Team USA athletes.
Although I will be cheering on Team USA from home for the remainder of the Games, I am excited to see how Team USA does in the rest of the events. Tyler is rooting for Team USA in his new U.S. Olympic Team onesie too!