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Outside the Arena: Getting to Know the American Olympic Athletes

The London Olympic Games we watched on NBC’s primetime brought us viewings of all the events at the arenas, pools, courts in the Olympic Stadium. But for the American athletes, the London Games were more than just a competition.

London was also an exciting opportunity to explore one of the most culturally diverse and exciting cities in the world, a whole different set of adventures that did not air on NBC.

So, what did the American Olympic Athletes do in London when the cameras weren’t around?

After the U.S. women’s gymnastics team won gold in the team competition and several successive medals in individual finals, the Fierce Five finally had time to tour London.

After so much successful competition, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Jordyn Wieber (from left to right) took a double-decker bus tour of London.

The girls also visited the Olympic Rings and went for a ride on the London Eye, located opposite Buckingham Palace across the Thames River.

The girls have all stated in interviews that despite their excellent athletic performances, they’re still normal teenagers who “love fashion and talking about boys.”

The members of the Fierce Five are all active on twitter – follow them at @gabrielledoug, @jordyn_wieber, @Aly_Raisman, @McKaylaMaroney and @kyla_ross96.

McKayla Maroney live tweeted on Aug. 10, “Shopped till we dropped today!! Literally.. I’m soo tired!! I think Top Shop is my new favorite store here in London!! loved itttt<3” as they took to the British shopping just a few days after finishing the competition.

During their final days in London, they also got to see their photo on a Kellogg’s cereal box for the first time, and planned a friendly swimming competition between Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.

Outside the pool, there is a lot more to the American Olympic swimmers than we can see during their races.

Seventeen-year-old Missy Franklin from Colorado dedicated her first gold medal swim to the victims and families of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting.

Nineteen-year-old Elizabeth Beisel was really feeling the pressure to perform in her second Olympics. She stated that she doesn’t like having a target on her back, although she was the favorite going into the 400 Individual Medley, where she placed second for the silver medal with her best time in the event.

Despite all of the mental and physical stress of the games, Beisel said she enjoyed exploring the food options in the Olympic Village, and that she was able to get a facial there in her free time!

Women’s swim team captains and individual and relay gold medalists, Dana Vollmer and Rebecca Soni also took full advantage of the London setting outside of the pool.

Soni tweeted about watching the beach volleyball final between both American duos Misty May Treanor/Kerri Walsh-Jennings and April Ross/Jennifer Kessy, seeing the Changing of the Guard in front of Buckingham Palace and cheering on her American teammate at the women’s open water swim.

Dana Vollmer used her free time in London in a particularly heart-warming fashion. Aug. 8 she tweeted, “Went to see a lot of patients & let them wear my medals! Great to see their faces light up! #sharingstrength” after she visited a hospital near the Olympic Village.

Later that night Vollmer (on left) tweeted again, “Good night everyone! I’ve got no set plans tomorrow … Feels great!!”

It’s safe to say all of the members of the U.S. Olympic team are proud Americans, and we can be too, knowing that American is being represented honorably both in the arenas and outside them.

Photo Sources:
(Photos 1, 2 & 3): http://www.nbcolympics.com/whdh/photos/gymnastics/fierce-five-tour-londo…

Missy Franklin (photo 4):
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-33747_162-57483060/swimmer-missy-franklin-de…

Dana Vollmer (photo 5):
http://blog.theportlandhospital.com/news-and-events/olympic-winner-dana-…

Sources:
http://www.nbcolympics.com/whdh/photos/gymnastics/fierce-five-tour-londo…
http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/sports/olympics/12008224559249/the-fi…
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/missy-franklin-olympic-games-dedicates-w…
http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/sports/olympics/12008101121719/ri-swi…
http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/sports/olympics/12008101121719/ri-swi…

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