From Lawrence to London: A Jayhawk reflects on his Olympic experience

Posted on Sep 12, 2012 in News and Sports

Tim Weaver, g’97, traveled to London this past summer with Team USA as part of the United States Track and Field coaching staff. As he has done for previous games and international events, including world championships, Weaver was on hand to assist athletes competing on the sport’s biggest stage.

After returning home, we caught up with Weaver, the former meet director for the Kansas Relays, to talk about his experience.

“London really stood out to me as compared to other Olympics. No culture can match the Olympic history of Athens. China outspent every other games’ wildest dreams. But London does “cool” better than anyone. From food to fashion to music, London was cool. The fans were enthusiastic and welcoming, the focus was on the athletes from beginning to end, and the stars were out to watch and perform. The people, famous and otherwise, will be the brightest memory of the 2012 games for me.”

Weaver talked about rubbing elbows with Olympic stars in the athletes village. “Yes, you see Michael Phelps,” he said. “And yes, you talk to him. And sometimes the conversation is about how he did in the pool that day. And sometimes he just tells you that that you forgot your credential and they’re not going to let you in the dining hall without it. It’s interesting to talk to extraordinary people about ordinary things.”

Among his duties during the games, Weaver was stationed near the finish line for track events with a duffel bag full of American flags. If you ever wondered how every medalist suddenly gets a flag to carry around moments after cross the line, now you know who gave it to them.

“Something that might surprise fans,” Weaver shared, “is that many silver and bronze athletes pause before they take the flag on a lap of honor. Some don’t want face the cameras and fans. Two minutes earlier they were racing for their place in history and have pictured themselves as Olympic champion over and over in their minds. Then, suddenly, they come so close but come up short. And we expect them to immediately refocus and be happy and proud of almost reaching that dream. There are often a few tears that precede those beaming smiles in front of the flag for those fortunate enough to have earned silver and bronze.”

Weaver said he was amazed talking to athletes and coaches from other nations, at how many of them shared fond memories of competing in Lawrence at the Kansas Relays.

“For most, they remember the good people and officials and volunteers they met while in Lawrence. Jayhawks should be proud that their track meet is remembered so fondly by so many and at such a high level.”

Speaking of KU connections, Weaver finally offered the inside scoop on KU’s newest Gold medalist, Diamond Dixon, saying “all KU fans should be beaming about Diamond Dixon. Diamond represented KU and the US very well. She’s an exceptionally nice and friendly young woman with so much of her athletics career ahead of her. She certainly exhibits that toughness found in a Redwine-coached sprinter. It is easy to predict a lot more gold for Diamond.”

Weaver even had the honor of transporting Dixon’s Gold medal from London to the United States, where KU Head Coach Stanley Redwine was given the honor of placing it around her neck.

“Traveling with a gold medal is like traveling with a lot cash,” Weaver chuckled. “Part of you wants to show it off to the world, but hopefully the smarter part of you keeps it tucked safely in the bottom of your backpack with your snacks and passport.”

Like Diamond’s Gold medal, Weaver’s Olympic experience in London was surely priceless.

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