Local excitement builds as 2012 London Olympics continue
Fans gather to watch the Olympics.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Faster...higher...stronger! The excitement of the 2012 Olympics is felt across the world and right here at home.
The opening ceremony was the most watched for a summer Olympic games on record. More than 40 million people across the United States watched. Paul Helvey, of Louisville, was one of them.
"I thought it was nice. I mean, it's a spectacle," Helvey said. "It's not what I look forward to. I like the actual events themselves."
Sports fans Stephen Hackert and Marci Vandiver turned their wedding rehearsal at their Evansville home into an Olympic opening ceremony watch party.
"It was kind of a joke, actually," Vandiver said. "We were like 'Let's project the Olympics! Then all of a sudden, it was like 'Alright, let's do it!"
With 17 days of events, everyone has got their favorite.
"I'm really excited about the women's soccer," Helvey said.
Lindsay Bilyeu, of Louisville, also watched the Olympic events. "We watched it all," she said about Saturday's events. "Been excited about it."
At the Lakeside Swim Club, people were watching and talking about the 2012 Olympic games in London
"I think it's great," Jeremy Morris, of Louisville, said." Because it's every four years and every four years, I'm like 'This is the best thing ever!'"
Our local connections to the games include Western Kentucky University grad, Claire Donahue, who is on her way to the swimming finals for a medal. United States record holding runner, Tyson Gay of Lexington, and fencer, Lee Kiefer of Lexington who was eliminated from the competition Saturday. Other athletes include volleyball player Richard Lambourne, of Louisville, and basketball player and University of Kentucky grad, Anthony Davis.
For 10 Olympians, dating back to 1940, their road to the Olympics began at the Lakeside Swim Club. Most recently, Clark Burckel, of Louisville. He is a part of team USA's men's swim team.
"Clark and my son took swimming lessons together when they were 5, 4 or 5 years old," Bilyeu said. "I haven't seen him much over the years, but I'm still real excited to watch the Olympic trials and watch him make the Olympics."
Morris spoke about the diversity of the Olympics. "Seeing everybody from all over the world. Being able to catch some people from Louisville and Kentucky, that'll be awesome."
Helvey said the Olympics were about more than sports.
"The cool thing about when you see the Olympics and you see the American teams, and you see such diversity," he said. "Different nationalities, races, religions represented, It does kind of give you that sense of that we have something to very special to be proud of."
To team USA..."I'd say we're proud of you and go get 'em!," Helvey said.
Bilyeu said "We're real excited for them and we're real proud of 'em!"
Morris wished luck to several teams "Go USA, go Bosnia, Go France!" he said.
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