Things have changed since I was first walking out onto the track during the opening of the 2008 Beijing games. There is not as much glamor in it this time around. The village, opening ceremonies, and seeing famous athletes is just not as exciting as it was during my first Olympics. The only things that have not changed for me are the emotions that come with winning and losing.
Winning is an amazing feeling at the Olympics. It makes you feel like you have justified your time during the last four years, that you're right where you are suppose to be. It makes you feel powerful and untouchable knowing that you can top the best in the world. It is just plain great.
Losing on the other hand is a sinking feeling of wasted opportunity mixed with some regret. Four games into our Olympics and we have experienced both sets of emotions. After Saturday's loss to Serbia, our first or the tournament, we were not feeling good. It wasn't the loss itself but the fact that we know we were not anywhere close to playing at our best. Losing is even harder to cope with when you know you could have or should have won. I don't think we should have won that game because we just didn't play well together. Hopefully we will see them again for a rematch down the line.
There was one good thing that came from the loss Saturday; we didn't cast blame on each other. Nobody pointed fingers or said, "Your fault!" I think that is a characteristic that makes us unique. We live and die as a team. No matter what happens we will go through it together and we are there to back each other up. We wouldn't have it any other way.
Hungary on Monday will be our final match in the preliminary round and it will determine our placement in the quarterfinal elimination match. It's a big game for us. If we can work together and play to our potential then we will be successful (such a simple concept). That is where the difference lies between a "group" and a "team." It is in the ability to act as a single unit. Tomorrow will be a test to see what our team is made of.