Aug. 2, 2012
LONDON - Jenny Simon-O'Neill, Director of Olympic Sports for Cal Athletics, caught up with Jerry Romani - the husband of Cal and U.S. women's Olympic head coach Teri McKeever - for this Q&A.
JENNY SIMON O'NEILL: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
JERRY ROMANI: I'm a Cal grad - class of '71 - and I happen to be married to Teri McKeever. I'm over here watching the swimming events and having a great time. The U.S. is doing quite well. I'm especially proud of Teri for getting nine Cal women's swimmers here. It's been quite a week now or close to a week. It's really been a joyful experience.
JSON: You were in Beijing with Teri as well. What are the differences between those Olympics and the London Games?
JR: The ability to get around London, speak the language and read things. The people here are quite friendly. They're very accommodating. The trains work well. I'm staying an hour and a half away at Windsor. It's a trek in the early morning and late at night, but it's all working well.
JSON: You've been to all the swimming events. What have been the highlights so far?
JR: Just seeing people make it to the finals, and then I'd have to say these highlights of seeing the Golden Bears come through: Seeing Dana (Vollmer) win the 100 fly and break the world record, seeing Caitlin Leverenz fly under the radar and win the bronze medal in the 200 IM, and last night seeing Nathan Adrian win the 100 free by a hundredth of a second over (James) Magnussen of Australia. That was very memorable. And last night seeing Dana and the U.S. women win the 4x200-free relay and just dominate teams. There are still good races to come. It's been quite an experience.
JSON: You're a big Cal women's swimming fan, who traveled to the NCAA Championships, U.S. Olympic Trials and now here. What's it like traveling as a fan to watch 40-plus Golden Bears in London?
JR: It's amazing. That's what makes this trip. This is like the ultimate - between NCs, trials and here. This is like grasping for the gold ring and achieving it. What's so wonderful is knowing so many of the participants; that personalizes it. Having seen how long they train, how hard they train - it's a culmination of many, many hours between athletes, coaches and all the support staff. It's wonderful to see.
JSON: Have you met any Bear fans outside of the people you already know?
JR: In Windsor I saw a woman one morning with a Cal sweatshirt on, and I said, "Go Bears!" And she chuckled.
JSON: What's been your favorite part of London outside of the Olympics?
JR: To be honest, the sightseeing has kind of been minimized somewhat with the rigors of going to prelims and then getting back into the (Olympic) Park (Aquatics Centre) for finals. But yesterday I did get out and about and saw a lot of things. I'd have to say the historic buildings, like Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Parliament and 10 Downing Street. But going up in the (London) Eye and getting an overview, that was the most dynamic visual I've had, being up there and having an opportunity to look all around London.