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London Olympics: Biola grad Amy Atkinson finds Olympics 'surreal'

August 03, 2012|By Helene Elliott
  • Guam's team enters Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony.
Guam's team enters Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP/Getty…)

LONDON -- Biola University graduate Amy Atkinson will have some first-person Olympic stories to share with her students when she launches her teaching career in a few weeks.

Atkinson, who played on Biola's women’s soccer team as an undergraduate and returned to the private Christian university in La Mirada to get her teaching credential last year, will compete for Guam in the women's 800-meter run.

She was 12 when she and her family moved to Guam, a U.S. territory where her father is a pastor and her parents and two brothers still live. She needed five years of consecutive residency to represent the island but far exceeded the minimum because she maintained her residency there while studying at Biola.

Atkinson went through a qualifying competition to earn her place on Guam's eight-person Olympic team, no small feat given her busy days. The first round of the 800 is to take place next Wednesday.

"I was training while doing full-time student teaching this past semester, which was extremely time-consuming but totally worth every moment," she said via email from the Olympic village.

"I had to train before and after teaching most days, with my hardest/longest workouts on the weekends. My schedule was mainly consumed by training, teaching, eating, sleeping and lesson planning."

But for Atkinson, the effort has been worthwhile.

"Being in the Olympic Village has been an amazing experience, but nothing can compare with the experience of walking into the Opening Ceremony," she wrote. "It was one of the highlights of my life. I just want to bring glory to God in everything I do while I am here and say thank you for this opportunity.

"Being surrounded by the best athletes in the world representing every country is something I will never be able to replicate. I am so honored and grateful to be in this place. It makes you appreciate all of the diverse culture and talents. I have gotten to meet and see many famous athletes especially in the dining hall.  It is all so surreal!"

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