FRISCO – Chris Seitz can’t help but be a little bit sentimental with the opening of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
After all, four years ago he was among the hundreds of American athletes walking into Beijing National Stadium at the 2008 summer games and competing for Team USA on the men’s soccer team.
It’s an experience the FC Dallas goalkeeper still fondly remembers.
“It’s probably the coolest experience of my sports career to this point,” Seitz said.
The hard work to get to that point began months before when the U.S. soccer team assembled for qualifying. Seitz said the team bonded during the qualifying matches and subsequent training sessions leading up to the Olympics.
“You all realize your fighting for the same thing,” Seitz said. “It’s all for one cause.”
The most memorable moment for Seitz was the opening ceremonies. All of the American athletes waited inside the nearby gymnastics arena for more than three hours before walking inside the stadium.
Seitz said the athletes talked with one another and listened to President Bush speak to the group before heading into the stadium.
“I have a lot of pictures and a couple of videos of actually walking out in the opening ceremonies. You walk out of the tunnel and see all the lights flashing. It’s really cool,” Seitz said.
The U.S. soccer team stayed in the Olympic Village, but mostly spent its time in a hotel four hours outside Beijing where its first two matches were.
The dining hall at the Village, Seitz said, was a massive auditorium filled with athletes from every country.
Even the hotel they stayed at had the three other soccer teams they were facing.
“You’re always around everyone else,” Seitz said. “You get to meet a lot of cool people and interesting people along the way.”
Even though the U.S. soccer team didn’t get out of the group stage, Seitz said the experience was still memorable. His family came to China to watch the games and he still has the various outfits and gear from the Olympics.
Seitz even got a tattoo with the date of the opening ceremonies – 8/8/08 – and Olympic rings on his forearm.
But it wasn’t too hard for him to pick out a moment that still sticks with him.
“Seeing the torch lit is one of the most special memories I will ever have,” Seitz said.