Hello! This is the final video report as I am back home in America! I’m happy to be home. In this video, I will talk about 5 things:
1. Turkish people’s attitude
2. the map of Samsun ( I will show you where we’re playing at, staying, venues, and hotels)
3. the number of participants
4. my experience flying back to America through Istanbul
5. my experience as a participant in the last six Deaflympics
Ok? First of all, I want to thank the USADSF for allowing me to be part of this Chef de Mision (CDM). It was a great experience interacting with leaders from different countries. I found myself being very young at the CDM despite being a six time Deaflympics participant. They are a different group of leaders and I want to thank them for allowing me to be part of the conversations where I learned their experiences, perspectives, and opinions. They made me a better person for it gave me a better understanding of my country, the world, and how ICSD function. Thank you again.
1. I met with their Local Olympic Committee (LOC). They were very warm and welcoming. When I needed anything, they were quick and more than happy to help. I can imagine when Deaflympics starts this summer, the LOC’s performance will be the best of service. I have no doubt that they will put out their best hospitality and serve us all. I am looking forward to have my team to come and experience their not just Turkey’s but also Samsun’s hospitality.
2. I will be pointing the map next to me and the camera will be zooming in and out and I will give you some time to browse through the map. This map shows the town of Samsun and first, I will point out where the University (several signs for university is shown) is to show where we will be staying. *points and the camera zooms in and out* That is the University, where we will be staying. I also showed in my previous videos what the dorms look like and the type of security they had there. All of that is deemed excellent. Now back to the map, on the opposite corner from the University is where the airport is located. It is approximately a 45 to 60 minute drive, depending on traffic. However, since we will be having a police escort and the new highway should be completed soon, I have a feeling that the trip will take less than an hour. The route will pass through the town center of Samsun *points area and camera zooms in and out*. Here is the airport *camera zooms in and out*. You can see the highway running along the coastline. Of course once you enter the town, you will expect some stops but once you’re out, the travel is smooth and continuous. Also, imagine this, Samsun actually built a new trolley/street car just like Washington DC did recently. Let me show you the route *points and camera zooms in showing the trolley route along the coast, starting from the University and ends near but not at the airport* At the end of the route, that is where the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be held, along with all of the final soccer and basketball matches. *Points to the area and camera zooms in and out*.Now I will show you where the volleyball venues are. I showed you three videos while I was in Turkey and the first video was at this location *points and camera zooms in and out*. However, this location has been changed. In my video that showed the second venue, the location is at *points map and camera zooms in and out*. This is a really nice and beautiful venue… it is near the beach volleyball competition site as well. This is where the regular and final volleyball matches will be played. There is another venue where regular volleyball matches will be played – *points and camera zooms in and out*. That is located in Samsun’s town center, just up the hill and it is a nice venue. I have inspected all venues and I am completely satisfied with them all for they meet all of our needs! Remember, we will have FIVB accredited volleyball flooring, not regular wood floors that you’ve seen in the videos.
For the Opening and Closing Ceremonies – they will be at this area *points and camera zooms in and out*. Now, the Track & Field venue is located here *points and camera zooms in and out*. Soccer has four different venues and they are located all over the map. You know that Turkey has a strong soccer culture and the stadiums are very impressive! Some of the fields are turf and some are real grass. Handball also has a nice venue. I also saw the bowling venue which has brand new flooring and the shooting range (course) are also new… everything’s built and new! That is the map of Samsun.
3. I want to talk about the number of participants. I went to the CDM meetings and realization struck me hard… my response was, “Oh, only America has the smallest number of participants.” All countries reported that they will bring in their full teams, as usual. I had to shift my focus back to America… we need to focus on our own Federation, to decide what to do with our current number of participants, since we were the only one who had a problem with Deaflympics being hosted in Turkey. I know that safety and the media has had an impact on us but yet other countries kept their decision to send their athletes to Turkey. I decided to discuss with other countries who had similar concerns as us. I spoke with Japanese leaders and they informed me that they have finalized their decision and will send 220 people, one of their largest. They were happy with how security was implemented and inquired if I was also satisfied with them. Then I turned to talk with Brazilian leaders and they have approved to send 150 people. Next, I spoke with Taiwanese leaders and they have also approved over 200 people to participate. I avoided comparing these countries with Eastern European countries because they have a different perspective. I talked with several others and they informed me that they are sending their normal number of participants, give or take a few. They were very satisfied with the number of participants going. We really need to focus on America to expand our number of participants.
4. I will explain my experience traveling back to America through Istanbul. Of course, you probably are curious how security looked like. When I flew out from Samsun, which was a small airport and was very friendly in arranging my flight out. I checked in my bags easily and wouldn’t see them until I landed back home. When I landed in Istanbul and transitioned to my next flight to Washington DC, I had to go through six different stops which was interesting! For those who are arriving at the airport, they have to go through a security gate who will let each car in one by one. Then they will have their bags inspected before entering the airport. Once they are inside the airport to retrieve their tickets, they have to go through a security checkpoint and three more stops inside. Flights back to America have the most scrutiny and I had to go through several stops and received stamps and stickers in my passport to clear me for my flight back home. I am completely satisfied with their security service.
5. Lastly, I want to share my experience as a participant of the Deaflympics… I have attended a total of 6 Deaflympics, both as an athlete and as a coach, and this one will be my 7th time. I have never seen anything like what I saw in Turkey. For example, they built new highway, venues, and everything else… all for the Deaflympics! Of course, Turkey has future plans for these buildings but the idea is that they built them to meet all of our needs. For that, I’m very impressed! Wow. It is obvious that Turkey’s government was very involved in every aspect. They were very sure to meet all of our needs. Yes, Turkey’s culture, food, and service are different than what we are used to but they are so warm and welcoming. I want to remind you that Turkey is the capital city for food in the world. They have great food service and will do everything to meet our appetites, no question!
The bottom line is – they were very professional with planning for Deaflympics. Right now, the only thing I can say to you is… Don’t miss it.
Thank you for watching my final report.