A little about me...

My name is Mariya Koroleva and I'm a member of the U.S. Olympic Duet for the sport of synchronized swimming. I've been swimming for 17 years (yikes!) and I've been on the national team for 9. I graduated from Stanford University in 2013 and am almost finished getting my masters degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco. I love chocolate, cross stitching, scented candles and sunsets. Follow me on my journey to my second Olympics in Rio de Janeiro!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Opening Ceremonies and Exhibition in Puerto Rico

Friday night marked the official start of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro! Unfortunately, Anita, Lolli and I did not get to walk in the Opening Ceremonies because we are still in Puerto Rico at our pre-Olympic training camp. We had an exhibition for the public Friday afternoon and considering the fact that we don't really know anyone in Mayagüez, we actually had a pretty good turnout! We took this opportunity to practice our competition warm up and perform in full hair and makeup. The weather here in Puerto Rico is pretty unpredictable, and literally right after we finished swimming the rain started to pour like crazy and thunder and lightning took over the sky. It was great to get some support from the local community. The lifeguards have been putting our music system, weights and mats out for us before we get into the pool every day (and sometimes sneak us candy after practice 😜) and everyone has just been very friendly and welcoming. 


After de-knoxing at the hotel, we drove to San Juan for a little Opening Ceremonies party. The Vega family was kind enough to host us at their home, where we watched the live stream of the Opening. Just to get in the USA spirit, Anita and I dressed up in our Ralph Lauren outfits and paraded around the living room when Team USA marched into the stadium. Of course, it's not the same as walking next to your teammates in a stadium packed with tens of thousands of people, but we still felt the adrenaline and excitement of the start of the Games. I remember the London Opening Ceremonies in 2012 and it was one of the coolest moments I've ever experienced. Walking around that stadium was overwhelming and exhilirating at the same time. It was almost hard to soak everything in because there was so much going on, but I remember thinking, "this is is it! I made it to the Olympics...my dream has come true", which is something I will never forget. 

I wish Anita got to have this experience too because it really is a once-in-a-lifetime event...but I know that a lot of the synchro athletes didn't get to go either and are arriving to Rio late like us. We still made the best of it and managed to have some fun with our "pretend walk" 😆



Unfortunately, we were so tired from waking up at 5am to knox that we only watched the parade of countries before we passed out...ohhh well. We only have two more training days in Puerto Rico before we start our long journey to Rio. We're making every day count!!


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