Greetings from the Olympic Village at London 2012! A lot of you have been asking who I am looking at in this picture as I walk with Lithuania’s flag bearer – the legendary Olympic discus champion Virgilijus Alekna. I was trying to see if I could see Phil Hellmuth in the crowd. I know he’s around as a cheerleader for the human dolphin Michael Phelps but he’s not in the village. Probably wise, don’t need a village idiot!
Last night, Lithuania’s men’s basketball team played their first game – we lost but I feel really good about the next four games. We have Nigeria tomorrow, who we should beat while a match against the USA is also coming up later this week. People always ask me about what it might be like managing a team against all the NBA superstars from the States and I say I genuinely believe there could be a massive upset here. The Lithuanians are not scared – I can see us avenging our defeat against Argentina in the semi-finals – we beat them before in a sudden death game in Turkey earlier this year.
Life in the village is great, it seems like lots of people have recognised me as when they see me they ask if poker has become an Olympic sport. Inside the village it is like communism, everything is free and it is like being on a different planet. I am so glad I have done this – I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to get involved with something as big as this. I have been involved with Lithuanian basketball for two years and once this is over it is back to my normal life, it is back to playing a lot of poker for the rest of 2012. Whatever the result for Lithuania it is about the Olympic spirit of competing.
I got the opportunity to have breakfast this morning with Ruta Meilutyte, the 15-year-old Lithuanian swimming superstar of the future who has got so many headlines in the past couple of days. Under the watchful eye of her UK based coach Jonathan Rudd she has shown herself to be a real fight with outstanding talent. Her mother died when she was very young and after she broke the European record at the weekend I expect her to finish top five in the final. She makes me proud to be Lithuanian.
A lot of you have asked about what the poker is like in the Olympic Village. All I will say is the US and Greeks love to play and that the Lithuanian men’s basketball team do too (they might also have someone to back them J). Depending on results I will go to Cyprus later this week – all inclusive resort, Russian cash game players to eat – what paradise!
I also got great news from Lithuania while I have been away with the basketball team. Zasko is a daddy and his three month old son Nordas is doing very well – a potential king of the forest no doubt he is surging and stalking, just like his father and his father’s owner!