Thursday, August 2, 2012 - Page updated at 03:11 p.m.

London Calling contributors

Seattle Times readers are headed to London for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. They'll be sharing their experiences and observations as they attend events and explore the city.

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Name: Kris Andrews
Hometown: Corbett, Ore.
Attending because: Pre-Olympics I am traveling to Helsinki, Finland, St. Petersburg, Russia, Stockholm and Kiruna, Sweden, and Bergen, Norway. Post-Olympics: Edinburgh, Scotland and Lillehammer, Norway. I will be in London Aug. 1-8 attending gymnastics, fencing, women's beach volleyball, men's volleyball, and hopefully I can get a ticket for athletics. I am a retired high school science teacher, track and field, gymnastics coach and am traveling alone (my husband is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro instead).

Name: Ace Asas
Hometown: San Jose, Calif.
Traveling with: One of my closest friends, Tom.
Attending because: It's my childhood dream to attend the Olympics and be part of an incredible and amazing celebration with sports fans from all over the world.
Follow on Twitter: @Volleyw00d

Name: Amanda Balaoing
Hometown: San Diego, Calif. but attended UW 2007-2011. I miss Seattle!
Traveling with: My friend Christina.
Attending because: Christina and I are huge sports fanatics and London is one of our favorite cities in the world, so it was the perfect opportunity for us to go (plus they speak English and we love Will & Kate!). Attending the Olympic Games is something you dream about as a little kid, and we are so excited to have the chance to cheer on Team U.S.A. and wear the stars and stripes proudly across the pond.
Follow on Twitter: @_LondonEyes2012

Name: Jason Bennett
Hometown: Brookfield, Wis.
Current residence: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: My partner, Mike Whaley, and our good friend, Emily Blair.
Attending because: We are attending the Olympics because we are self-identified Olympics addicts. We have always enjoyed watching them, but in 2010 we attended our first Olympics in Vancouver and we are now hooked!
Follow on Twitter: @argostrategies

Name: Stephanie Brown
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: My husband Marc Brown.
Attending because: We are celebrating Marc graduating with his MBA from the University of Washington, and our five year wedding anniversary. We attended the 2010 Winter Olympics and had an amazing time!

Name: Ivy Chang
Hometown: Beaverton, Ore.
Current residence: I have been living in Seattle for almost two years.
Traveling with: I'm traveling with Jennifer Kim, who is my longtime friend, roommate and coworker. We've been planning to go to London for the Olympics since early 2011, so it's hard to believe that we'll be headed to Heathrow next Friday!
Attending because: Not only do we love the Olympics, but we also love London; each of us spent a year there as students and fell in love with the city. This trip will be the first time that we'll both be in London at the same time, so we're excited to consolidate some memories. For example, as students, both of us independently discovered the joy of Wagamama and look forward to eating many meals at this delicious noodle spot!

Name: Andrew Christopher
Hometown: Marysville, Wash.
Traveling with: I'll be traveling with my girlfriend, Vanessa Heavens, who will be meeting me in London for a week and a half!
Attending because: I love the national pride on display at the Olympics and can't wait to be a part of it! I was able to attend the 2006 games in Torino and can't wait for another experience of a lifetime!

Name: Tamara Christopherson
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: Sky Christopherson, husband, family, friends and other Olympians from previous Olympic Games.
Attending because: My company Optimized Athlete is working with Olympic cyclists competing at the Games and, as an Olympian, I am here to support friends and see the events.


Name: Colin Davenport
Hometown: I was born and raised in Seattle and for the last two years my family and I have lived in Shoreline.
Attending because: I am moving to London to attend Regents American College where I will be majoring in history and minoring in filmmaking. As soon as I found out I was accepted to the school I KNEW I HAD to be in London early so I could witness the Olympic Games. I have been a basketball player for 15 years and some of my greatest childhood memories involve Olympic basketball — from Gary Payton and Vin Baker winning gold in 2000 while both were Supersonics, to Vince Carter's 'dunk of death' in those same Games, all the way to the constant, on-going battles between Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird for gold every Olympics. I have always wanted to see London and to do so for school and be able to do so during the 30th Olympiad is truly going to be the experience of a lifetime.

Name: Terrie Deidesheimer
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: Tom Barbano, Evan Fein and Aimee Sutton.
Attending because: We are attending to experience the sights and sounds of London and to have a great Olympic experience.

Name: Heather Deranek
Hometown: Gig Harbor, Wash.
Current residence: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: Myself, and I'll be meeting my athlete and his family there. I also have other agent friends who represent other athletes I will be meeting up with.
Attending because: This is an experience of a lifetime! I ultimately decided to go to support my athlete (Triathlete, Kyle Jones, Canada) as he pursues his dream of winning an Olympic Medal. I'll need to be there to help him navigate the media should he wind up on the podium. After his race I'm looking to enjoy as much of the Olympic experience as possible both from inside the athlete village and throughout London. I've never attended the Olympics before.
Follow on Twitter: @HeatherDeranek

Name: Jennifer Duval
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: My family (husband and two daughters).
Attending because: I think that it will be a great experience and we are living in London this year anyway.

Name: Nathan Dwyer
Hometown: Bellingham, Wash.
Traveling with: I am traveling with my wife and a friend from high school who will be meeting us there.
Attending because: This will be my fourth Olympics. It started in 1996 when my Dad and I traveled to Atlanta for the Summer Games. I then caught events in Salt Lake in '02 and at Vancouver Games in '10. I lived in London for five months in 2001, so this was a great chance to see another Olympics and to show my wife around London. We are very excited.

Name: Amanda Geismann
Hometown: Originally from Boise, Idaho, but lived in Seattle for six years.
Current residence: I currently am living in London since October 2010.
Traveling with: I live over here with my husband, who is also a Seattleite.
Attending because: I live in London and received one set of tickets by going through the lottery system they used to sell the tickets and then also won one of my tickets through a raffle that my company put on over here.

Name: Erik Gordon
Hometown: Kirkland, Wash.
Traveling with: My wife, Betsy.
Attending because: We love to travel and I have never been to London or England for that matter. We also enjoy the Olympic spirit, we had a blast at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
Follow on Twitter: @FlashGordon12

Name: Leslie Greer
Hometown: Woodinville, Wash.
Traveling with: Tiffin University
Attending because: I applied to be part of a small study abroad program through Tiffin University that will be learning about the management behind the Olympics. I want to work with collegiate or Olympic athletes in my future career, either as a coach or as a sports psychologist. Learning about how the Olympics is run and experiencing the atmosphere will be crucial to being able to best help athletes competing at that level.

Name: Vanessa Heavens
Hometown: Mill Creek, Wash.
Traveling with: I'll be attending the London Olympics with my boyfriend, Andrew Christopher, who is also participating as a blog contributor in London!
Attending because: In college I worked and studied in England for a year and interned with a London non-profit organizing a conference centered around the Olympics. Having worked on the prelim. stages, I'm very excited to see the finished product. Previously, my dream was to actually compete in the Olympics for beach volleyball, but most recently, attending the games has been number one on my bucket list for years and I can't wait to check it off!


Name: Melissa Hughes
Hometown: Seattle (Greenwood)
Traveling with: CJ Lang, college friend (we were on the crew team together).
Attending because: Seeing the Olympics live has been a long-time goal and going to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler confirmed how much fun it was to be "up close and personal" in the Olympic environment. I have a "life-list" of major sporting events that I want to see live (so far the highlights have been the soccer World Cup, Winter Olympics, Tour de France, Wimbledon and Henley Royal Regatta) and the Summer Olympics is right at the top.

Name: Jim Jeffreys
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: Suna Gurol (wife), Kai Jeffreys (son, age 11), Suraya Jeffreys (daughter, 11 months).
Attending because: We loved attending the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 and thought it would be a nifty adventure to travel to London for the summer games this year. In the meantime, we added a baby daughter to our family and are looking forward to seeing how much she adds to or complicates our Olympics experience.
Follow on Twitter: @SunaG and @BabyXJeffreys


Name: Dave Kean
Hometown: Guildford, a small town just outside London
Current residence: Snohomish, Wash. (moved to the Pacific Northwest 15 years ago)
Traveling with: Solo, but attending events with family and friends
Attending because: London is my favorite place to visit. Even after 15 years away, I still don't feel like a tourist here. I've been to a couple of other Olympic Games, and there was no way I was going to miss this one.

Name: Jennifer Kim
Hometown: Beaverton, Ore.
Traveling with: Ivy Chang, longtime friend.
Attending because: As a lifelong Olympics fan, I was thrilled when the Games were awarded to London, a city that I was privileged to live in during the course of my studies towards a degree in British history. The combination of London and the Olympic Games was an irresistible pull and I cannot wait for my chance to witness firsthand how this magnificent city comes together to meet this historic moment.

Name: David Liddle
Hometown: Dodgeville, Wis., home of Lands' End
Traveling with: My 20 year old son Riley is going with me. He just finished his sophomore year at Western University, Wash.
Attending because: My bucket list included attending an Olympics. In 2010, my friend Terry and I attended the Winter Olympics in Whistler. We attended two events every day. We spent time getting to know the athletes, then standing and cheering with their parents and family in the stands. It was a great time and I made it a mission to get to a summer Olympics! I launched and managed companies in the UK 20 years ago. It's great to get back there.

Name: George Liu
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: Solo traveler
Attending because: I had so much fun at the Vancouver Olympic Games that I decided early on to attend the London Summer Games. When I think about the sites of future games (Russia, Brazil, South Korea and Japan/Spain/Turkey), London is a no-brainer: common language, lots to do besides attending athletic competitions and a climate that suits me fine.

Name: Ed Matuskey
Hometown: Temecula, Calif. (went to college in Tacoma and moved up to Seattle in '97 for grad school).
Traveling with: Traveling alone, though will be meeting up with a friend while in the UK.
Attending because: I never studied abroad in Europe like my other friends in college, nor have I ever attended an Olympic event. This seemed like a fine time to check two items off my bucket list!.

Name: Denise Omelia
Hometown: Everett, Wash.
Traveling with: Going to the Olympics with my husband Paul.
Attending because: It's a privilege and I want to be part of history.

Name: Susie Salem
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nev.
Current residence: I am living and studying abroad while I complete a Masters in Sport Administration and Leadership at Seattle University.
Traveling with: Most of the students I am with attend Florida State University, as that is the institution that is in charge of the study abroad program.
Attending because: I am attending the Olympics as part of my study abroad experience. The program was able to purchase tickets for students who are studying global sport in London and we are completing course work in connection with the events we attend.

Name: Sherry Schriver
Hometown: Raymond, Wash.
Current residence: Edmonds, Wash.
Traveling with: I am going to the Olympics on my own. I have a co-worker who will also be in London for part of the games, so we may get together from time to time.
Attending because: I have been a basketball fan for decades. When it occurred to me that there would be a break in the WNBA season for the Olympics, I started working out a way to 'go with the WNBA' to London.

Name: Selina Shearer
Hometown: Seattle/Belfair
Traveling with: Husband Wenzel Peikert and daughter Alta Lena (one year old).
Attending because: Why would you not attend the Olympics?

Name: Jeff Tillinghast
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Current residence: Kingston, Jamaica
Traveling with: My wife Erica, Athlete's Village Training Center Manager for Technogym USA.
Attending because: Erica found out in early June that she was being sent to the Olympics to manage the Athlete's training gym. While she's working, I'll be trying to find whatever leftover tickets I can to take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime!