Oregon Olympian Seth Kelsey explores Beijing


As we visited Chong Wenman Market, a fresh food specialty market located in central Beijing, we encountered two-time Olympian Seth Kelsey and his mother, Susan. 

Susan is a cancer survivor who completed her final series of chemotherapy a few days before arriving in Beijing to watch her son compete. 

Seth, a graduate of Oregon Episcopal School, identified Portland as his residence. He was a Gold medalist in the 2004 Olympic Summer Games team epee fencing event, and a hopeful medalist in this year’s Summer Games. 

Seth was visiting the market as part of an assignment for a Chinese cooking class he took while in Beijing. Seth, who is sponsored by Nike, is on active duty and stationed with the U.S. Air Force in Colorado Springs.

His medal plans were derailed when he lost in Round 32 on Sunday in the Beijing Fencing Hall. Seth told us that he plans on continuing with the U.S. Fencing Team for the foreseeable future.

After talking with Seth,  we continued to wander through Wangfujing Dajie, a very popular walk street in the upscale section of downtown Beijing, where we encountered our first Olympic pin-swapping experience. 

One young boy from the U.S. attracted much attention with the variety of pins he was prepared to trade. Although he was only 10 years old, he was quite knowledgeable and obviously very well versed in the skill of trading pins.

While walking down a side street we spotted a row of covered food vendor stalls — the Donghuamen Night Market. Each evening about 6 p.m., a long line of  vendors begin their preparation of unusual and exotic foods. Each booth had an attendant who would loudly hawk their specialty food. 

Delectable food choices included lizard legs, squid, black scorpions, seahorse brochettes, dung beetles on a stick, crickets, silkworms, star fish fried in shark oil, sea urchins, cicadas and grilled snake.

We spoke with a number of English-speaking visitors who acknowledged that they had tried one of the exotic dishes; generally, they had no plans for a second helping.  We turned down offers to sample the various insect delicacies, although sales were brisk to brave tourists!

The U.S. Track and Field team, including a number of Oregon athletes, have just arrived in Beijing from their training camp in Dalian, China.

Track and Field events begin in two days. 

Two-time Olympian Nicole Teter, an 800-meter runner who trains in Eugene with Coach Frank Gagliano and the Oregon Track Club Elite, will begin her quest for an Olympic medal on Friday.

Springfield High School alumnus, six-time Olympian and Gold medalist, Maria Mutola, will also compete in the 800 meters for Mozambique. 

Kara Goucher and Amy Yoder Begley will compete in the 10,000 meters on Friday evening.

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