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BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Nick Symmonds is still getting used to hearing the word Olympian lead his name.
"It sounds good, but it's surreal," the Boise native said 16 hours after he unleashed a sizzling kick to win the 800-meter final Monday night at the U.S. Track & Field Trials in Eugene Ore.
"To have the trials off my back and to be able to focus on the race I've been dreaming of is really nice," he said.
Symmonds' life has been a blur since he crossed the finish line at Hayward Field in a career-best 1 minute, 44.10 seconds to stamp his ticket to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on Aug. 8-24.
But after he set the track on fire in front of a roaring crowd of 20,949, the 2002 Bishop Kelly graduate never got a chance to cool down.
"It's just been crazy," he said.
First came the victory lap.
"That was just surreal, because I could only get about five steps before I saw a family member, friend or someone I ran with in the past," he said. "It was just awesome and the crowd was going crazy."
A few minutes later, Symmonds re-emerged on his home track debuting the U.S. Olympic Team's blue Nike uniform with "U.S.A." in big red letters printed across his chest.
"They had us in those things like five minutes after the race," he said. "The best part was running around with the team and seeing the faces of some of the people I'll be traveling to Beijing with. It's going to be an amazing U.S. team this year."
Symmonds then had to take care of some commitments with Nike before being rushed to the interview tent where he answered questions from the media.
But he still couldn't go for his usual 30-minute cool-down run.
After the interviews, he and the other competitors were tested for performance-enhancing drugs by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Still not finished, he and fellow 800 qualifiers Andrew Wheating and Christian Smith were presented to an adoring crowd on a stage outside Hayward Field. Wheating runs for the University of Oregon and Smith is an Oregon Track Club teammate of Symmonds.
"The place just went crazy," said Symmonds, who lives in neighboring Springfield, Ore. "It was awesome. The thing that was so great about (Monday) night is that I have two of my Eugene buddies heading to Beijing with me. Wheating surprises me every time he runs and Smith is just starting to scratch the surface."
Two hours after his race — 11:30 p.m. in Eugene — Symmonds was finally able to head home for a shower before he joined family, friends and fans at a "packed" Villard Street Pub adjacent to the Oregon campus.
He woke up ready to take care of some "business" with sponsors Tuesday and Wednesday, but plans to enjoy the rest of the trials, which resume Thursday.
"Now, I just get to enjoy it and watch," he said. "Hopefully, I'll just be a spectator to the rest of the meet."
But life won't slow down any time soon for Symmonds, who will leave July 11 for three meets in Europe.
He'll compete in Lucerne, Switzerland, on July 16, Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, on July 20 and London on July 25. From there, he'll travel to Beijing.
"If I go over to Europe and get on a fast track, I think the low 1:43s are possible," Symmonds said. "Then we can talk about being a medal contender at the Olympics."
After competing in China, Symmonds said he'll head back to Europe to finish the season before returning to Boise in late September to spend a couple weeks with his family.
Maybe then, he can finally catch his breath.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.