Betsy Everman, a teacher at Woodlawn Elementary School, is somewhat of an Olympic veteran because of her brother, Scott Givens.
Givens is president of FiveCurrents, a creative and production firm that produces stadium spectacles, broadcasts, corporate and other live events. He is the managing director of London 2012 Ceremonies, and Everman, her husband and two daughters took advantage of the connection to attend the Olympics again.
Winter Olympics), and I went to Guadalajara last fall for the Pan-American Games. It’s really extraordinary what Scott does, and I am really proud of him.”
Her brother took Wednesday off to spend time with Everman and her family before they had to return home today.
“We are touring South London — going to ride the London Eye, more shopping and we are going to finish the day with a business meeting with Scott as we have dinner with the Olympic committee from Russia and watch an indoor figure skating show,” Everman said via e-mail Wednesday. “Then we return to the U.S. cultured, broke and in need of some American food.”
She said the favorite parts of the trip for her were the opening ceremonies, soccer and shopping. Her husband picked the opening ceremonies and daughter Holly the opening ceremonies and soccer. Nicole, her youngest daughter, liked all the sports and Aqua balls. “It’s an attraction on the Thames River where you get inside an inflatable ball — like a hamster — and float on the water,” Everman said.
Here’s what she had to say about other parts of her family’s time at the Olympics:
Question: How much has your family enjoyed being in London for the Olympics?
Everman: “Being here at the Olympics has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience (trying not to be cliche). Scott does so many amazing events, but this is the first time we have been able to take our entire family. Scott's next events will be in foreign lands, and we don't speak Russian or Portuguese. We decided for us to take our daughters, this was the best opportunity.
“Scott was busy the days leading up to the opening ceremonies so really didn't see him much. We were able to be regular tourists. We saw the Changing of the Guards at the Palace, Big Ben, West Minister Abby, and ate fish and chips. Just maneuvering around the city and figuring out the Tube (subway) was in itself an adventure. The city streets look just as they do in the movies. Everything is much smaller here. The ‘flats,’ taxis, roads, etc. You really have to watch as you cross the street because they tend to drive a little fast here.”
Question: What has been the best part of the Olympic experience?
Everman: “We have been very fortunate to be able to see so many events — gymnastics, beach volleyball, synchronized diving, tennis at Wimbledon, archery at the Lord's Cricket Grounds, basketball and futbol (soccer). David, Scott and the girls were hoping to be able to see the Dream Team, but we had tickets to futbol and they had to miss seeing Team USA play basketball. Holly made a sign that says ‘Fear the Brow’ (in honor of Kentucky’s Anthony Davis). Not sure anyone got it, but we know! The citizens of Great Britain had to get their tickets through a lottery so it was very difficult for them to get tickets to anything. Scott actually purchased our tickets through his office in the U.S.”
Question: How expensive has it been to be part of this experience?
Everman: “Expensive is not even the word! You would expect things to be expensive at the venues (just as they are at Rupp Arena for a concert), but after this trip we are really hoping our girls get college scholarships! To eat at the local pub four meals of fish and chips and four drinks was 52 pounds, or about $85. The sad part is because this is their specialty, it is one of the cheapest things on the menu.”
Question: Since you are an Olympic veteran, how has this compared to other Games?
Everman: “Scott's first Olympics was the 1996 games in Atlanta. At that Games, he did the ‘audience participation stunt’ during the opening and closing ceremonies (where the audience held up colored cards to make pictures in the stands). His job during Atlanta was just a small portion of the opening and closing ceremonies. He spent years building his company and doing smaller events (halftime shows of Super Bowl, etc). In 2002, he was the creative director for Salt Lake.
“Each opening ceremony gets bigger and better. Each one tells the story of the area, and it always involves the audience. Salt Lake was, of course, Winter Games so those events were amazing and very, very cold! Here, it is the Summer Games and there is so much to do outside. For instance, in the parks all over London, they have set up jumbo TVs so people can sit in the park all day and watch the events, and there are concerts every night. Salt Lake had nightly events, but we were always too cold from being outside all day to go back out again.”
Question: What is your favorite sport to watch?
Everman: “Futbol! Both girls play soccer for Boyle County and Central Kentucky Soccer Club in Danville, so I guess you could call us soccer psycho. But for the Winter Games, it will always be figure skating. As a young girl, I figure skated and had dreams of being the next Dorothy Hamill. I even had the haircut.”
Question: What do you think your daughters will remember most about the Games?
Everman: “I think the opening ceremonies made a huge impression on them — but I think the fact that their uncle is a part of such magic has amazed them the most. I am always telling the girls that life is an adventure and to be able to go to another country and experience it's culture first hand is amazing.”
Question: What is the best keepsake/souvenir you will be bringing home from the Games?
Everman: “Olympic soccer ball from the game we saw and thousands of pictures.”