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Lathrop High JROTC instructor enjoying London Olympics
The Tower of London bridge featuring the display of the familiar rings of the Summer Olympics. - photo by Photo courtesy Lt. Col. (ret) Venjie Gose

Several local fans of the 2012 Summer Olympics going on in London have been fortunate to receive latest first-person updates from Lt. Col. (ret.) Venjie Gose.

The Manteca Unified JROTC instructor at Lathrop High School has been apprising friends and many others during the last few days with firsthand photographs and stories about his Olympic travels. Saturday, he watched the U.S. women’s soccer team beat Colombia at Glasgow’s Hampden Park.

Although the Summer Olympics venues are located mostly in the host city of London, some other events are taking place elsewhere.

He did not go to the Opening Ceremony “as I will be in Scotland waiting for the USA Women’s Socer team to play on (Saturday) July 28,” he messaged in an interview conducted via Facebook.

“It is about an 8-hour drive from London to Glasgow, so I wanted to get there early as I’m not familiar with the roads. I rented a car and driving on the left is an experience!” he noted, adding, “Train system is very good although the last few days quite a few delays due to the Olympics. Everything here is about the Olympics right now.”

He planned his visit well with the Summer Olympics in mind.

“I’m here for both, as a tourist and for the Olympics, that is one reason I decided to come early to do the tourist stuff, then to go to the Olympics,” said Gose, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who also taught JROTC at Sierra High School in Manteca. After Sierra’s cadet program was discontinued, the Timberwolves JROTC students were bused to Lathrop to attend Gose’s class.

“Enjoying it so far,” he messaged prior to the Opening Ceremony, “but I think I would want to visit when it is not so crowded and another 1 million people are in town. London is a fun city to be in with a lot happening!”

One of the highlights of his trip happened while he was in Glasgow. In a mobile message he sent Saturday from Kinning Park, United Kingdom, he wrote: “Met the official USA Women’s Soccer team photographer. We’re staying in the same hotel and watched the Olympic Opening ceremonies together. The women’s soccer team did not march in the Opening Ceremonies because they have a game on Saturday. Cool stuff!”

Gose uploaded hundreds of photographs he took both as a tourist and as an Olympics fan. In one of his pictures showing one of the guards guarding the Crown Jewels, he noted that “being a military man I felt his pain having to stand in unbelievably warm weather for London today in that uniform. It was 80 degrees!”