West Bloomfield resident and Lone Pine Elementary student Elena Hirsch was selected as a finalist in the McDonald's Happy Meal Chefs contest and won a trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games for her and her mom, Sarah. Elena's dad Kevin and brother Jacob also traveled to London to coincide with Elena's trip to the Olympics.
Mom Sarah is sending daily updates to share Elena's experiences at the Olympics. Posting by Leslie Pardo on behalf of McDonald's.
We went to the Olympic swimming preliminary heats where we saw Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps swim in the 400m individual medley. We also saw America Dana Vollmer set a new Olympic record.
Judging by the cheering, the crowd was mostly British, though we saw spectators with flags from all over the world.
In June when Elena learned she won a trip to the Olympics, she hoped she would be able to watch Michael Phelps compete. According to Elena, "Today was amazing because we got to go to the Olympics and see swimming. We saw Michael Phelps who is my favorite swimmer."
Following the swim event, we went to the world's largest McDonald's for lunch. It is a temporary structure in the Olympic Park and serves thousands of Olympic visitors each day.
The Happy Meal Chef finalists then went to a cooking demonstration led by McDonald's head chef, Chef Dan Coudreaut, and the winners of the contest. Next, the children went to the Olympic Village where the athletes stay during the games. The kids were so excited when they got to meet members of the UK basketball team and USA volleyball team. Elena was so enthusiastic, "We actually got to meet an Olympic team and they gave me a pin," referring to the popular hobby of pin trading at the Olympics.
For dinner, we ate at Horniman at Hay's a British pub offering such specialties as fish & chips and bangers & mash.
Background about the McDonald's Happy Meal Chefs contest: Open to parents and guardians with kids ages eight to 11, the Happy Meal Chefs contest sought out inspiring stories from families who enjoy cooking with wholesome ingredients at family mealtime. The young chef and her mom Sarah entered the contest by answering a brief questionnaire and submitting a short video online that creatively showcased their family mealtime. At the Olympics, Elena along with the two winning Happy Meal Chefs and seven other contest finalists will meet Olympic athletes, attend Olympic sporting events, participate in cooking activities that promote balanced eating and have the exclusive privilege of playing with athletes at the Olympic venues.