Behind the Scenes: Oprah's Olympic Games Celebration
The night before the taping of Oprah's 23rd season premiere, the crew is hard at work setting up at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in the heart of Chicago's Millennium Park.
Although they've got starstruck fans all over the world, the Olympians are also fans of one another. The tallest and the smallest athletes take a minute to catch up and pose for pictures during rehearsal.
The morning of the show, the staff gathers onstage to review last-minute details as early bird fans stake out their spots on the lawn of Millennium Park.
American Idol winner David Cook consults with stage manager Dean during sound check as excited fans cheer him on from the lawn.
If you won medals at the Olympic Games, wouldn't you feel like doing handstands? Two gymnasts seize the moment! All the Olympians arrived in style on double-decker buses and trolleys.
Michael Phelps and his mother, Debbie, greet the press line.
Before taking the stage, Oprah chats with Entertainment Tonight reporter Kevin Frazier.
Lisa Leslie, a Team USA™ womens basketball and Los Angeles Sparks player, meets the crowd. Women's basketball has taken home the gold in the last four Olympic Games—and Lisa's been part of every team!
The press gets down for gymnast Shawn Johnson.
Once arriving at Oprah's Olympic Village, the athletes are greeted with a hearty breakfast. Members of the water polo team dig in.
Gayle conducts an interview with silver medalist swimmer Dara Torres for her Oprah Radio XM Radio show.
Months before the Olympic Games, gymnast Nastia Liukin put a photo of a gold medal on her vision board. The day of the season premiere taping, she proudly displays her own gold, silver and bronze!
After the athletes arrived, they all took a moment to sign an Olympic banner. Water polo player Jamie Hipp is blown away by all the signatures!
Shooting team members Walton Eller and Vincent Hancock take a moment to celebrate their gold medals.
Women's rowing team members Mary Whipple, Erin Carfaro and Michelle Guerette say cheese.
The audience is doused with red, white and blue confetti during the show's grand finale—a performance by American Idol winner David Cook.
After the taping ends, Olympians head out to the crowd to thank the fans. Gymnast Nastia Liukin embraces the experience.
Gymnast Shawn Johnson also makes her way through the crowd.
Ecstatic audience members greet Michael Phelps.
Members of the women's track team go the extra distance to meet the fans in the furthest seats from the stage.
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley had never attended an Oprah Show until this Olympic Games celebration. After taping is over, he takes a moment to pose with the men's basketball team.
At the end of the day, Oprah took photos with the Olympians and their families. She shares a moment with Debbie and Michael Phelps.