Well we made it through another day here in Turkey, relatively unscathed. Since the competition swings into action (at least with our first weigh ins), today offered a little chance to get out and see Istanbul. So the majority of us did just that, we capitalized on the fantastic weather and this intriguing city. A group of our support staff headed out at 8 am to tackle many of the sights and sounds of Istanbul. They had a full day which included a trip to a palace, a harem, and boat cruise up the Bosphorus straight. Not everyone knows this but the Bosphorus separates the city of Istanbul geographically into two continents, Europe and Asia. It is an extremely nice way to see the city.
We didn't want our athletes to undertake such a busy day in the heat, so I waited (and waited, and waited) for them to arise this morning and get ready. We took a crazy cab ride down to the Istanbul's famous "Grand Bazaar" downtown. I set a two hour maximum and we set out into the maze of tunnels, shops and vendors. Our girls (Carol, Tonya, Amanda, Justine) loved the whole experience. It wasn't too hot in the Bazaar and our ladies did what some of them do well...Shop! Actually I think if we were here for the World Championships of Bartering I would give Amanda Gerhart a good chance at medalling! It was a nice afternoon and diversion for our girls. I don't want them to spend too much energy on such outings, but the smiles on there faces lets me know it was a worthwhile experience.
We hit the mats today just after 5pm. Marty Calder joined our staff and Jeff Adamson got in, in time for our workout. Thanks to Jeff my neck is now in a knot as I write this, and Marty had a 15 minute "grudge match" with Raj Virdi... It was a lot of fun...
Oh Ya... Our Women, they wrestled too! Carol and Jessie took the evening off of the mats and started the tough road to scratch weight. Tonya, Amanda, and Justine were back at it, with another good work out. Ohenewa went down to the venue with Coach Mair at 2pm to check out the action at the tournament and get a workout on the warm up mats. The girls followed different structure tonight, with similar volumes. Tonya and Amanda wrestled Paul Ragusa one match tonight. While Justine wrestled Marty Calder some one minute rounds. Each of the athletes did a few drills specific to their needs. It was not a long practice but again the spirits seemed very good and the energy was definitely there. I left practice again tonight thinking we are ready to compete. Nothing needs to change between now and the tournament.
Our hotel is really buzzing with energy now. Many of the European teams arrived today (Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, France, Germany, etc). It is nice to see so many familiar faces. Good friends, old rivals, and all of them in love with this crazy sport of wrestling.
The majority of our men's team and the remainder of our women's team arrives tomorrow. We are still working through some of the logistics of being located into two different hotels, but everyone is working well together. Our therapists were back at work this evening (and I will probably drop in for a quick tune up myself).
I will end things there... For friends and loved ones back home, there are no worries here. We are doing fine and are being well looked after.
Feel free to email me if you have something you would like me to cover in my blog!
Hope everything is great back home...