Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Greetings from Guadalajara, Life in the village

Hello to everyone back home.
To all the followers of this blog, I welcome you to the 2011 Pan American Games. Please be patient with my coverage and my writting skills. I was told my grammar and sentence structure "is as painful as a well executed BUTT DRAG!" That is an actual quote from a good friend and athlete of mine. For those of you who are not actual wrestlers, lets just say that is not a compliment! Here goes nothing!
We arrived to the athletes village after a couple of flights and a fairly full day of travel. Driving up to the village you can clearly see the Pan American Stadium where the opening ceremonies were held, the games torch is lit prominently above the stadium for all to see. It is a symbol that gives me goosebumps every time I see it, a symbol of the events and memories to be created here in Mexico. The actual village is nestled in a fairly picturesque setting, with lots of trees and hills surrounding the somewhat temporary feeling village. This country setting is surprising given we are in the midst of a large city that boasts over 4 million inhabitants!
Our apartment building is a short walk from the transportation mall, maybe five minutes. We were met promplty at the airport and with minimal delays and with a police escort were driven directly to the village. It is always exciting to walk through the security gates and get to see the our home for the next week or so. Each of the buildings is splattered with the flags of the country staying there. Canada being one of the most prominent countrys at these games. As we walked into OUR building is was nice to see a number of a banners the COC has created for these Guadalajara games. Athletes and coaches who were memorable parts of Canada's games success. There to greet all Canadian team members and inspire them. Pictures of Daniel Igali, Tonya Verbeek, and Carol Huynh! Proud faces, and all three testaments of what can be accomplished when facing great opportunity.

I was kicked out of the coaches lounge last night and decided to send off the rest of the blog this morning. The condo units we are living in are quite nice, holding upto 13 people in three bedrooms and there are actual beds in the living room. I feel like our team was fortunate in getting asigned actual bedrooms (for our staff and athletes) and not being stuck in the living room (much more private). The view from my room is absolutely beautiful. There is a lush green courtyard with a nice fountain in the middle of it, there is a beautiful hillside beyond our buildings with a great walking jogging path up the hill overlooking the Games stadium and village. I went up there this morning and the view was something I will definately remember. As you start the walk up there is a great relaxing area with an outdoor pool low on the hillside. It is quite a sight seeing all of the different types of athletic bodies already starting to gather in the morning. Tall, short, thin, thick, a very athletic and attractive crowd! They also have a tent beside the pool where they have build a temporary steam sauna, pretty cool. They have a great training facility with a bunch of cardio equipment on a catwalk between two bulding. The room is large and well equipped on the 4th floor and is all glass overlooking the village courtyard on one side and the pool and hillside on the other (really a fabulous set up).

Today we had two of our Men begin the Greco competition. Shawn Daye-Findley at 66kg, and Eric Feunekes at 84kg. Don Ryan headed over with Chris Stefopulos. We have all been givin cell phones to use for the duration of the games. A great luxery in helping us stay in touch and keep ontop of all the potential distractions and areas of confusion inherent at these games. According to Chris the competition venue was 45minute drive from the village this morning. They have two mats opperating and everything there ran fairly smoothly, which is a pleasant surprise.

I stayed back in the village with our Women who have a number of obligatory meetings to get through today ontop of getting their weight under control for the weigh in tomorrow. Our schedule includes, going to outfitting at 2 pm to collect all our team Canada gear for the games, a saftey briefing and team orientation at 3:30, and a sit down with our Doctor Dory Boyer to go through a comprehensive medical/supplimentation screening prior to the competition. Being in a multi sport games is always a real challenge as there are so many distractions and hoops that our group needs to jump through prior to actual competitions. Nontheless, our girls seem in pretty good spirits as usual. Making scratch weight will be a little bit of a challenge, we will take them to a special facitity tonight that has a sauna and good cardio area at around 6:30pm. As you can see the day fills up fairly quickly. Whew...

Our freestyle team arrives today and it will be very important that we have clear communication from this point forward asto where and when things will happen, for the different team members. The food hall is typical of a major games, yet not quite as well done as India last year for the commonwealth. The selection is a little limited, yet adequate. It is essentially a caferteria the size of a football field. There is a great athlete lounge, coaches lounge, and medical centre the Canadian Olympic committee have created in the main level of our builing. Athletes have access to snacks and food and an actual nutritionist goes out daily and buys special items that are requested. There are ample safe drinks (juices, gaterade, bottled water, good coffee), as well as fruit, cerials, bars, etc. This save the athletes having to walk to the food hall everytime they need a snack. Also provides a great relaxing and socializing location. I am in the coaches lounge as I write this (both lounges have internet access, and a games tv feed). The medical center is a nice walk in clinic where athletes and staff can get any immediate issues dealt with, on top of treatments they have a few inflatable tubs set up (have not felt the temp) but I assume Cold and Hot for theraputic purposes.

Finally there is an international zone near the entrance ajacent to the transporation mall. It is essentially a mini city centre for athletes and approved outsiders (family members, sponsors, etc.) to come together and mix. They have a large outdoor stage and according to Chris Stef. they have had varying entertainment each evening. There is an outdoor pub, social area and many kiosks and things for people to see and do. An internet cafe, a food court which includes a Starbucks coffee. There in a Scotiabank, general store, bakery, sight seeing company, souvenier store and general venders with Mexican trinkets. As well as lots more. One of the nice things about a setting like this is I am able to sit down an socialize with some of my various important people. Last night their were a number of coaches in the international zone. It is a great place to do a little business in an informal setting. I am able to chat with Canadian Olympic Committee members, or support staff, or other national coaches and create relationships that will serve us well in the future. Last night I spent part of the evening talking to Terry Steiner (the US National Coach). Our programs have a good relationship that has been fostered over the last ten years. We exchange ideas, and planning, and do our best to create a future plan that will benefit both programs. It was a great evening. Chatting to Don, Chris, Jessica, Terry, Billy Wood and others. Lots of great inside wrestling stories (about Cael Sanderson as an example) and so many other things. I could probably write an interesting blog just about all the stories and stuff going on in the wrestling world alone. I know a bunch of the huge wrestling fans who read this would love that!
Anyways, I need to grab lunch now before the meetings this afternoon.
I have done my best to fill you in on the surroundings and try to give you a feel for being part of the team. I hope people are excited back home!
I will blog about the guys today when I get the report from Chris and Don.
Wish us luck!
Go Canada!
Coach Vierling


  1. Please feel free to send me messages, if there is something you would like me to blog about. Time permitting I will do my best.

  2. Excellent Write up V, I for one think that your sentence structure is far from a BUTT Drag to're Blog makes us readers feel like we are there with the team!! Thanks for all the communication and Best of success to you and the team!! Corey