Friday, July 27, 2012

Games about to begin!!!

Greetings from London!
Our team arrived to London yesterday with few issues. There were a number of smiling faces to great us throughout the day. Things have been fairly organized and pleasant yet a bit slow at times. The transfer time for the athletes to the Olympic village was a little longer than we would have liked yet somewhat par for the course and expected... Paul Ragusa, John Dawson and myself were promptly whisked away as our athletes were met by media at the airport. We are staying at the Nido Centre in downtown London, which I am told is the largest student dorm residence in the entire world. Very impressive building! My room is on the 30th floor with an amazing open view of the London Landscape... The Canadian Olympic Committee has rented the top 6 floors for Team Canada, and have placed a numerous resources here, Ticket, travel, medical center, stocked lounges, etc. for additional support staff and team members. As there is limited space for athletes and staff at the village. Many athletes, training partners, non accredited staff will be housed here during the games. It is a wonderful set up, there is a gym on the top floor, one train stop from the olympic village. NIDO is right in the heart of a very cool happening district, starbucks, shops, restaurants, pubs all within a 1-2min walk from the front doors.

The athletes also seemed very happy with the set up in the village. Immediately adjacent to the Village is Olympic Park with a number of stadiums and venues for the games, and a huge mall literally 1 minute walk from the Olympic village entrance.

After we checked into the NIDO center and our athletes and team leader Stefopulos checked into the Olympic village, we made our we to Langdon School, on the DLR train line. This is where the Canadian Olympic outfitting took place. There were alot of smiling faces as our team tried on the 30 items of clothing provided to Olympic team members! I must add Ragusa looked stunning in his COC Retro Jean Jacket, Lol...     

After outfitting, Paul and I went into the Olympic Village (via a day pass). After being sent all over the place trying to find the right entrance to meet Chris S. we eventually were rewarded with entrance to the village. We ate with the team in the gigantic dining center, had a short meeting and checked out the buzz in the village which was really quite cool. After leaving the village we stepped out to one of the pubs around the corner from NIDO on Liver Pool Street. It was filled with Canadians, which was kinda interesting. All of the Brits whom I talked to last night seemed very proud and pumped for the games to be starting, asking questions about what sport we are with, and our team, etc, etc... We were met by a couple of good friends Bill Hogarth (Team leader at the 04 and 08 games), and Kelly Dearborn (former CAWA Technical Director). It was a good enough reason to stay awake and have a few laughs as we begin to acclimate to the new time here. 

This morning the city is a buzz with the Opening ceremonies on tonight! Our athletes have been given the option to go on the mats or do their own work out. We really want them to not worry about the Olympic Competition today. The opening and having a fun day is the goal. We will focus back in on the process of reaching the podium tomorrow, but today is time to park that stuff and live the moments in front of them. That being said Garcia and Ragusa headed over to the mats. Our girls went out onto the grass and did some fun light technique at the village (I really like that they love this sport, and want to just move have a little fun and break a sweat in their new exciting environment. Ive been trying to get on the internet and get some work done (including this blog, for those interested). The athletes (and possibly Chris) will march in tonight to over a billion viewers world wide, and Paul and I plan to head down to Canada Olympic House to watch the Opening in Trafalgar square. Everyone seems to be in good spirits. It should be a memorable evening for all.

I should sign off now and go see a doctor here about this nasty cough I have at the moment!  And we will likely sneak away downtown for a little light sight seeing.

Tomorrow, the rest of our wrestling delegation will arrive, and our entire team will move out of London to begin our final prep camp. At 11am we are set to have an Olympic Press conference at the press centre which I anticipate will be very well attended!

All for now, I hope everyone is doing great back home !
Go Canada!!!

Coach V

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Leigh. Not sure if word has filtered back but the wrestlers got a lot of screen time on TV during Canada's entrance. All four of the women, Matt, Arjun, and Dave were all seen in numerous shots. Chris, too!