Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wrestlers unite and relocate to Wellbeck

A fun filled Saturday here in London. Our athletes were still buzzing this morning after last nights opening ceremonies. If you were not part of the over billion viewers, Carol and Tonya were asked by the COC and Mark Tewksbury to march in the front line... and the rest of the team were pretty much right behind them. Wrestling Canada could not have had a more prominent moment in the spot light as part of the Canadian Olympic Delegation. A very proud moment for me as a coach... we were trying to text the athletes during but their cell reception was less than perfect in the big stadium.

Paul Ragusa and I headed up to the top floor of our NIDO building. The skylounge had a 360 degree panoramic view of the city and even the olympic stadium! We could see the fireworks plain as day. It was a fully catered affair, with a CTV feed of the athletes marching in. Everyone in the room wearing their newly aquired COC Olympic gear. I very memorable place to experience this opening ceremonies.

This morning was very hectic for Coach Ragusa and myself. We had to take a shuttle to the outfitting centre to drop off our bags and then get driven to the international media centre for our 11 am press conference. Unfortunately, our driver had no idea where we were going and every person we asked gave a different answer. We actually arrived to the centre in the nick of time, only to be told we need media passes and needed to have our team leader come find us and escort us through security. At 11 oclock we stepped through the security scanner and scrambled to find our team and the room in which the conference was at. The athletes were also late arriving as they had to walk over from the olympic village with no clear idea where to go. So we all shuffled into the room about ten minutes late as the assembled media patiently waited for us to get set. The conference started with the men on the stage. The typical questions about impressions of the opening ceremonies, olympic expectations and aspirations were covered. The athletes were quite well spoken and I found myself smiling a lot as i listened to each give answers from their perspective as an olympian on our team. Carol, Tonya, and Martine got asked a few more pointed questions about their past experience, how they expected to do this olympics, how could they deal with the pressures of their position, was their age going to be a challenge, etc. They did an excellent job and I felt showed that they do hold true confidence heading into their olympic competition.

After the conference, we all headed into the village and had lunch at a special outdoor BBQ area they have set up... It was pretty amazing! We packed up by 4 and jumped onto a bus the COC rented to take us to our training camp site. On the bus was the remainder of our team, fresh off of their trip from outfitting. We drove upto Welbeck Millitary academy. This is where our entrire team: athletes training partners, coaches, medical staff, and team leaders will all work together for our final preparations for the games. we are the only group at the 36 acre site. The school has a gym with mats, cardio room, weight room, squash courts, tennis courts, soccor fields, pool, sauna (to be delivered), and much much more. The dinner was excellent and we have fixed up our own medical center and are ready for business. It is very nice place to be and come together as a team. I hope we can have a lot of fun and laughs in the days to come. I spoke to the girls tonight about trying to organize some games, activities and fun stuff. 

We hit the mats tonight at 8:45 this evening. Even though it was a little later than we had wanted, the athletes seemed pretty keen to get on there. We had an hour of focussed drilling tonight, and will return to the mats at 10 am tomorrow for some sparring. The afternoon will be more individualized for athletes to follow their tournament prep plans, in terms of weight control or other activities.

 It is now almost 1 am and breakfast is at 8am... so I think I need to wrap it up.
Hope all is well back home.
Will post again soon (and maybe solicite some guest bloggers to give their perspective)
All for now,
Coach V

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