Monday, August 13, 2012

London Wrap up

Final Olympic Wrap up

Well I am on the flight home and after a five hour nap (I am severely sleep deprived), I am ready to tackle the task of my last blog entry for this Olympic games.

What a ride this last year has been, and more specifically the last three weeks.

I apologize for not blogging the last two days.  I had my IPad taken (or lost) at the venue, which was by far the biggest bummer of the games for me! Back at the performance centre the internet was very temperamental the last few days, and we have been running around trying to watch the men and enjoy the last few days of the games.

The day after our competition, we went to Canada Olympic House and watched Matt Gentry's bronze medal match from there, after watching his amazing day on the mats at the venue. The place was filled with wrestling family and friends and supporters.

The Canadian Olympic Committee held a special recognition evening for Tonya and Carol there. It was a really special event in which they sat the two of them up at the front on chairs and played highlight videos of their medal run at the games. The president of the COC did a rousing introduction calling them two of them “Canadian Olympic Legends”, and “Canadian Sport Idols”!
The two girls and the coaches (Marty, Paul, and I) each took a couple minutes to say a few words to a packed house. It was truly a special acknowledgement of wrestling and more specifically these two stars whom have shown so brightly under the Olympic Spot light! They each reflected on their individual careers and experiences and thanked so many loved ones and supporters who had helped along the way… The day before we had a wrap up talk to the team after our last session I began to cry. There is so much emotion and so many things that were bouncing around in my head. The athletes and coaches have been through so many things together over the years and I will never be able to forget what Carol, Tonya, and Martine have given to this sport. The evening at Canada Olympic House was a great way to pay tribute to these girls.   

I went into the closing ceremonies last night which for all of you that watched at home is a great way to cap off our this four year journey. Our girls and a couple of the guys (Gentry and Trembley) seemed to have a great time. They are definitely celebrities on the Canadian Team and have made lots friends and connections with athletes from different sports on the Canadian Team. At one point Carol Huynh had swimming medalist Ryan Cochrane on her shoulders, at another our therapist Rick Tkach had challenged Jessica Zelinka to an “Ab Off” versus Gentry (I won’t say who won)!  I was also happy the Erica Wiebe manged to use her friendship connections to get Gen Michelle and herself into the closing with ticket to watch, in the Vip friends and family section no less.

I spoke to Anne Merklinger today who is the Head of Own the Podium. Own the Podium, for those who don’t know, evaluates all high performance sport in Canada and determines funding based on potential for Olympic podium success. Anne was very complimentary of the way that our team had competed in London, women and men. It is nice to have our team and their performance recognized as substantial, because both teams had a very strong Olympic performance. I have read a few critical comments on the OAWA board which really do surprize me. Anyone who thinks it is easy or that our athletes don’t put their heart and soul into this sport is crazy! Ill drop that and stick with the positive….

I am sorry that I didn’t get to blog the last few days of the Olympics, I hope people understand how hectic it is, and how emotionally drained I am!

My next few months don’t settle down much for me and the Womens program. Their is the Women's World Championships in Edmonton, as well as Fisu Worlds in Finland. I also have no shortage of meetings. High performance coaches meeting, Olympic debriefs, and Quadrennial budget and plan into OTP…

I hope I did an adequate job of thanking all those people who have supported the program. I want to congratulate the men for their Olympic tournament as well! They wrestled with great pride!

Any questions in the future, or comments can be sent onto my email.

Thanks for tuning in!

Coach V

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