Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Team enjoys London games on day off the mats

Hi all,
I had mentioned that I would try to have someone else write an entry (or two) somewhere along the way. I figure my sarcastic and grammatically challenged writting style (YES, Amy I am trying...) might have become tiresome. I asked Erica Wiebe to write an entry to chronicle her Olympic experience in London.


About 2 hours away from the heart of London and the craziness of the Olympic Games is a small community of Loughborough. This is where the Canadian Olympic Wrestling team has been tucked away preparing mentally and physically for their golden Olympic performance.

As a training partner I have been going through the motions as well, wrestling once a day and doing my own strength and conditioning training. It truly feels like any other training camp I've been too... We are bussed to some secluded location and staying in dorms with the team where we perform our daily ritual of eat, sleep, wrestle.

We are staying in Loughborough for another week or so as we continue our preparation away from all the hype... But yesterday on our day off we took a trip into London. That is when I realized we are not just at another training camp.. this is kind of a big deal. Oh right... Its the OLYMPIC GAMES!

Upon arriving in London I was immeditately in awe. A city already filled to the brim with people, culture and history has taken on the Olympic Games and flourished.

After a quick stop at the Olympic Village, myself and two teammates managed to sneak into the 63kg women's weightlifting competition and watched Christine Girard win a bronze medal. The atmosphere was electric. Later on that evening we celebrated at the Canada House where I met friends from across Canada and as the three medallists from the day arrived, the house shook with energy. We watched the highlights of the day on the big screen standing shoulder to shoulder with olympians, coaches, parents, and friends. When the video came to an end, everyone cheered and laughed and some (well.. almost everyone) wiped away some tears of happiness and pride.

It was my first real taste of the London Olympic Games and I have never been more proud to be Canadian.


Our day off served as a nice break! To our pleasant surprise we were able to secure accomodation for our team at the NIDO performance centre. Our team got a night in London and got a mini run through of our final staging place during the games competiton.

As we arrived London we set out to "work our magic" and make some tickets appear where NONE currently held. I have ALWAYS SAID, that if there is ever some kind of cataclysmic event on the Earth, there will still be Rats, Roaches, and WRESTLERS running around on all the rubble. We are a resilient bunch at times. Everyone had an adventure and found tickets!!!

Dugrenier, Tremblay and crew managed to get into Diving to watch Canada win a Bronze Medal. Huynh, Haley, and Wiebe hit the excel center (where wrestling will also be held),  they just missed watching Canada in Judo enroute to Bronze but erica actually talked to the training partner of the American our Canadian beat and got a match recap. They DID get into weigh lifting to watch Girard win Bronze (which they said was amazing)... My group Verbeek, Ragusa, Calder, and Stefopulos, all headed to Wimbledon, which this only Olympic venue that was also used in 1908 for the first London games. It was amazing! The history and the tennis was so exciting we, started at centre court and watched Sarah Robson of Britain take on Maria Sharipova in Womens tennis. The venue was electric as the 18 year old Brit gave Sharipova everything she could handle in the first match, but faded mentally in the second set. We then ran over to court 17 to watch Nestor and Pospisil play a powerful Serbian team. We were court side next to the doubles coach and the action was incredible. We have all met Nestor at previous games and enjoyed the match immensly. Unfortunately we were not as good of luck as the rest of our team appeared to be at their venues. Our canadians lost a tough three set marathon, to a very hungry and tough team. The whole experience at wimbledon was unbelievable! We walked around the grounds and took in all the history!

We later met the rest of our crew at Canada Olympic House (in Trafalgar Square). The Women's gymnastic team arrived, then eventually Christine Girard showed up. We spent a couple hours socializing and celebrating and exchanging stories from our excellent adventures! I had fun as a coach at Canada house, and afterwards we went to a pub while our Olympians headed back to NIDO. I had a number of interesting conversations with other coaches leaders and friends from Weight lifting, Volleyball, Beach Volleyball, Syncro Swimming. I love to hear how these other sports operate here and throughout the quad. There is a lot of wisdom to be gained and it helps me actually feel very good about the things Wrestling Canada has done, and is doing in our pursuit of excellence... It was a memorable night!

We jumped on the train this morning and made our way back to Welbeck in good spirits. Practice after lunch was a little more emotional than we have seen in the last few days. The girls were still quite good, but the reality that we are about a week away from competition is upon us all. Our group of driven athletes want to be wrestling flawlessly heading into the games... At times when we give coaching feed back they can get frustrated as they often "know" what we are asking for. It is so normal for them to feel some apprehension and stress at this time. I want them to know all the coaches, partners, and support staff (and yes you back home too) are behind them and are in support of them. Everyday the coaches talk, we are excited about the competition to come, and we really want our teams to feel great and ready heading in.

Olympic fun fact! Sitting in the lounge right now we were joking with our girls about the task of wrestling as a sport... Compared to like the tour de france and others. Then we googled the longest olympic wrestling match! Eleven hours, forty minutes in 1912!!! So the task they face, its not an impossible one! ;)

All for now,
Go Canada!

Coach Vierling

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