Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016

Doug and Ryans Blog – Day 3: The Start of the Medal Rush

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Doug and Ryans Blog – Day 3: The Start of the Medal Rush

Day 3

The start of the medal rush

Ryan and the rest of the athletes started the day with an education session, planning for the final part of the 2012 Ambition programme; the wrap up day on the 20th Aug. The session  involved being broken up into groups with specific tasks to summarise the learning experience, including

  • What can you do to help yourself going forward?
  • What have you learned – what will you do differently
  • What do you as a group want to make your legacy  and how will you spread the legacy through your sport

We then met up at the TeamGB meeting room at our base in Queen Mary University London, just as the rowing finals for the day began. The next hour was absolutely Mad.

It all started with Helen Glover & Heather Stanning absolutely smashing the field to win the first ever women’s gold in rowing with the assembled Throng going crazy with delight. The atmosphere then dropped a level…… well for short while….. that was until the men’s rowing 8 went for gold.

Again the room erupted, cheering on the boat, reaching a crescendo as they led with about 500 metres to go only to be caught in the closing stretch by both the Germans (Gold) and Canada (Silver). However, the rowers had kick started the medal rush with Bradley Wiggins (cycling Gold), Michael Jamieson (swimming Silver), Chris Froome (Cycling Bronze).

The afternoon was spent travelling to the Excel Arenavenue for weight lifting (Women’s 69kg category). Got caught up in the media scrum that accompanies London Mayor, Boris Johnson wherever he goes.

Athletes and coaches were given tickets to different sports to enable us to gain a different perspective of the games. This turned out to be fantastic spectacle as these women played a game of cat & mouse with each other regarding the weights they were going to lift, trying to psyche out their opponents, with the gold Medal won by RIM Jong Sim of N Korea. This was a really exciting way to finish our Olympic Ambition experience.

Having had some time to reflect on the first two stages of the programme (Loughborough University Preparation Camp and Games), I believe that the key objectives (see below), of the programme were more than achieved.

  • To support aspiring Olympians and their coaches by offering them an insight into the uniqueness of the Olympic environment.
  • To inspire young athletes and their coaches to pursue their ambitions;
  • To develop greater awareness of the Olympic values and of One TeamGB
  • To develop networks and a commitment amongst participants, the BOA /BOA, Team GB 2012 Ambassadors, past Olympians and the NGBs.

It is very difficult to not to over use the words Inspire or Inspirational when describing this programme. However, from both a coaches and athletes perspective it was a truly inspirational and rewarding experience.

Personally, inspiring in terms of:

  • being given access to former Olympians and listening to their tales of success (and failures), as well as the recurring themes of having a dream and the commitment to achieve it
  • the unique access given to the One TeamGB experience that the London Olympians experienced
  • challenging me personally to continue development my coaching experience and expertise to help me assist athletes to achieve their dreams.

Rewarding, in terms of:

  • Being able to share the last three days with coaches from other sports, including Soren Gran and Rhona Martin (curling Gold medallist in 2002), respectively, Head Coaches for Scottish and British men’s and women’s curling teams, and Harvey Hillary, Royal Yachting Associations’ National Racing Coach who shared the challenges and approach they take to preparing athletes for Olympic participation

From Ryan perspective, in his own words

“My time at the Olympics has got to be one of the best moments I have experienced in my life. It’s not everyday that you meet and speak to the future King about the Olympics then be interviewed on live television and then be asked to sign autographs. I was privileged to be given tickets to both basketball and volleyball which were both excellent although GB lost in both sports, however that did not stop the crowd from getting behind the team with their vocal support making the atmosphere electric. Another highlight for me was not only seeing the dining hall but eating with the olympians, the place was absolutely massive (to give you an idea of the enormity of it imagine 880 double decker buses fitting in a room) and had foods from all around the world to suit the needs of all athletes. I couldn’t believe that I was walking around the Olympic village and getting up close to athletes that I had only watched on tv. Kelly Holmes held a Q&A with the ambition athletes and coaches but it was Kelly asking the questions, she then told us about her Olympic experiences and what it felt like to win gold. It still hasn’t hit home that I’ve been to the 2012 Olympics met so many athletes and even the future King and his wife. This experience can only give me more determination and encouragement to reach my potential.”

From the both of us, I would like to thank the BOA, Sarah Winkless (Head of the Ambition Programme) and all the volunteers who assisted her, GB Basketball and Basketball Scotland for this unforgettable experience.

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