Blog 10, sometime Saturday…
We did some great reflections on the women's all-around competition which mesmerized everybody on Thursday. Here are some links to various articles that we have posted please read, I promise they are good!
- Individual Achievement- Group Effort! When Athletes thank those who helped them along the way! CLICK HERE!
- The Tale of Two Simones: Gymnastics and Swimming- CLICK HERE!
-Reflections on Simone and Ally: the 1-2 punch (CLICK HERE!)
-Mary Lou's take on Martha. First names needed only! (CLICK HERE!)
-A can't – miss article on the Olympic medals: what's in them? What are they worth? To the athletes get prizes? Find out all of this in more here! (CLICK HERE!)
-Laugh from "Just Simone!" (CLICK HERE!)
-Preview to Sunday's first night of Event Finals! (CLICK HERE!)
Today is Saturday and it was a day off, as was yesterday, Friday. Since the minute I boarded the plane I have been busy either using my hands to type or to treat! It is a welcome change to be able to just have a day off. I was able to watch front and center the 16s bracket match between the American Women, Walsh and Ross, and the Italians. Because I work the AVP in Chicago each year, I get to watch a little on North Ave Beach, but again...mostly working. I have known most of the American ladies for many years including Walsh Jennings before she was a mother. I am impressed with her tenacity to continue training, as well as the teamwork that she and April share on the court. I got to see my friend Rob Landell, who is volunteering as medical for the Olympics and specifically volleyball. He is one of the main organizers of the medical in the United States for the AVP, and one of th smartest people I know! The fact that we saw each other here, thousands of miles form home in Brazil, yet cannot manage to do so in the states is so ironic!
I was able to spend a good amount of time with Shannon today as well, more than our once or twice a year meetings in the States, and expose her to beach volleyball, too, after taking some fun pics. We ended up sitting next to Dorian Scott, an Olympic shotputter, which was a great change of pace versus talking about gymnastics all day long!
That USA house was hopping today, with many medalists coming in with their hardware around their necks after finishing their medal ceremonies. The largest applause yesterday went to fencing, as well as archery and our synchronize divers. I was able to spend some time with USA's Sam Dorman and his mom after he was done giving his thank you speech in front of everybody. He is such a kind and talented person, and for just being together with his partner for about one year, their performance is remarkable!. The pride that I was able to get from his mother while talking to her about his training and his accomplishment was so very heartwarming. The smile on her face, the relaxation in her voice. So many years of work! It was so raw, as it was less than hours after the achievement had been made. This is what athletics is truly about! After being able to see and touch Simone's mdtal for albeit a nano second, I was actually able to hold an experience Sam's medal. The amount of work that goes in to that medal is just indescribable, and it is so much more beautiful when you see it in person, and you see the joy on the athletes face who happens to be wearing it.
Divers are some of my favorite athletes to treat, because unlike some other sports, their injuries, unlike trauma in football, hamstring tears in track, and ankle sprains in gymnastics, are often not visualized with various amounts of tape or bracing - especially during competition. The cleaner the look of the body, the cleaner the entry into the water. However, these athletes suffer the same chronic issues as any. Their Achilles go through a great amount of stress given either jumping on springboard, or standing in what gymnastics refers to as "relive'" position on platform. The amount of time it takes to take advantage of gravity off of the diving platform - weather board or spring - is so minimal that the movement from position to position, such as straight to piked or tuck, is so incredibly fast. Flexibility is so very important for divers, so that when speed is in the picture with position changing, the body is completely available to allow this and range of motion. Unfortunately some athletes go through spine and disc issues as well given the pike and tuck position and the aggressiveness of such. Sam was very complementary of all of the rehab team that has not only gotten him here, but also kept him going while in the water at Rio. Along with the announcement of thanking his mom, he says he couldn't do it without his entire team.
I was able as well to get to the actual beautiful side of Barra (pronounced Ba-ha), and go to the beach that is (relatively) clean. This is where many of the surfers do their thing, and it is most of what is pictured on any sort of media, vacation advertisement, or national news. I spent some time with my dear friend Kathy as well as other members and spouses of the FIG executive in technical committee. It is great to see them unwind, as their responsibility here at the games is so very stressful. Especially nice was to be able to spend time walking with Nellie Kim, who I have known for over 20 years since being an athlete and coaching with her at Lake Owen camp...blast from the past. Her position as President of the Women's Artistic Gymnastics Technical Committee is impressive, but not as much as her having been a Soviet Olympian in 1976 and 1980. Her love for the sport may surpass mine, hard to believe. She has been involved in every aspect- athlete, coach, clinician, judge, and FIG - and her decision making effects not only the Code of Points creation and changes, but also in-meet decision making on judging and petitions.
The beach is actually quite beautiful. Lots of scenery to look at, although very cold today in the 60s. The ocean is clean, unlike the inlets which are full of sewage, floating garbage, and God knows what else.
As the athletes prepare for tomorrow, we begin the first day of three days of combined event finals with a few events on men's and women's being each day. This is an amazing experience for the athletes to be cheered on by their counterparts, as well as for the crowd who usually may only see men's or women's to be able to be exposed to an experience the others.
Now, for the random Brazilian facts and interesting point number one. Just like in New Jersey, one cannot put gas in their own car! Even as a mail, you have to pull up to the gas station and allow the attendant to do it for you. I happen to be in an Uber who needed to stop to do this, which was very interesting, given the fact that you never know what their main intention is. All is well, and it proved to be just another exposure to the culture of Brazil.
- I have learned to appreciate the quality of meat in the United States! There is no USDA 1234 or five, it's pretty much just all a crapshoot at Taco Bell or Morton's, depending on the day exclamation I did notice that they do like their meat raw, which means that I have yet to have any red meat, or something close to a hamburger. I celibate at the opportunity to have McDonald's or Burger King upon my arrival to the states, although never craving these when I'm there!
- Tipping – there really is no tipping in Brazil in the end, for people who serve you food or drink, is deemed as offensive if you are tipping them, meaning that in their normal day-to-day life, they are not doing a good enough job until this point. It is approximately 10% and it is added to every check, and it truly does go to the waitstaff I think I mentioned this before in my blog, but it is so nice to see people working because they truly want to serve well, as opposed to only putting on a show for a tip.
- I still have yet to see one mosquito, not even one. Although my good friend Steve Butcher says that he has killed over 100, which is his contribution to the health and safety of the Brazilians that he will leave- ha ha!
- I forgot to tell everyone about the built in bidet in each bathroom. Really, it is nothing more than a super fast powered water hose, with a handle, to "clean" yourself before you wipe, as you cannot put TP in the toilet, just in the basket. EEK. Now you know:) Not a bad idea for the 3-5 yr old kid that "thinks" they wipe well enough, either. Just saying.
- 5. I cooked tonight on my spark-ignited stove about the size of a breakfast-in-bed tray. It sits, in the kitchen, next to the washer, without a dryer. Interesting.... Makes you appreciate the kitchens at home that we all complain about that could be bigger and better. Humble pie.
In the midst of all of this focus on performance and letting the world know how the athletes are doing, of course my nerd brain goes in many different directions! My take on Chris Brooks and his focus at the chalk bucket prior to high bar in the AA had so much more depth than just simply him realizing his dreams. It has to do with my ability to understand where he is, and what he is going through, as I have been there before with injuries (of course not at the Olympics). There is so much that goes into training for people who are injured, a little bit more worn down, and it takes a lot of effort to get them there, even more than the ones that are simply healthy. Along with his Dad's passing, the emotions welled up. My first thought, of course, was to email my friend Ali Arnold, the best sports psychologist in the business, and one that is often used by many world and Olympic champions from the US. We are going to write a story, an article, a series, on the understanding of athletes going through injury, their treatment, and the struggle with return from both a mental and physical perspective. Hopefully this may open the eyes of many parents, coaches, gym owners, and fans as to this aspect of an elite athlete's sporting life. Ali and I are two of those who are blessed enough to understand almost every aspect of the sport. And, that, in my opinion, hold a responsibility to share that with others. Period!
Potentially the greatest part of the last 48 hours (besides sleep, yay!) was the ability to sit down with one of the technical supervisor is for the equipment at major FIG competitions (for almost an HOUR!) You will read more about this in an article that will be in the magazine's Olympic issue, but we are also going to write an extended opinion series from a medical perspective, on the manufacturing of equipment, the crafting of sport science and injury prevention, as well as the great importance that reliability and consistency both have across the world with regards to what the equipment gives the athletes. Nerd hat on for sure! I may have not stopped smiling for a couple hours after, as my brain was literally going haywire with the amount of information not only that I would like to get out to the public, but also to other biomechanics and sport science geeks that just may not know as much about gymnastics as we do. Again, duty to educate...done!
Enjoy tomorrow's competition, as there are only three days left of the Olympics for the artistic Gymnast. I can't believe it is a ready gone this fast, and these women have made their mark in history. Hopefully, the legacy will continue.
Until then.... Your Portuguese language lessons for the day!
Tchau (Good bye)
Aproveite seu dia! (Enjoy your day!)
A ginastica e' incrível! (Gymnastics is amazing!)