David Joyce's blog: The Olympic events you should be watching
I remember I was training an athlete in Regent’s Park in London when news filtered through that London had been awarded the 2012 Olympic Games. At that stage, I made a quiet commitment to myself that I would be there. Little did I know that I would be working there as a member of Team China! Now, we are less than a month away from the lighting of the flame and much of the hard work has been done. Our job now is to ensure that all our athletes are in good health and good spirits before the big show.
People often ask me about what it is like to work at an Olympics and my answer is always the same. The 2008 Games was an extraordinary event but for most of us working there, we were so focused on the tasks at hand that we almost lost sight of the fact that we were in Beijing. I certainly didn’t get to watch much of it as a fan might and I know for sure that this will be the case again.
What I thought I’d do this week though is give a little insight into the people and events that will be worthwhile looking out for.
"Our job now is to ensure that all our athletes are in good health and good spirits before the big show."
- Sarah Stevenson, Taekwondo (GBR). Possibly the best athlete I’ve ever worked with and an absolute inspiration to be around.
- Zhang Xiu Yun, Rowing (Chn). This year’s World Cup champion and arguably the best technician in the world. I have a vested interest, having run her strength programme for these Games.
- Sally Pearson, 100m hurdles (Aus). Arguably the hottest gold medal favourite at this year’s Olympics. Just about every Aussie will be glued to the TV for this one.
- Lu Yong, -85kg Weightlifting (Chn). Possibly the best lifter in the world right now. His second pull is lightning fast. Top guy as well.
- Varerie Adams, Shot put (NZ). Going for back-to-back golds. This outrageously explosive athlete is trained by one of the world’s best power scientists, Dr Mike McGuigan.
- Men’s coxless 4. This will be a race to the death between Great Britain and Australia. I simply cannot wait for this!
- The Brownlee Brothers, Triathlon (GBR). It will be these brothers from Yorkshire against the world. I can’t see the world winning, either.
- Beach Volleyball. Just because it’s great to watch!
- Women’s 5000 and 10,000m. Just when we thought it was all about the Kenyans, along come the Ethiopians!
- Men’s 100m final. The race the world will watch. Tyson Gay versus the 3 Jamaicans. My palms are getting a little sweaty just thinking about it!
If I wasn’t working and had an Infinity Pass (the access all areas pass for the Olympics), these are definitely the athletes and events I’d be aiming to get front row for.
Last month, we talked about periodization and next week, we’re going to discuss the final phase of this, the tapering programme. I’ll have a look at the best ways to get an athlete in peak form before the biggest event of their sporting lives.
‘Til next time,
Stay robust amigos!
Sports Medicine and Performance Consultant for Team China leading up to the London Olympics. Holds Masters degrees in both Sports Physiotherapy and Exercise Science and lectures on the MSc in Sports Physio course at the University of Bath and on the MSc in S+C at Edith Cowan University.