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Let the Games Begin!

10 August 2016

Graeme Wilkes reports on the Olympics in Rio as the Games move from the preparation phase to the competition!

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Prior to the competition everyone is in good spirits and excited about the potential. You may recall, I am working at the British School in Rio De Janeiro which Team GB have taken over as a GB Performance Centre. Here we have a swimming pool (for “recovery”), ice baths, sauna (weight loss for sports that have to make weight), a double gym which has been kitted out with state of the art equipment, and training areas. The training areas are specifically for boxing, judo and taekwondo, and fencing. There is also a chill out area where the athletes can meet “nearest & dearest”.

With Katy McLean, GB Women’s 7s from South Shields

With Katy McLean, GB Women’s Rugby 7s from South Shields

There was some anxiety that the awful travel on the amazingly busy/chaotic Rio roads would put athletes off coming from the village (it would be 15 minutes with no traffic) but a combination of a great facility, and great food here has made the centre very popular. Once the first sport came (hockey) word spread and on Friday (opening ceremony day) we had 250 people through! The food has been a big draw. We have a Dutch chef Hubert here and his produce is excellent. It has been a major factor in the athletes being here every day!


So now into competition, the highs and lows start. We’ve just had Adam Peaty in with his gold medal as well as the Minister for Sport, men’s hockey team, boxers, fencers and badminton. Hopefully we will have a few more medals coming through soon.

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Gymnastics arena

We are all trying to make sure we see a few events whilst here, as well as working. I have been on duty at the women’s Hockey match (GB vs China) and last night I caught up with Amy Tinkler, her parents, and coach from Bishop Auckland at Gymnastics. I have helped look after Amy since she was very young, with her coach Rachel and parents. It’s amazing to see her on the Olympic stage aged 16 compared to the gym in Bishop Auckland! She qualified for the floor final which is a great achievement at 16 given gymnasts mature into their 20’s.


A group of us are off to Beach Volleyball at Copacabana beach on tonight from 9pm to 1am. Should be great on this iconic part of the world – I am sure the sand will look lovely! Will report back after that!

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The Olympic Park

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