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Preparing for the Games

01 August 2016

Although the competition doesn't officially start till the 6th August, there's still plenty of work to be done before the athletes arrive for the opening ceremony. Graeme tells us what he's been doing to prepare for the Games during his first week in Rio.

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I arrived late last Sunday night (24th July) in Rio after 12 hour flight and was up for an 8am shuttle to the GB Performance Centre where I am Medical Lead. The Performance Centre is a relatively short distance from our accommodation, which is immediately opposite the Olympic Park (swimming and cycling stadia are 100m from our front door). I am living in some private apartment blocks with apartments rented by Team GB for support staff and some athlete reserves. Reserves are mainly team sports like Hockey and Rugby –  they are allowed two replacements but they do not live in the Olympic village. Unlike London 2012, I am not living in the village but will visit from time to time.

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Swimming and cycling stadia are 100m from our front door

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The Performance Centre we have been working at is in a boarding school where lots of building work is taking place. They have finished most of it in time for Team GB arrival, including a swimming pool and a huge and impressive sports hall. The medical team of two doctors and two physios have been working hard since arrival; not seeing patients but preparing the rooms. Everything has been shipped in boxes so it’s like arriving on your holiday with everything to be unpacked. This includes IKEA flatpacks, branding the rooms in GB regalia, setting up saunas (for weight dependent sports to lose weight!), ice baths, ice machines, treatment areas and much more. It’s a mad rush to turn a boarding school into a GB centre where athletes can come to get away from the village and relax, prepare or recover.

Many of the athletes are currently acclimatising at GB holding camp in Belo Horizonte which is 200 miles away. They will fly in when ready to the village. My London sport, Hockey, arrived last week so I have been catching up with some old friends – the bond with the girls from the bronze medal win is still strong.

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The Performance Centre swimming pool

So my day will consist of 8am shuttle bus to the Performance Centre and then seeing whatever is needed throughout the day until an 8pm bus back to our apartments. I will work closely with two very experienced physiotherapists and have a brand new ultrasound scanner, full medication to dispense and access to a range of diagnostics at the Village if needed. Canoeing, Hockey, Boxing and Rugby 7s have been arriving over the past few days so we have already been very busy. Competition starts this weekend and, as usual, there will be highs and lows as the sports get underway – but hopefully not too many lows!

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