It was a cold -15 degrees, when we arrived in Vienna and Linz, but thankfully I wasn’t just here as a tourist. Instead, I was here on a mission (whistle Chariots of fire soundtrack now).
Earlier this year I accepted my first selection for England Athletics and was excited to accompany the team for a mini-tour of Austria.
It has become a regular season preparatory event to attend indoor events in Vienna and Linz. Here they would have the chance to set the tone for the 2012 season by matching themselves against some of the World’s best. They would then use the experienced gained for their UK trials in Sheffield two weeks later, with the aim of gaining spots for the World indoor championships in Istanbul in March and possibly the Olympics later this year.
For most of these full time athletes it was just another tour with England athletics, but for others, like myself it was our first time in GB kit and it felt good!
My primary role as team physio was to look after every athlete’s well-being and make sure that they were safe to race (Additionally, I was also the menus translator at the restaurant and the go-to-guy for directions!)
My job included early morning and very late evening rubs, taping, stretching session at the hotel and various physio related tasks at the event venue.
Most days were long (8am-1am), but thoroughly enjoyable. I was glad that throughout the entire event we didn’t have any serious injuries and I only had to deal mild strains, cramps and bruises. Overall it all went extremely smoothly.
One of the highlights of the trip was to get to know the athletes on a personal level and learn about their profound and immense passion for their sport. It was deeply inspiring and infectious to hear about their athletic commitment: The intense and long daily practices to achieve this 100th of a second or this extra centimeter in throws or jumps to make the difference between the good and the great. Compared to football, these World class athletes are heavily depended on sponsorship deals and are constantly looking to put themselves out there to be recognized and achieve this status of World elite.
Another highlight of my trip was my encounter with the US female sprinters (Angela Williams, Yvette Lewis, Loreal Smith, Lolo Jones), who I had the chance to treat on both events.
I must admit I was definitely star-struck when treating some of them, but all were extremely easy going and friendly towards me. We got chatting pretty quickly about their training, sport, and of course the Olympics. Gladly, they all did well in their races and when I got their “thumbs up” following a win, I felt as happy as Keanu Reeves in Point Break hitting his first tube!
Can’t wait to do more. Onwards and upwards, Seb.