Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beijing Day 1

The second wave of the Canadian triathlon team arrived in Beijing yesterday, including myself, team massage therapist Kim Ward, Doc Steve Keeler, athletes Lauren Groves, Kathy Tremblay, Paul Tichelaar, and team alternate Kirsten Sweetland. The travel and arrival at the airport went pretty smoothly, with plenty of volunteers eager to assist. Lauren and Paul had to head over to the Olympic Village to fix an accreditation issue, but made it back to the villa not long after the rest of us arrived. They were pretty excited seeing all the international athletes for their short stay in the village and mentioned that the food was pretty good...

The travel up our accommodation went smoothly and everything looks great here at the Villa. We are between the Italian cycling team and the Portuguese triathlon team. The French and Japanese teams are here as well, with many of the teams opting to stay here within walking distance of the race course. The Jundu hotel is also the ITU hotel for officials so the place has the feel of a regular world cup, with all the familiar faces from the World Cup circuit.

The first wave of the team, including the team leader Tom Patrick, mechanic Gabor Herner, chef Cosmo means and assistant coach Phil Bertrand did a great job setting up the place before we arrived. The villas have been renovated since we were here last year, no doubt with the amount it costs to stay here they could afford to clean the place up for us and the other teams staying here. The Jundu hotel and villas is a bit of a bizarre place. I get the feeling it must be pretty dead here most of the year. The compound and hotel are enormous and its mostly empty, even for the games. I'll take a few more photos of the area in the next few days to post on my flickr page.

Seems everyone slept well last night and was up this morning ready for the final preparations before the races next Monday and Tuesday. The athletes did a jog this morning before heading over to the pool here at the hotel. They have an indoor 25m pool which is handy being right on the hotel grounds. Today were we the only ones swimming at the pool, most teams were likely at the first open water training practice this morning.

I went for a run with a loop of the bike course also this morning. There was a bike course tour scheduled for 10am, but at even at 7.30 there was a plethora of volunteers out around the course, perhaps practicing for when the cyclists eventually come through. The volunteers are very keen to help with anything and there is more than enough to line most of the course cheering for the athletes out training. No doubt they were impressed with my pace this morning given the clapping and cheering as a shuffled by... :-)

Our afternoon cycling session got rained out by a torrential downpour that flooded many of the roads. Paul went out just before it started to darken and he was back in a hurry when the rain started, unfortunately getting his new Olympic Cervelo dirty... Good thing we packed a few trainers as the rain has been coming down for a couple hours now.

The final team members arrive this afternoon, including athletes Colin Jenkins and Simon Whitfield, team alternate Kyle Jones and Chiro Rob Hawsagawa. Tomorrow we are going out for a ride on the bike course and the open water swim. With the race start at 10am for both the men and women we'll be getting most of our training done in the mornings. Thinking we might have a bit of free time in the afternoons we set up a sling-box to watch the Canadian CBC Olympic feeds, and I brought my Nintendo Wii for some entertainment. However when setting up the Wii today, I forgot to check if the power brick was a dual voltage (most are), and judging by the loud "pop" and ensuing burning smell, I quickly figured out it was not... ouch.

Here are few of the latest news items:

Simon Whifield on his way to Beijing in search of gold
Sharie Epp, Times Colonist

Published: Wednesday, August 13, 2008
With kisses for partner Jennie Sprigings and 13-month-old Pippa, a big smile, and a wave good-bye, Simon Whitfield walked through the departure gate of Victoria International Airport on his way to Beijing Wednesday.

OUR OLYMPIANS: Lauren Groves
Fellow Kingstonian athlete inspired woman's interest in triathlon


Fifteenth in a series profiling Kingston's contributions to the Canadian Olympic team.
Lauren Groves' athletic accomplishments come from a combination of hard work and persistence, but not necessarily genetics.

Knox column: More than medals make Olympians
Jack Knox, Times Colonist

Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So, there I was wobbling downhill on my bike, the twin laws of gravity and incompetence bringing me ever closer to Ryder Hesjedal's back wheel, when this imaginary headline popped into my head: "Times Colonist writer crashes into Olympic cyclist, crushes Canada's dreams."

Where are the medals?
Sun columnist Terry Jones looks back at the wait Canada's endured at prior Summer Games


The woman who has been described as “the Wal-Mart greeter” at Canada House, the first person a medal-winning athlete sees before coming into contact with the other 30 volunteers at the venue where our nation celebrates medal victories with family, friends and fans, hasn't seen anybody show up with a medal around their neck yet.

Olympic athletes look for strategies to fight smog and heat
August 09, 2008

(Aug 9, 2008)

Environmental fears hung over these Olympics like toxic storm clouds.
Would these be the seriously and literally dirty Games, as opposed to other merely drug-dirty Games?

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