Category: Olympic Games

Vancouver 2010

Technorati Tags: ,

The Olympic Winter Games are starting in few days and athletes are finalising their preparations for Vancouver. I will be there with Team GB in my second Olympic Game after the exciting Beijing Olympics. In the last 3 years we have spent a lot of time helping and supporting our winter sports athletes to help them prepare in the best possible way for Vancouver. We are not alone of course. Many countries are investing large sums to gain edges in all areas of preparation. Winter sports rely a lot on a variety of equipment for training and competition and in the race for success scientists from all over the World are looking at innovative technologies to give an edge to their athletes. Team Canada has set the target to finish first in the medal table at their home games and to accomplish this dream has invested $ 8 millions in a programme with 55 top secret projects. Strangely enough, despite naming the project “Top Secret”, the Canadians are adamant to talk about it. Of course they are proud of the wonderful job which has been done and are not afraid to talk about it.

Top Secret had two components. One dealt with the hardware of boots, skis, skates, poles, helmets and suits. The other focused on human physiology. In particular, a lot of work has been apparently done on recovery modalities.

We have done our work as well and hope to create few upsets in Canada. Preparation and travel plans are the first priority as our athletes will be competing in another continent. So plans to cope with jet lag and speed up adjustment to the new time zone have been put in place as well as recovery strategies to reduce the effects of sitting on a plane for hours. We have organised holding camps in Calgary and Lake Placid to provide our athletes with the best environment to prepare for the games. Science and technology projects have been conducted with various sports on equipment development, innovative training, preparation strategies and recovery modalities in partnership with our colleagues at UK Sport and at the Scottish and English Institutes of Sport. Last but not least a great partnership with Adidas means we could provide our athletes with innovative clothing solutions.

You can see what Team GB athletes think of our kit here:

So, we have our own cards to play and are looking forward to the next few weeks.

Recovery seems to be an hot issue and every country is looking at optimising recovery strategies for athletes competing over few days during the Olympics. Competition preparation and recovery are possibly the key areas where significant gains can be obtained. Physical and technological preparation is carried out for 4 years, but it is the little detail in the last few days which can make a significant difference for athletes on the big day.

Little details like what they drink, what they eat before their competition, the timing of food and special drinks intake, how they warm up, and most of all in what physical and mental state they are when standing on the start line. Of course technology plays a big role, equipment can make a difference, but the winner is always the athlete as no equipment can win on its own!

Celebrating 2008 success

Dear readers,

as we are approaching the end of the year, the British Olympic Association has published on its website this year’s Christmas card which contains also a link to a video highlight of Team GB success in Beijing.

You can access the Christmas card and the video here.

The videoclip is absolultely excellent and pays tribute to the British success at the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer.

47 reasons to be happy

24th of August 2008, the Olympic Games in Beijing are just closed and the celebrations begin! Team GB had the best games since 1908 winning 47 medals and ending fourth in the medal table.

The  Olympic Games in Beijing have been an incredible challenge for myself, my colleagues at the BOA, the fellow sports scientists involved in all sports qualified and all the coaches and athletes competing in China. Hard work always pays, and it was such an amazing feeling to come to the conclusion of the games having accomplished the best result ever for British Sport. 19 Gold medals, 13 silver and 15 bronze and performances that will always be embedded in everyone’s memory.

Torch

When the Olympic torch was lit on the 8.08.08 we all knew Team GB was going to be a great surprise, we knew how much work we put into preparing the team for the environmental, travel and cultural challenges and we were convinced we put every athlete in the best possible condition to compete.

The recces conducted in the previous years in China and Macau, the workshops, the research studies, the meetings with various sports experts, the hours spent in finding solutions and convincing practitioners on various procedures have produced the results that we were all dreaming and hoping for.

Fourth in the medal table has a lot of meanings for me. First, it means we are getting closer to the superpowers, secondly it means we improved massively from Athens 2004, third it means we beat the Italians by 19 medals. The fourth one is something I learnt here in the UK, fourth also meant we beat the Australians!

I am delighted and honored I was given the opportunity to lead the Sports Science aspects of the Olympic preparation project for Team GB and would like to thank all the colleagues that worked with me to implement the preparation and competition plans. Listing all it would be impossible, you know who you are and you should be all proud of the fantastic results your athletes obtained. I believe everyone that works in sport in Great Britain should be proud of Team GB’s success at the games as such results are due also to the hard work of the coaches and volunteers who identified and coached the fantastic talented athletes so successful in China.

Last but not least I would like to thank the British Olympic Association and UK Sport for the funding provided to the various operations and the trust and support received since 2005.

MarcoMacau

Now, it’s time to think about Vancouver 2010 to make few surprises in winter sports and then London 2012 to ignite Great Britain again!

I promise all readers I will try to update the blog more often now with some technical articles. Stay tuned!