Well, I have just arrived home after deciding my family and clinic need me more than hanging around Beijing for another week. The Games were different for our team (women’s soccer) since we were in three different cities: Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai. We also spent 10 days in Singapore prior to arriving in Beijing. The smog has been very bad, the number of police/security has been overwhelming sometimes, and the traffic is way better than any other time I have been there. The people of China are still extremely friendly, the hosts have been gracious, the food at the village was quite varied, no one on the soccer team was very ill, and the players and staff all loved staying at the various sites/hotels.
The loss to the Americans was heart breaking in so many ways. The team is much older now than when the head coach, Even Pellerud, first came here. Many of the players have developed under his direction and I think will feel a void the next time they step on the field representing their country. The entire Women's program will be under new leadership and it is never clear if that leadership will come from within the organization or from outside the country.
The coaching staff was very experienced as was the medical team. For most of the Games we had a comprehensive medical team consisting of myself as the lead physiotherapist, Nicole Stephens (massage therapist), Garrett Kusch (chiropractor) and Dr. Andrew Pipe (physician). Judy Russell (physiotherapist) joined us for a week in Tianjin. We experienced a few major injuries against the Americans in the quarter-final game. Confidentiality prevents me from commenting on the exact injury to which player but suffice to say both players would have been replaced if Canada had proceeded to the next round.
The players were all distraught at the end of the game because they knew it was the end of an era and the end of basically living together for two years in Vancouver. Many are now moving on with their lives, not all necessarily staying involved in soccer specifically. Time to reflect will occur soon.
It has been an interesting ride for sure.
One of the most written about aspects of the Beijing Games has been Speedo's latest swimsuit innovations the Fastskin LZR Racer. The Globe and Mail's piece chimes in:
"Commentators can't stop talking about its effectiveness. Its detractors accuse it of cheating. One has even alleged its presence at the Games amounts to a textbook case of “technological doping.”"
Get the full story behind the suit here.
The Times Online in the UK has a report in which common baking soda is examined as a performance enhancing substance and it's entirely legal. Apparently it's enough of an aid for many sports that several doctors are wanting to be banned from events like the Olympics.
"Just last week, an Australian sports scientist said that the use of legal performance-enhancing substances could become a major issue of the Beijing Olympics. “Beijing will probably be remembered for the abuse of legal aids,” said Robin Parisotto on Australian radio.
And Dr Deitrick believes that bicarbonate of soda can significantly improve performance. “If you took out the participants who experienced negative side-effects... you'd see an average improvement in running times of about 2.2 seconds,” Dr Deitrick says. “For a relatively short running distance, that's very significant.”
But how does something so seemingly innocuous have such a dramatic effect? During prolonged or intense exercise muscles produce large amounts of waste products, such as lactic acid, that lead to soreness, stiffness and fatigue. Because sodium bicarbonate naturally reduces acids, it acts as a buffer against these performance-limiting by-products."
Read the full article here.
The last day of rowing was amazing with the tremendous help by the medical support team headed by Dr. Mike Wilkinson. I worked there 3 days and then headed over to Field Hockey where I saw a great game between Great Britain and Canada that unfortunately saw Great Britain tie it up in the last three minutes. Physiotherapist Scott Fraser and Dr. Connie Lebrun (formerly from North Vancouver and now living in Edmonton) are holding that team together. Unfortunately with the tight accreditation numbers the team’s long time physician Navin Prasad was unable to accompany the team to China. VANOC Medical and Doping managers are arriving to observe their respective areas - Jeremy Luke over now observing the doping control operations for 5 days. Like me he was impressed with the Doping process here in China and quality of Doping Control Officers and Chaperones. The lab is also very impressive and Dr. Christiane Ayotte who heads up Canada’s WADA accredited lab in Montreal is a member of the IOC Medical Commission supervising the lab. VANOC’s Imaging Manager, Dr. Bruce Forester from UBC Hospital, is here for 5 days along with our Partners in Emergency Preparedness from Vancouver Coastal Health and Ministry of Health. They now have a complete feel for the Games and also visited the Athlete Village. This all gives us more confidence that your planning for 2010 is solid. Today Bob Alexander (BC Ambulance) and Dr. Dory Boyer arrive to review Ambulance services to the Athlete Village and Venues and the Olympic Family Hotel and Media Centre, all of which we will be responsible for. Over the next three days, I will be covering more Field Hockey and spending some time at Canoe/Kayak where I will be able to catch up with Don McKenzie – the Canadian team’s long time team physician.
Yesterday was a day that could only come once in a lifetime. As the physiotherapist with the Canadian National Wrestling Team at the Beijing Olympics, I had the privilege of being there for yesterday's gold and bronze medal performances by our 48 and 55 kg female wrestlers, Carol Huynh and Tonya Verbeek.
For any of you who watched it on TV, you already know that the display of athleticism was masterful and I can tell you that the energy in the venue was electric. To witness my athletes and fellow staff members, who I am proud to call friends, create such personal achievement and joy was a privilege. And I understand that they lifted a country!
Our wrestling delegation, athletes and staff alike, arrived into Beijing on August 6th. The athletes spent the next 2 nights in the Olympic Village, getting outfitted and enjoying the Opening Ceremonies. Since then, we have stayed and trained in the facilities and dormitory of the Canadian International School, located about a 20 minute drive from the Olympic Village.
The CIS is a private high school with a connection to Canada's wrestling community, via one of their staff. Given that it is summer vacation, we have been able to take over several floors of the dormitory, where we each have an apartment-sized room, and have exclusive use of their brand-new gym, wrestling mat, pool and fitness area.
Our situation has allowed us to access the amenities of the Olympic Village as needed, yet remain somewhat "in a bubble" and focus on the tasks at hand. If yesterday's achievements are any indication, we are on the right track.
I am off now to the medal round for our last 2 female wrestlers. We have tomorrow off and then 3 days of competition for our mens' team follow. I look forward to contributing some good news from our team again during the Games!
The skies opened up blue yesterday for the first day of the track and field competition at the Birds Nest – The Olympic National Stadium. The weather was perfect –blue skies with a light wind and temperature hot, in the mid 30’s. This was much better conditions than the previous day when there was a horrendous rain storm which lasted most of the day into the evening.
The Olympic Stadium is a first class facility. It’s a very comfortable and user friendly environment - hence its name; the Bird’s Nest. It’s one of the best Olympic stadiums that I have ever worked at and I have been to a few stadiums over the last two decades. The energy within is incredible. This stadium is built for competition. The gentle sloping design of the spectator seating makes them feel close to the action. The first day crowds as expected were excited and loud. The spectators turned out in extremely large numbers. The athletes were excited to be there and there were no thoughts about pollution.
In addition, the warm up area and related facilities at the venue are excellent. The Chinese seem to have really taken into account a lot of what the needs of the athletes and their staff would be at this venue. Mind you, there are few hiccups but that is to be expected.
Overall for the first day things went smoothly and for myself and speaking to some other country staff at the venue we found that navigating our way through this massive structure incredible easy. It is user friendly and that makes my task much easier to manage. I must say that the host volunteers are making this experience truly pleasant. I find them very helpful, friendly and polite. Most of all they are very excited to be the host and very proud to be part of the Olympic movement to “ONE WORLD ONE DREAM” and I am proud to be part of this too.
At Least that’s the way I see it..till next time....I have a Dream......!!!
Our Medical Team for Track and Field and the Canadian medical team as a whole is one which embraces the concept of the integrated health care model. It’s a true example how health care, sports sciences and management can work as an integrative unit with the focus on the athlete.
Our team consists of two main branches namely: Healthcare practitioners, and sports sciences with affiliations with the coaching staff and management (administrative). For example health care practitioners consist of: sports medicine physicians, sport massage therapist, athletic therapist, sport physiotherapist, sport chiropractors, sports psychologist, and naturopath. The sport sciences branch consists of; exercise physiologist, sport nutritionist, biomechanist and strength and conditioning coach.
From my many years of experience in track and field these services are extremely beneficial during the management of the athletes’ training and rehabilitation as indicated. For example a recurrent hamstring problem could be due to poor technique and not just muscle weakness. In this case I would solicit the services of the biomechanist who would do a biomechanical analysis of the athlete’s technique to come up with a root cause of their problems. Or, how about a long distant runner with fatigue and all her blood test are normal and does not have anaemia. Her issues could be related to diet (low energy resource/storage in her muscle). This is where the nutritionist and exercise physiologist would be very helpful. As a matter of fact these first hand scenarios are common in the sport of track and field and I have seen many such cases benefit from an integrated team approach. At these games I attend to athletes in the Canadian polyclinic and we follow the integrative model very closely.
SportMedBC and Canadian Olympic Committee encourages the implementation of the Integrated Sport medicine model as described above. This model is effective and efficient in the delivery of health care to athletes and at the same time very cost effective in the long run. The overall outcome is the enhancement of the athletes performance hence their outcome goals.
As a sport chiropractor delivering health care to Canadian athletes, I totally embrace the integrative health care model and I am proud to be a team member here in Beijing 2008 Olympics.
At least that the way I see it.
We've heard from our Wilbour Kelsick who is working as a dedicated chiropractor with Canada's Athletics team. Now from the CBC here is a quick overview of who has the best shot a making the podium as the Athletics events get underway:
"Two medals was Athletics Canada's goal. Two months ago that seemed reasonable. Gary Reed of Kamloops, B.C., has been rounding into form at the right time and when he beat his own Canadian record in Monaco with a time of 1:43.68 he served notice that his 2007 IAAF World Championships silver medal was no fluke. Confident, smart and tough, the 26-year-old represents our best hope for a medal in athletics in Beijing.
While he is an incredible athlete he has also chosen to be in one of the most fiercely contested events. One mistake in the early rounds could mean failure to get into the final. A mistake in the final could cost him a medal. Having said that, he is a seasoned competitor who prefers to go into a race without a preconceived plan and he is capable of running from the front or kicking in the last 150 metres.
Canadian 400-metre record holder, Tyler Christopher, is also a strong medal possibility, having won the 2008 IAAF World indoor championships with an outstanding performance. However, since he recorded 44.71 in Carson, Calif., back in May, his form has been troubling. He hasn't beaten the 45-second mark since. Even his coach, Kevin Tyler, is at a loss to explain it. At this point he must be wondering if he can make it into the final."
Read the full article here.
While Canadians wait impatiently to see just one of our athletes get on a podium in Beijing, the host nation is very familiar with hearing their national anthem played in the Olympic venues - even for sports where China has not traditionally been strong and wins weren't predicted or even expected by the athletes themselves. Bloomberg News details some of these surprising long shots that have come up golden for China:
"China was tied with the U.S. at 14 gold medals at the end of the sixth day in Athens and finished four gold medals behind, with 32. The Chinese have reached 22 golds three days earlier than in 2004.
All around, there are tales of overachievement.
A 19-year-old named Liu Zige won only her country's third swimming gold since 1992 while competing for the first time at an international meet yesterday. With a resume amounting to two national championships, she sliced more than a second off the world record, and said she was spurred on by a raucous crowd.
``I never expected I could be this fast and it's a surprise that I can score gold,'' Liu told reporters at the Water Cube pool yesterday. "
Read the full article here.
A recent medical study authored in part by Carl Foster, a professor of exercise and sport science at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, is concluding that the winning distance runners, like those competing in the marathon event at the Beijing games, are not succesful because they are "running harder" but rather they "have a better, bigger motor".
The study keyed on the heart rate of the runners and found:
The pattern of heart rate response during an event was very similar in all athletes, even though their running performance and times varied. This suggests, the authors write, that "adept runners are faster due to their underlying physiological capacity rather than because they put more relative effort into their competition."
Read the full article here.