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.