Paige Larson checks in from the Beijing Paralympics


Paige Larson a North Van Physiotherapist with Team Canada writes on some of the first Beijing experiences as the countdown to the Opening of the Paralympics continues:

The weather continues to be stellar and the skies remain clear of smog! The temperature today must have been high because it was cooking in the sun! More people are arriving in the Village and it is taking longer to get to the coffee station in the cafeteria!! The 10 lane 50 meter pool, though, was mine alone at 6:45 this morning! By 7:45 there were about 10 other people there….I am sure it will be busier as the Village fills up.
The pool is in the recreation area of the Village. There is a large full gym are with all kinds of cardio and weight machines for everyone to use. There is a 1 km jogging track through a park like area, along with a basketball court, tennis courts and volleyball court. There are separate men’s and women’s saunas, in large change and shower rooms. And the ever popular games rooms with the hugh assortment of video games including the Chinese drumming game which is popular with the players, but not so much with the rest of us! Rounding out the area is a guide dog park, and a multi-faith center.  These are all together in the residential part of the Village, and are generally open 5 am to midnight.
My day was spent in meetings for the first half – athletics (track and field for those of us over about 30 I think!) coaches meeting, then the athletics team orientation to the Village by the Team Canada Chef (aka our team leader). That was directly followed by an athletics team meeting. So, after “meeting” for about 2.5 hours, I did a few treatments and got to know about a few of the injured athletes. I will be spending my time here dealing almost exclusively with athletics athletes. Each therapist is assigned to one or more sports depending on the number of athletes in that sport and the demand for our services that they have. With 29 athletics athletes we have myself and a massage therapist assigned to look after them. We will get a doctor on some occassions as well. There are 12 therapists here, and 3 doctors. However, one of the therapists is actually in Hong Kong with equestrian, and one is in Qingdoa with sailing (where I was originally assigned, until someone couldn’t come and I was changed to athletics).
I had a break and went to the “silk market” for a couple of hours of hard-nosed bargaining to get silk and other amazing deals! If you have been to any country where you have to bargain, it is no different here – just different things to buy! And the “market” was air conditioned, which was a life saver as the heat was quite bad! Truly some amazing deals to be had…any requests???
Now it is back to work and I have athletes signed up for treatments for the next few hours. Another day passes as things are still not quite settled in…but they are running quite smoothly and I don’t think there have been any major problems for Team Canada. I am adjusting to the 15 hour time difference, but would like to sleep past 4:30 tomorrow morning (although the empty pool was really nice….).
Stay tuned for more, Paige

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