SportMedBC’s own Dr. Jack Taunton shares his comments from Beijing

With the countdown to the Opening Ceremonies on, VANOC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jack Taunton was kind enough to take a few minutes to pass along some of his initial thoughts on the challenges the athletes face and the outstanding medical and sport facilities in China to our Beijing Blog – his comments are compiled below:

I am here in Beijing on official duty with IOC Medical Commission. We have had tours the past three days of the outstanding venues and the gold standard polyclinic. They are expecting to have over 10,000 visits to the polyclinic. The clinic is supported by 190 physicians and 150 therapists. Three floors, each 1600 sq m. The facility has state of the art imaging installed by the IOC sponsor GE featuring 2 MRI units. The polyclinic also has 6 dental rooms and world class eye treatment and eye training centre by sponsored by Johnson and Johnson.

The job that Vancouver faces in 2010 by comparison is much smaller – we will be looking after 5,500 athlete and coaches, 10,000 media, 50,000 volunteers in the workforce and 1.6 million spectators. Multiply this by three fold and that is what Beijing’s Chief Medical Officer will be facing over the next few weeks.

One of my initial observations has been that the practice of sports physiotherapy is not nearly as advanced as it is in Canada. There have been many crash courses here for physios over the past few months in preparation for the Games. By contrast, there are many massage therapists.

The real challenge for the athletes is heat and humidity. Pollution is much better with the closure of factories which all burn coal for energy and the reduction in cars on the streets.

The sport venues are all world class. In particular, the pool, rowing and kayak centres are outstanding. Dr. Mike Wilkinson and Dr. Don McKenzie are covering rowing and canoe/kayak respectively.

Now off to the Opening Ceremonies at the unbelievable Birds Nest – 92K capacity National Stadium.

This is proud day for China.



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