Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Behind the scenes at the Paralympics GB training camp in Bath

Me chatting with some of the Paralympic GB fencing team at the simulation camp

Last week I was invited by BT Storytellers to go on a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Paralympics GB simulation camp held at the University of Bath.

The scale of a Paralympic Games is much bigger than most of the athletes have experienced previously, so the simulation camp is designed to help them prepare for the unique conditions that they will live and train in during Games time. During the camp athletes stay in student accommodation on site, providing a distraction-free environment for them to eat, sleep, train and relax in.

Over 150 athletes will spend time at the camp over a two week period. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the tremendous buzz around the place. I’ve been to the University of Bath before for meetings and young people’s events but this time was different. Security was tighter and everyone wore special passes to allow them access to the camp area.

We headed straight for the busy dining hall marquee where athletes, coaches and staff catch up and bond over lunch. A selection of hot food is available including pasta and vegetables, and there are lots of fridges full of drinks provided by Coca cola. After lunch we joined a tour group of about 15 people who I think were mostly press and corporate sponsors.

On the tour we looked around the sporting facilities and heard from some of the numerous coaches, therapists and practitioners involved in supporting the athletes. There is even a designated pee station where they carry out hydration testing and weigh athletes before and after they train. We saw a reproduction of an athlete’s bedroom in the Olympic village. The athletes share twin rooms and I was surprised at how sparse and functional they are, very similar to student halls of residence. The highlight for me was seeing the fencing and sitting volleyball squads training. Fast-paced, noisy and energetic, we were offered a tantalising preview of how exciting it will be to watch the Games next summer.

It was amazing to experience the atmosphere within the camp for an afternoon and catch a glimpse of how the British Paralympic team are preparing for London 2012.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

A digital record of the 2012 Games for future generations

I met up with Sam Downie, another BT Storyteller from Bristol, for the first time last week to chat about how we might collaborate. We also had our picture taken by a photographer from the Bristol Evening Post to accompany an article in today’s paper.

Through BT Storytellers I’d like to help promote and celebrate some of the fantastic projects taking place in the South West that are inspired by the Games. I’d love to hear from people about different projects/ events that might be of interest.

One of the main reasons I started this blog two years ago was because I thought it would be interesting to document my role with RELAYS, and a time in my life that I could look back on in the future. For many of us, next year will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Games in London. Enthusiasm is building the closer we get and it’s exciting to think that I'm contributing, along with many others, to a creative digital record of the 2012 Games for future generations.