The countdown to Rio 2016 hits another milestone. One year until golf and rugby make their triumphant return. Kosovo and South Sudan enter the Parade of Nations for the first time. And God willing, Matt Lauer and Al Roker will add to their Rhythmic Gymnastics repertoire.
In the meantime, check out the future competition zones and sports program for Rio 2016.
A great peek inside the Games! I miss the days when I could do this, but stay tuned 😉
Thanks for sharing, Jamie!
David Epstein has a pretty cool job.
Currently over at ProPublica, Epstein is a sports science reporter. These are the folks who report on the biomechanical, physiological, techy side of sports like in-depth mathematical analysis of Tiger Woods’ golf swing…or the existence of Michael Phelps’ ankles.
Still, does that mean every time we saw the world record line trailing behind Usain Bolt or when Shaun White landed the first Games-time double cork, what we were really seeing was human evolution in action? Are humans just being born faster, better, stronger—or can elite performance still be learned?
Short answer: It’s complicated.
Today’s post is about inertia.
Physics lesson for today: An object in motion tends to stay in motion.
My brain is completely scrambled at the moment from weekend fun followed by a case of the Mondays. This week is shaping up to be crazy in preparation for BMX weekend. Media visits every day, contract signings, website and newsletter content. Great for me, but bad for you cause I guarantee my posts are going to be erratic. But not sporadic. I vow to keep writing no matter what, and it’s all because of the law of inertia. A blog in motion stays in motion.
The same is true for a lot of our athletes here. Before I came here, I may have made the comparison of training for an Olympics to attending college. Four years of dedication, hard work, stress, discipline. All for an elusive goal at the end that has meaning for the rest of your life. Yea, that all sounds great, but in reality, the two are nothing alike. You can get hurt in college. You can take time off. You can even fail, and life will go on. School remains an option. It’s never too late. Not the case with Olympic athletes.
Here at the OTC, there is no physical recreation outside of practice. That’s how you get hurt and your career ends. You don’t take time off to go backpacking or write or find yourself. That’s how you get out of shape and your career ends. Sometimes you take time off, and you never get it back. Sometimes it is too late, and you miss your shot and that’s it. How do you reconcile that with your training? How do you stay motivated and dedicate your entire life to something that can all be taken away in the blink of an eye? Years for something that will likely be decided in under a minute?
Some of it’s passion. Some is pride. But I’m starting to think that the key factor is inertia. Steady, dogged, omnipresent inertia. It’s almost like some of these guys have worked so hard and done this for so long that the Games is only path they see. And even when they can’t see it, it’s the only direction they can move in because they’ve done it for so long. That way even when they have fears or failures, they keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Because an object in motion tends to stay in motion.
There’s a deeper lesson about life for all of us in there, but I’m hoping you already caught it.
There are a couple of things I could write about today, including my misadventures with the OTC Suburban on my way to the hair salon, but I’ll have to save those stories for another post. Today is all about our Paralympic athletes or paras for short. I love our able-bodied (correct terminology) Olympians as much as the next, but there is something about our paras that is amazing. I find myself constantly seeking them out at dinner, chatting with them on my golf cart, and tracking down their events and times for our newsletter. Because when I do, I meet people like Tanner Gers.
Last night at dinner, I was sitting with Chris (Navy vet and traumatic brain injury para), his girlfriend, and a fellow intern. Towards the end of the night, Tanner, a visually-impaired para, walked in for a late meal. Chris jumped up to guide him to the table and grab food for him (note: massive massive amounts of food), and Tanner sat down with us.
“Hey, I’ve seen you around. I’m Kim.”
“I’m Tanner. Nice to meet you, Kim.”
And we spent the rest of dinner talking about everything from blind baseball to Game 7 Celtics @ Heat to the sadly empty fro-yo machine. By the end of the night, I could barely see Tanner’s eye patch or walking stick. Those things just didn’t much matter after I heard he once jumped completely over the sand pit at one of his long jump events. Chris said the whole stadium just went silent, and everyone was thinking “…Does that even count?
Turns out it does. Tanner is the 2011 U.S. Paralympic championship silver medalist in the long jump and the bronze medalist in both the 100m and 200m. Did I mention that that was his first national championship?
Tanner went blind after a car accident in 2004, when a tree slammed through his windshield. He was 21 years old. I don’t know what you or I would have done after that, but after a while Tanner picked up baseball, sprinting, jumping, (and eating. Seriously, the man can throw down.) Now 8 years later, he’s training here at the Olympic Training Center for trials and hopefully a medal in London.
But we didn’t really talk about that as we headed back to the residence halls. Nope, we actually just talked about the fact that he’s about to be an uncle.
I’m back! And I’m sorry! So sorry for my (almost) year-long absence from Good Times and Gold Medals. Updates, shall we? I graduated from college, had a brief stint working on a burrito line, and then it was off to grad school, and somehow my blogging game fell off. But I’m back, and you will never believe where. I am currently interning at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in sunny Chula Vista, California!
That’s right, peeps. For the entire summer, I am surrounded day and night by some of the most elite and inspiring athletes in the world. I intern in the Athlete and Community Relations department (read: 2 people, me and my supervisor). My job is basically 20% events, 20% media relations, 20% tour scheduling, and 100000% randomness. (Check my math on that one, yea?) I work on a staff of about 9, so ACR intern basically translates into everybody’s intern. We’re the team behind the team, and it takes a willingness to do anything and everything to keep this place running. I may be escorting Fox Sports on site from 8:30-10am, giving a tour to a local YMCA group from 10-12pm, and spending the rest of the afternoon tracking down athletes, photographing events, or writing content for the newsletter. On Thursdays we make popcorn.
Anyway I just finished up my first week, and man do I have some stories for you guys. I don’t even know if I can put them all down in one post, but these are the highlights:
1. I love the dining hall. Not only do they serve some of the best tacos I’ve ever had in my life, but that’s how you really get to know some of the resident athletes. It’s how I got to know Chris Clemens, a Navy Veteran wounded in Afghanistan. Chris sustained a traumatic brain injury when an RPG exploded in his camp in 2004. Through involvement with various veterans groups including the Wounded Warrior Project, Chris is now on track to compete in the 2012 London Paralympic Games. He’s also one of the friendliest and most helpful people I’ve ever met. Best of luck, Chris!
2. I spent Wednesday morning escorting Fox Sports around for an interview with one of our top decathletes (an event the U.S. could possibly sweep in London). Little did I realize that the correspondent I was joking around with for a couple of hours was Amy Van Dyken, six-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer. Yea…she was pretty and hilarious. Pretty hilarious.
3. I walked out onto the field at Petco Park aka Padres Stadium. As a final send-off for our Olympians before they leave for London, we’re organizing a special Padres Game day. Archery will exhibit at the game, so naturally some of the admins over there wanted to see a quick demo. Just to make sure the arrows don’t accidentally fly into, you know, people. So a bunch of us hoped into a van with Lauren Clamon, 14-year old 2011 World Archery Youth Championship, and set up shop in the infield. She demoed. She rocked it. Girl Power!
4. Two words: Bee Swarms. There is a LOT of wildlife around the OTC that I am less than familiar with. Lizards, coyotes, rattlesnakes, and oh yea…bee swarms. Apparently bees roll deep in Chula Vista. On my first or second day, I heard tell of the bee swarms that sometimes overtake the track here. The advice was to run if you can, and if not, just hit the deck and wait it out. So a group was here shooting a spot for our resident decathlete star, and as he’s setting up for a javelin throw and I’m chatting with my supervisor who drove his golf cart to the track to check in, I see a quick motion out of the corner of my eye. I look up. The decathlete takes off, javelin swinging. Someone shouts “Bees!”
And my supervisor DEUCES! His golf cart zooms away and me and another intern are left staring at a dark cloud of roughly a hundred bees headed our way. We.hit.the.deck. Boom on the ground! I wait for about a minute as the bees fly over me, and the first person I look at when I get up is my supervisor.
Word, Dave? Word?
Similar to Comcast/NBC Universal’s claims to all broadcasting rights and Heineken’s pouring rights at the Olympic park, Citi will be the official bank of the 2012 US Team for the next two years. Citi will be replacing Bank of America whose deal expired in 2008. Such an early deal benefits both Citi, which will be able to integrate the USOC image into its marketing campaigns, and the Committee, which will be able to begin promoting its athletes well before the games.
In recent years, the economic downturn led several banks and financial entities to cut funding to sports organizations. Citi is one of the many financial groups that received aid from the federal government during the recession, bringing it some sharp criticism and intense scrutiny. Now that Citi has paid back the $45 billion it received in aid, this deal and others like it will be an important part of shaping Citi’s post-recession image.
Ed Skyler, executive VP for global public affairs, stated it best, “Sponsoring the team is a great way to express our gratitude to the American people for their support, not just over the last three years, but our 200-year history…Comebacks happen in business just like they do in sports.”