Lenovo Summer Games Blogger

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day before competition!

Well it is the day before I start my final competition.  I have a constant flow of adrenalin and am feeling very anxious to get started. It is a familiar feeling but not a comfortable one.

I have been awake since 6am even though I am not waking up to my kids or training.  I went and had an early breakfast and a coffee at McCafe which seems to be routine for me here in the village and have spent the last couple of hours replying to many emails and facebook messages I have recieved since I last checked a couple of days ago.  It's been great recieving everyones messages of support and how everyone is wishing me well for my final competition.  We have also recieved so many messages from school kids around the country and it makes us feel like we have a great following in the diving.

Today will be my final training session I ever do without having to follow it with a competition.  I am hoping it goes well as the last session is your final impression of how things are going and it would be nice to have a solid session without worrying about things that you don't need to worry about.

My coach and I have been excited about the way I have been training and we both hope I bring that to the competition.  I am feeling a lot like I was in Athens so I am clutching to the fact that is a good sign.

It's very hard not to think of results and medals and I am trying to focus on a good solid performance and results will take care of themselves.  I have certainly had an amazing time since arriving in Beijing and have left any troubles I have had back in Australia.  the last weeks preparation has been better than the last 6 months combined and it has come just at the right time.  I am certainly peaking just when I need to but that does not guarantee medals or good performances.  I need to remain focussed and keep my head in the right frame of mind.  

This is fun!  I hope I enjoy the next three days!  that's what it's all about!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Uniform distribution and the Water Cube

Well, it's off to get our uniform and I am like a young child at Christmas time.  I had no idea I was going to get this excited at my 3rd Olympic games.  For all anyone knows it could have been my first and even though I knew what was coming I couldn't wait to see all our goodies.  To me, it was Christmas in August!

We arrive at the warehouse and first up we notice there is a diving picture of two of the Aussies.  My husband and his synchro partner Scott Robinson.  We take photos
 of them beside it and they looked proud of themselves.  We are ordered into the room where we pick up our stuff.  It is a great package and nearly all of i
t fits me which is strange.  There is 100 items and we are happy with all of it.  We finally start to feel part of the team.  It's time to head back to the village because our next adventure is heading to the pool.

At the pool, we all quickly run into the venue which is one of the most impressive venues I have ever come across.  I sneak a few photos before anyone is on the boards training, then quickly head back into the dryland centre where we warm up and do our dry training.  Everyone is eager to get on the boards and get adjusted to the venue.

After we have completed our first session at training.  We take the opportunity to take some under water shots, shots from the 10m and have a bit of fun. 

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Our arrival and settling in to the village!

Well it was certainly a relief to finally get on the plane to head to Beijing. I am not sure if I am more excited to be going or that I have actually made it. On the plane I am too excited to sleep. I feel like a kid again and I try and calm myself by watching movies. Four movies later and we are almost ready for touch down. I am a little sore from the flight but still looking forward to what is about to happen.

As we go through customs and go through processing I realize it is after midnight at home and I suddenly feel like I can't wait to get settled in the village. After waiting for all our luggage to come out, I see that everyone has there gear but mine is still missing. A lot of people are waiting so I still have faith. That faith is taken from me when officials come and tap me on the shoulder saying there is no more to come. Oh - My luggage is still in Australia.

Not to worry, tomorrow we are about to pickup more gear than we can carry and I won't need a lot of what I have brought over. Only problem is, all me toiletries, underwear and entertainment need are packed in the suitcase. I am sure it will arrive tomorrow.

We get back to the village after the bus driver got lost and turned our 20 minute trip into just over an hour. We go and claim our room, dump what stuff we do have and head for a bite to eat in the food hall. At 1.30am in Beijing, the food hall was mostly empty but we do run into some familiar faces from previous Olympics. We are all looking forward to sleep and head back quickly to bed.

The alarm goes off, we are up and look out our window from the 6th floor. The first thing we see is the boxers training. The coach screaming at them and the poor guys are sweating it out to make their weight category.

Welcome to the Olympics!! This is what it's all about.. I get goose bumps!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chicken Pox threat!

When you have kids, it comes with it's  own set of barriers to keep you from training.  One week out from the games and my eldest son who is 6 and in grade one, wakes up with spots all over his face and body.  Immediately we recognise this as the dreaded chicken pox.  

Alarm bells ring quite strong in my head as I have never contracted the virus before so I am suddenly open to exposure and a strong candidate for catching it from my poor little spotty son.  

My first concern is for my son, who was doing very well until he was told he had chicken pox.  Then it was a few tears until he forgot about them and straight onto the playstation game for distraction.  Once I knew he was going to be alright, I get straight onto the phone to my mum to find out if I had ever had chicken pox.  I was pretty sure I hadn't had it but mum's always remember better than the kids. Sure enough my mum advises me that I have not had chicken pox and if I was going to catch it, I probably will have already done so.  The spots will appear up to 10 days later.

My first thought is I won't be able to go until the pox clears up.  I figure my competition isn't until 17 days so maybe I can train in my own time by myself and join the team at a later date. I would still be able to compete.

I rang my coach, section manager and of course our Olympic doctor. Everyone was very helpful and I was advised to take jet and myself off to hospital to confirm Jet's chicken pox and find out my immunity to the disease.  If I was immune, there wouldn't be much need for concern but if I wasn't then I would need to take some action.

Off we go to hospital, an almost two year old in one arm and a chicken pox boy in another.  We arrive and are immediately seen by a doctor and they have already been filled in with my drama by our Olympic Doctor.  It is quickly confirmed that Jet has chicken pox and blood is drawn from me to test my immunity.  It is explained to me that the two days before Jet's spot came out is when he is the most contagious.  So if I was going to get it, I already have it but since we have caught it early there is an injection they can give me to help fight it.  This to me sounds like good news.  I am then informed that as an athlete I cannot have the injection.  Oh no!!
I am then told Jet must have two weeks off school and no public outings. Jet is celebrating with a big 'YES' but my mind is suddenly going straight to the thought of myself contracting the virus and wondering how I can stay out of the public for two weeks when I will be living in the athletes village and competing in 17 days.  

Jet has suddenly got some energy back and is behaving like there is nothing wrong with him.  I am starting to see the funny side to it all but only because I am actually starting to get a little more worried. The doctor tells me we need to wait and see how the test results are first before we worry.  They will come back in hours so I request I take the kids home as they are starting to get hungry and I will return for my results.  

While I am home contemplating the worst, I get a phone call from my section manager and he puts my mind at ease by telling me that I won't miss the games if I contract the chicken pox.  I am also told by my doctor that there is a chance that I have been exposed to it and built up an immunity even though I have never had an outbreak of the spots. I like this possibility so I try and focus on that.  Meanwhile Jet is milking the fact he is sick and uses it to play the playstation.  He is not scratching to much at this stage and is still quite content with life.  

Two weeks off school and I suddenly feel sorry for Grandma, she won't be able to go out very much and Ryder who is still quite healthy will feel a bit trapped in the home.  Poor Grandma!
At least we will be home this week to help out before we leave.  But then again, there could potentially be three of us by the end of the week who have it.    

I go back to te hospital after the kids a fed, bathed and ready for bed.  They explain to me that it is taking far longer than expected because it is the weekend but a special request has been put in.  

Finally the test results come in and it looks like I have been exposed to the virus and I have built up my own immunity to it.  Phew!!  What a relief! The doctor still recommends the injection but as it is a blood product, I cannot use it. There is still a small chance I may get it but it is highly unlikely.

After 7 hours in the hospital, I can finally go home and get some rest and I will sleep a lot better knowing that I will be alright and the last year hasn't been a waste of time.  I will still get to compete at the Olympics.

As for Jet, he is doing very well.  he does look very spotty but a bath in calamine lotion and some playstation for distraction and he is in his element. Ryder is still ok at this stage but it's likely he will catch it too.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What will be will be

Training is getting intense!  It is not any harder than in normally is, it is just getting more intense.  Most people are partly getting excited but mostly trying to perfect everything they can before departure for China in less than two weeks.  While the team is doing really well, it is obvious that everyone is crossing all T's and dotting all i's and with that comes an intense atmosphere.  It is an atmosphere that I am accustomed to being a member of 3 past Olympics but I am not quite use to feeling this underprepared.

A big part of me is logical and knows that I have come a long way in such a short amount of time.  Really, when I look back, tomorrow is the one year anniversary of me getting back into bathers and taking my 'dive out of retirement' (pardon the pun).  I have lost 22 kilo's, I have been trying very hard to keep my family on track, my job in place and make an Olympic team.  Sometimes I know I have not done a very good job at any of my roles but I have certainly given it my best shot and sometimes I wish I had more time to prepare and get use to the sudden change in lifestyle but the fact is Olympics is in just over 2 weeks and it's coming whether I like it or not.  

The best thing for me to do is put my experience hat on and give it my all.  The part of me that is getting very sensitive at training needs to be aroused so it brings out the best in me and settled enough to be able to make the changes I need to perfect my dive.  My training is coming together nicely but sometimes it feels like it will never be enough.  I remember thinking this way a little before Athens but this time it has been too much of a whirlwind to know if I have had enough time to make the come back I need.  

Time will tell and what will be, will be!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Making the team

At trials I contested three events.  Women's 3m, 10m and 10m Synchro.  As it turns out, i only made the team for 3m.  A part of me was disappointed not making the Aussie team for the event I won in Athens, another part of me was relieved I didn't have to put my body through the stress of 10m anymore.  

It took a little while to get use to being on a springboard full time and I was afraid of getting bored training for the one event.  I soon realized that 3m was the only Olympic event I have contested and not come away with an Olympic medal.  At the Athens Olympics I did 3m synchro with Irina Lashko where we won a bronze medal and in 10m I won.  Back at the Sydney 2000 Olympics I was selected in the 3m but missed a medal coming 7th.  I now feel like I have another shot at going for a medal and being a specialist might work in my favour.  

As it turns out, there is no time to be bored.  There is always something to work on or work towards.  My coach is always very picky and gives me loads to do.  I am starting to enjoy my time on springboard again.  It is going to be fun going for one event and I am in the middle of the program so there is plenty of time to prepare in China but I also finish early so I can enjoy watching my team mates in the diving and in other sports.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Kids!

Well now that I am on my way to making my 3rd Olympic team I should mention that I am also a mum.  I have two beautiful children that keep me busy and present me with a whole new set of challenges.  Combining work, training and parenting has been the hardest juggling act I have ever tried to do and things are rarely running smoothly.

Jet is my eldest and he is 6 now but when I had my won in 2004 Olympics, he was only 2.5.  Jet is in grade one and loving the social interaction with the other children.  He is a high spirited kid, that has more energy than a footy team but is very caring, gets along well with everyone and loves playing outdoors.

Ryder is my youngest and he will turn two after Beijing in October.  He looks a lot like his brother and is showing signs of matching his energy.  Like Jet, he loves the social interaction of other kids and is always the first in line for lots of cuddles.  All around both my kids are very happy, healthy, energetic boys.

To help us with our preparation, Rob and I employed a live in Nanny to help us with the early starts when the kids were still sleeping and the afternoons while we were still at training.  During the day, Rob looked after the kids while I went to work for Diving Australia.  After training in the afternoons I would come home and take over with the kids and then Rob went to work. 

 During this time, it was the most exhausting period of my life.   I still wasn't fit enough to keep up with training on it's own let alone training, working and keeping a family running.  Small tasks seemed like such big jobs and most of the time it was just hard work keeping my head above water.  Throughout all of this, I still wouldn't have it any other way and I was still loving the challenge of it all.  I must love the chaos because I even though I was struggling the whole time, I actually wouldn't have given any of it up.  At times I would even go as far as saying I was considering going on to World Championships next year in Italy.  What can I say, I love it!

Monday, July 7, 2008

My weight loss journey

It is now being decided that I want to return to diving but at this stage I am not nearly fit enough to do so with the shape I am in so before I get back on the diving board I embark on my biggest fitness campaign yet.  

I have a whopping 22 kilos to lose and at this stage we are less than one year out from the Olympic trials.  I approached the AIS head Coach Hui Tong if i can use the AIS Strength and Conditioning Coach to oversee my program and keep me on track.  This proves to be tougher than I imagine.  

I have lost more fitness than I thought, my flexibility is next to nothing and I have no strength left.  I know it will be tough but it will be worth it in the end.

After 3 months of 2 hours of cardio 6 days a week combined with a low fat diet with portion controlled meals and I was fit enough to get back into bathers.  It is now coming up to one year ago that I did my first dive back into the water.  I was still very uncoordinated.  My limbs seemed like they had a mind of their own and my core stability was still very poor so it was difficult for me to spin somersaults.

To be honest there were more times when I wondered how I was going to pull this off and get back on a team but I had come to far and set the wheels in motion so I had to follow through.

There were times when my body was too sore, I was getting niggling injuries and I was very frustrated and emotional but what kept me going was that I would have a little win every now and then the motivation kicked in.

As hard as the initial part of the come back was, the challenge was so satisfying and I began to appreciate my sport more and more each day.  I knew this would be my final year and I was determined to enjoy it. I did, I love diving.  I love the training and I love working towards something big!  

If I wasn't going to make the team for Beijing, I was going to enjoy my time trying!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hi there, this is my first post about my Olympic preparation.  For most people, I am sure they are saying that they are excited about the upcoming games and training is on track.  For me, it is a little more complicated but it makes it all the more exciting.

You see, I not only dive for Australia I also work for Diving Australia.  I am the National Talent Identification Coordinator and I love my job.  When I retired from diving in 2006 after the Commonwealth Games I didn't know how I would contribute my time to my sport.  I love diving and I would like nothing more than to see the sport grow an
d become bigger and better! It was the perfect role for me.  This was the perfect job for me.

My husband was also a diver - he didn't do too badly.  Just a World Championship Gold and a few (3) bronzes over two Olympic Games. We both retired to do our own thing.  I was working for diving and Robert was studying medicine.

One year out from the Olympic Games and I get 'Olympic fever' and I itch my way into my bathers.  Rob copies me.  Ha ha..

First up - I have to lose some weight. Since retirement I have to lose 22 kilo's.  yep - On a 5 foot frame, I look shocking!
Will talk again soon!!