Inside the Olympic Village

Aug. 1: Life in the Village, Security, Go Great Britain

have been asked to write a bit about life in the Olympic Village, so I
will do my best. The rooms themselves are very much like dorm rooms at
Donahue Hall. Two people per bedroom with a common room and a bathroom
in each suite. Some suites have big common areas which are used for
offices for each Nation’s Olympic committee or they are assigned an
office in the same apartment complex for the larger teams. The team
doctors’ rooms have extra rooms that are quite large with a treatment
table. I am sure the larger teams have an entire suite just for the
medical team, if not a few of them.
dining hall is open 24 hours a day with food from around the world in
different sections, and of course a 24-hour McDonalds. That is where we
see most of the people in village. We basically have seen everyone in
that area from Dana Vollmer, the U.S. gymnastics team, Michael Phelps
and Usain Bolt. It is definitely a people-watching paradise to be in the
dining hall. Many of the Olympic athletes are getting pictures with
the even more famous Olympic athletes. Although yesterday Prince William
and Prince Harry were here, so that was pretty neat to see them touring
the village.
Around the village,
they’re are also food vendors in booths and just walking around and
everything is free if you wish to pick up something from them.  You also
get free use of all the drink vending machines in the village. The
village is also equipped with a medical center with everything from MRI
machines to alter G treadmills and also has dentistry and optical
services. You have access to massage therapists and physical therapy
whenever you need.
the village the security is quite tight. You can’t enter a building,
even inside the village, without credentials. Leaving the village and
coming back in is like an airport security screening each time, so you
need to plan your schedule accordingly. Even going back and forth to
Olympic Park you go through the same security screening.
service throughout the entire village is first class and we have really
enjoyed our stay thus far. I’m not sure if that covers most of it – if
it doesn’t, please forward me some specific questions.
past two days we were able to go to the Great Britain vs Canada and
United States vs Angola women’s basketball games. The
Great Britain-Canada game was very entertaining and ended with a
four-point Canadian victory, but it was back and forth the entire game.
The leading scorer for Great Britain, Johanna Leedham, played
at Franklin Pierce, so we were rooting for her to do well. Ruben left
after the first game and, after I went to get a drink, five kids came to
get my autograph and pictures done with me but they were disappointed
that Ruben had left the game. I did the best I could to put on a good
show for them. That led to several spectators around me to ask who I
was, thinking maybe I was famous for something. Unfortunately, I had to
disappoint them. I did, however, meet a teacher from Springfield Central
High School and her daughter who knew one of our incoming
student-athletes, Mark Hegarty, so that was pretty cool.
morning I had the Olympic Park Orientation for coaching staff members.
They took us through the check-in areas through the tunnels to the
final preparation area then out the tunnel and into Olympic Stadium
which has been completely transformed from the opening ceremony into a
track venue. I was able to walk around the stadium for a few minutes
and look over everything on the track. For those wondering, the Olympic
Flame has been moved to the side of the stadium that was the stage for
Paul McCartney during the opening ceremony. It was really a thrill to
follow the same journey that the best athletes in the world will take.
It is even more exciting that one of our own River Hawks will be making
that journey.  I was also able to see where they line people up for the
medal ceremonies after each event. I will be able to access most areas
of the stadium, so I hope to do a fair bit of exploring when the
competition gets underway for Athletics (Track and Field).
afternoon I will be the Cape Verde representative for the technical
meeting for Athletics and I am looking forward to that honor. It should
be great to be in the room with the highest ranking track officials and
coaches from across the world. Tonight, Ruben and I are attending a
handball game which I know very little about, but Ruben says is
extremely popular in Cape Verde. Tomorrow night, we are going to watch
the boxing competition.
a final note, Ruben did his first track workout yesterday and it went
as well as we could of hoped which is great news! Once again thanks for
all the support from home!
(Photo: Cape Verde Olympian Ruben Sanca, photo by FitzFoto)

July 30: Progress Made, World Records, Another Opportunity

Since the opening ceremony, everything has progressed really well. In
the last four days of training, Ruben has averaged 10-12 miles of flat
running in the morning at Victoria Park then in the afternoon he has
been getting on the alter G treadmill at 85% body weight and putting in
another hour. For those not aware, an alter G treadmill actually can
change the percentage of body weight you are actually running with
through an air system. The goal is to put less strain on the body, and
in Ruben’s case, on his patella tendon. So his mileage total for the
last four days is close to 100. Our goal is to get on the track Tuesday
and get a workout, which would really be huge progress from a week ago
when we flew to London and he hadn’t run in three days.

We need to thank the physical therapy people at the
Games particularly Neeko, who spent 2-3 hours with us a day all week to
get us to this point. So, basically our day consists of an hour and
a half of training in the morning then another hour of training in the
afternoon with 2-3 hours of PT. That has kept us pretty busy but we have
managed to still embrace the experience.
Besides the running part, our adventure around the Olympics has
continued. Last night we attended the second swimming session and were
able to witness two world records, one of which was Dana Vollmer in the
100 fly. The natatorium was loud from the moment she was in the pool and
the announcers did a great job keeping everyone updated so you could
easily follow the action and feel the emotion to build throughout the
stadium. It made it even more special that she represents the United

We are able to put in for tickets for other sports through an on-line
system so we are trying to get to a number of different sports.
Last night the entire event was very cool because they sat us in the
athlete and coach section of swimmers. I’m not sure we were supposed to
be in that section, but I wasn’t going to argue. We sat behind
the Australian team and coaches and they had several athletes medal
so the atmosphere was full of electricity. As a coach, it was great to
get an upfront view of coaches from a different sport at the very top
level. It was a privilege and motivating.
I have also been learning so much about different countries from around
the world. I already did my research on Cape Verde so I have a pretty
good grasp on the country’s history (which was founded in 1975 for those
curious). The link between many of the Portuguese countires is what I
have found most interesting. All the coaches and athletes from the
countries including Portugal have a very special bond and truly support
each other. I have also made some special bonds with the Cape Verde
delegation – socializing with them, eating and living with them has been
a true learning experience. This entire experience is something I will
treasure my entire life. They have welcomed me as a true member of team
Cape Verde and I have started helping out by
attending technical meetings and doing paperwork for the entire team. It
is truly a privilege to be given the responsibility.

I need to tell my wife time to save some money – I have already been
invited to another international competition for all Portuguese speaking
countries – the 2013 Lusophone Games – in India next November at
a beautiful beach resort. Next time, I want the entire family along to
share these unforgettable experiences.
Tonight we are attending a women’s basketball doubleheader first Great
Britain vs. Canada, then the United States vs Angola. Its a tough life
here in the village and I am trying not to suffer too much.
The e-mails and tweets from home have still been pouring in and Ruben
and I love sharing them with each other so thanks again. I will be back
with another blog in two days. 

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