As this point here in Brazil its very much a case of following certain daily training regimes, remaining focused and travelling to the various training locations whether its the local park, the track, a tartan facility which is ideal, gym and pool, trails on the edge of the city and a visit to the physio.
It's going really smooth and the environment is relaxed. We tend to visit these locations accompanied by military police and drive in convoy but there is absolutely no indication of any threat. Zika I hear you say, well its winter, rarely see a fly though 26 degrees and its not an issue. It underlines the weakness of the golfers' case. Indeed this week Gary Playe,r an 11 times major winner, slammed the absent golfers and will himself captain the South Africa golf team.
The Olympics has always been the global event that sportspeople wish to be involved in; to qualify in itself is a massive personal acheivment to be celebrated and then push for a fitting performance when you arrive on that scary line.
I have continued to list the Donegal connections on that Olympic list; glad to report it has grown in recent years. Go back to 1948, two Inishowen men in London, Emmett McLaughlin, Carndonagh and Patsy Mc Gonagle, Ballyliffin on the soccer squad. Emmett studying medicine at UCD and Patsy, a young army Lieutenant playing with Bohemians.
On to Paul Dolan, 200m 1952 in Helsinki; his family linked with the bank in the town. In 1956 on the other side of the world Melbourne, of course Ronnie Delany wins 1500. but there is a Donegal man from the Rosses, Pa Sharkey, on a successful boxing team. I was privileged to meet him a few years back at a Donegal Sports Star awards evening.
We jump to 1964 to Tokyo to boxing again, a man by name Brian Anderson, still living at Carrickmagrath in Ballybofey. He boxed out of Middle Row, London at that time. Its to 1972 Munich and 1976 Montreal, the marathon and the postman from Glenswilly Danny McDaid, a person still involved in the sport in Letterkenny. Indeed the local track is named in his honour.
In 1992 Paddy Marley, Milford, manages the athletics team and is still heavily involved nationally as an official plus he is another link with the early days of Cranford AC. Himself, Danny and myself. Jump again to 1996 to more modern Olympiad, Atlanta, Katy Mc Candless, a North Inishowen family connection born US competing out of Finn Valley AC and she in the 5000m. Eamon Harvey, Donegal Town, is a team coach and Eamon is, of course, still heavily involved with his local club Tirconnail AC.
Its a new millenium 2000 and we find ourselves in Sydney. I'm on board as team manager and continue in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. China again and Beijing add Chloe Magee, Raphoe, Badminton and she was to qualify for London and of course Rio, serious acheivement. From Letterkenny from the sport of cycling in Beijing Philip Deignan was there and still competes at an elite level now with Sky team. There was a Donegal connection in Athens, 5000 Maria Mc Cambridge married to Letterkenny athlete Gary Crossan.
To more recent times 2008 Beijing to Chloe and myself and on to the home Olympics London 2012 listed are Chloe, myself, Brendan Boyce, Milford, 50k walk and Caitriona Jennings Letterkenny, marathon plus Tori Pena competing out of FV, born US, pole vault her event, family connection Coyle/McGlynn, Derry and Muff
And to the present Rio 2016 Brendan Boyce is back to his credit as is Tori Pena as is the determined girl from Raphoe Chloe, her 3rd Olympics - now that's something to be particularly proud of and add in a link with London a member of the Jennings family from Letterkenny, Sinead, rowing and there's a special article all on its own.
Opening ceremony Friday but the soccer has begun with many world stars named on squads. The soccer story is it's an U-23 competition but 3 senior players can be added hence Neymar, Barcelona on the Brazilian squad. You meet the leading lights from every sport in the village as you go about your business from the world of tennis, soccer, basketball, athletics, etc, etc and who is the biggest star last time in London, the man from Jamaica was out there for sure. Will the weeks ahead be any different? Thats the joy we don't know
Athletes turn up here; they have their plan and with a few tweaks they work it like that our job the job of the support staff is to support - an interesting session yesterday for those into running was our marathon lads did 8 x 3k in the heat on the trails with a floating 1k recovery in about 4 minutes. Interesting also from a scientific point of view as they lost as much as 9 lbs on this effort which was being monitored and they worked on repleneshing body requirements immediately after.
On the other side of the preparation Alex Wright was on track banging out a 12 x 1k; he does both the 20k and 50k. His recovery, a 400m in 2 minutes. Tough sessions but we are into tapering in the coming days so recovery now important in that period as we inch towards the battle.
Keep an eye out for Sinead Jennings who is the first of the Donegal contigent into action on Sunday
Happy to report all good here; looking forward to Donegal game as it willl kill a few hours.
Sadly as I'm about to press this button on my computer I learn we have a problem with a boxer who has tested positive for drugs and in the last hour has been suspended. You get seriously annoyed when you get news like this as it impacts to a point.