Ready to Go – But Then Again?
July 25, 2016
Still in Build-Up Phase
This last week has seemed rather slow, waiting to head off to Rio as scheduled on Sunday July 26th. The Team clothing kit arrived early in the week and that made it even more evident that things were starting to happen. As has been the case for previous Games it was a surprise about just how much gear there was. The final task was to check sizes and everything worked out great, although the drop crotch casuals don’t quite suit the image (for me at least). At the same time, there have been a large number of bags of gear being shipped direct to Rio for athletes and support staff who are currently in various places around the world preparing for competition.
There have been many things going on in these latter stages of the Games build-up. The major pressing issue has been waiting to find out what the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was going to decide about banning Russian athletes from attending the Games. We now know that they have left it to the various sporting codes to decide what to do with individual athletes. This has been met with very mixed reactions, with most believing that they have not been decisive enough about making a stand.
In relation to the doping dilemma, I was asked for some views on Radio Live by Mark Sainsbury. Questions involved how athletes can live with themselves if they choose to take drugs, and what would be the likely psychological impact on athletes going into competition knowing that some of their competitors were likely to be cheating. I made some comments:
and also took the chance to press the point that athletes and coaches are always going to be looking for the extra edge (with cheating and drug taking being the dark side of that drive), but that the psychological domain was where there is considerable scope for obtaining an edge if people were open to looking in that direction. My own view is that over the next decade there will be major advances in this field and it would be to sports’ advantage to get onto it. There has been considerable change in this regard over the years that I have been involved and there will be more to come I am sure. It also means that we, as sport psychologists, have to be on our game to make sure that we communicate existing and new ideas and strategies in ways that are clear, understandable and usable.
Other main issues simmering in the background in the Games lead-up have been questions about safety and security, political instability, and health and well-being in regard to the Zika virus. The latest concern, though, is that there are serious questions about whether various facilities will be ready for use. As with other nations several of our management and support team members are already in Rio and have now moved into the Village. It seems that there are indeed some issues that need urgent attention. We had serious problems of this same kind at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, so it is not a totally new problem. However, as happened there also, the organisers are being confronted with the things that need to be worked on and considerable leverage is being applied to get things sorted without delay.
From a personal point of view this last week has also been pre-occupied with my son and his family (2 daughters aged 7 and 5) being with us from the UK. They have decided to re-locate back to NZ and are with us for a few weeks whilst they sort out various things to do with work and housing. The nature of the work that he and his wife do means that they need to be in Auckland (they have jobs OK), so sorting out housing is of course a major issue. They have a few options to follow-up on, but the next few weeks will be very busy for them, so I will be keenly watching from afar as to how things develop. On the day and time they arrived in PN, the Black Sticks Women’s Hockey Team arrived along with Ritchie McCaw (whose wife Gemma is in the Team) to attend a fund-raising function. This enabled the newly arrived family to catch a photo with a young legend – he was very gracious and happy to oblige.
Yesterday, then, (Sunday, July 24th) with considerable expectancy and with bags packed I turned up to the Palmerston North airport to catch the 5pm flight to Auckland to connect with an 8.05pm flight to Buenos Aires in Argentina and then on to Rio. Things all looked pretty straightforward, although the weather was a bit rough. I took the somewhat obligatory selfie with my daughter, Eve, who was heading to Auckland on Jet Star around the same time and we joked a bit about how my Air NZ flight would no doubt pass her plane on the way North.
She departed pretty much on time and our incoming plane arrived as expected. Then after some delay we were told that the plane had suffered some technical problems on landing (euphemism for hitting the tarmac too hard) and the flight was cancelled! Somewhat aghast I then also found out that there was no way of making the connection in Auckland and that the flights from Auckland to Buenos Aires only happen x 3 a week and that the next one was not till Tuesday! So, I am now waiting in limbo at home, getting on with things here, while my colleagues are dealing with all sorts of things already in Rio. Hopefully things go as planned tomorrow and that the revised travel plans progress as set down. Hopefully the next post will be from Rio itself.
One response to “Ready to Go – But Then Again?”
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