Today was meant to be my one and only day off since arriving 13 days ago. I had planned to do a very touristy bus tour of London and see a few sights. It wasn’t to be – we were all called into the main repair centre to help start packing the workshop away. Oh well, I am here for the Paralympics, not to sightsee London so, bring it on.
The day turned out to be one of the most busy and exciting yet. There wasn’t actually much for all 70 of us to do all at one time in the workshop, so after a few hours, I was let free. The bonus being I got a spare seat at the WC Rubgy gold medal match between Australia and Canada, which I thought was sold out (but was always going to find a way in!)
With the extra time that I now had up my sleeve, I thought I would use it to get a few APC Athletes’ autographs on the big Aussie flag. Found Carlee Beattie and coach in the Aus Camp – Check. Poor Carls, seems a bit disappointed with her achievements at these games. I tried to reassure her of how well she had done considering her troublesome lead up to the games. I guess it shows the strength of the Athlete who is disappointed with a Silver medal round her neck! Coach Brett Jones is already planning how much break she needs before ramping up the training again.
I also had some good discussions with Head AIS coach Irina and Scotty Reardon re: the future, technology and testing at the AIS. Good to know that treating amputee patients is just as unpredictable OS as it is at home- I rang Kelly to try and find out where she was to get her signature on the flag – She said she would meet me at Otto Bock as she was getting a new foot put on her Genium knee leg. I was able to set up her Genium and new foot but had to wait for the Genium software to arrive. When it did it was in Spanish, so with only the final settings needing to be changed I raced off to the WC Rugby final.
I had to run there as I knew that I had already missed the kickoff. Luckily it was only a 10 min run and I only missed a bit of the first quater. The seat Bockie gave me was awesome, front row at one end and right next to my Canadian wheelchair specialist colleague Hughes.
I was able to drape the huge Aussie flag over the banister which no doubt got some TV time throughout the match.
The boys were incredible and continued their form of not losing a quarter to any team in the world. The final score being a convincing 66 – 51win. Riley Batt cemented his position as the world’s number one player by slaughtering the Canadians both offensively scoring 37 goals and defensively preventing many plays and trys. Perhaps the weight lifting prosthesis I made for him has paid dividends as he is the strongest I have seen him.
After watching both our wheelchair basketball teams come away with silver, it was sensational to finally take the big one and watch them being crowned paralympic champions.
After belting out the anthem with the boys, I managed to get underneath the stadium and congratulate them myself as well as listen to the debrief in the change rooms.
B#@*^y legends who have been on the cusp of winning gold for a long time now and deserve it for all the hard work they have put in over the years – 2 More autographs for the flag!
Off to try and get some Merchandise, before the closing ceremony, as a thank you for Dan “the man” Ziffer – twitter.com/danziffer (@danziffer), for helping me with some great media contacts in London and the team back at APC Prosthetics (Fiona & Michelle) for helping me with editing and compiling these blogs and adding links and photos. Big thanks to ALL!
The Closing Ceremony was a real blast, much better in my mind than the Opening, with all the athletes ready to party. Coldplay were awesome and had the 80+K crowd on their feet through out an impressive set that at some stages included back up from Rhianna and others.
The show was fantastic, the words spoken were truly inspirational, the atmosphere amazing and the beer nice and cold!
Sadly it all had to come to an end which was accompanied by an 80,000 strong groan from the crowd. Nobody having had the privilege of the enjoying the London 2012 Paralympics wanted them to end but a roof top fireworks display marked the end of one of the greatest sporting events ever held.
A fond farewell to all of my Otto Bock Colleagues and it was off for my final sleep in my shoe box.