“Touch Down” – On the Ground for the London Paralympics

After 4 years and a lovely 30 plus hours in transit, the wait is over.  I have made it to London for the Main Event.  To the worlds Olympians – thanks for the warm up


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwdU-F6iRR4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S48VDQGzCGk

 

I spent the morning finding my way around London’s underground to find my accommodation, get my accreditation and find Olympic park.  I did a better job underground than I did above it!  (At least, nobody else could read my map either – including the military and police).  By the way, anyone thinking of entering Olympic park without accreditation or some contraband – good luck!  There was about 40 Military guys and 10 cops with all kinds of weapons – and that was after you passed through security and the metal detectors!

I finally found where I needed to be tomorrow morning at 7am – the Otto Bock workshop.  Fairly similar to Beijing, only with far less advertising.   Anyone who watched the “Gruen Sweat” would know how strict advertising is during the London games.  I think the Chinese had a slightly different philosophy in 2008.

Next, I went on a mission to find the Aussies.  You will never guess who were the first people I ran into?  Yep – Kelly Cartwright and coach Timmy Mathews – and guess what – it is on like Donkey Kong.

Here is how I remember part of the conversation:

Cam: “How did the Cardiff training camp treat you?”

Kelly: “Good, I have been running and jumping PB’s”

Cam: “PB’s doesn’t that mean world Records?”

Kelly: “Yeah”

Cam: “Tail wind?”

Tim butts in: “It was an inside meet!”

Conversation was then interrupted as the Tim and Kelly ran off.  Wondering what was going on, I realised that the parade for the flag ceremony had begun and they were meant to be in it. Not sure that I was meant to be in it, but I was kind of caught up in the flow.  It was a really colourful ceremony with a group of singing and dancing Jesters.  The dominate colour came in the form of a sea of green and gold as the 161 strong team watched on.

Plenty of familiar faces:  Athletes, Ex athletes, coaches, managers, the many familiar faces of the APC (Australian Paralympic Committee) including Chris Nunn, the APC’s high performance manager and the legendary Donnie Elgin.

There were some less familiar faces in the coach training group for the two new Paralympic sports coming to Rio in 4 years, Canoeing and Triathlons.  Chris wanted me to meet them as APC Prosthetics will no doubt have a close association with the amputee athletes in these events over the next 4 years and beyond.

As it was their first Paralympic Games, I managed to sneak them into the Otto Bock repair centre for a quick tour – We pinched Channel 10’s time slot as they were running late on what was a very busy day for the press inside the facility.

Had a good chat with Heath Francis, who is having a practice run tonight with Adam Hills.  Unlike Beijing where his practice runs resulted in 3 gold medals, 2 World records and 1 Bronze, this year Heath is practicing his commentating skills for the opening ceremony!

All set for the Opening ceremony tomorrow night, a bit of Coldplay and a lot of cheering.  I need some food and a good sleep.

Stay Tuned….

Cameron

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