Today was an opportunity for most of the group to train this morning to make sure everyone is keeping up with their programmes set from the UK.
A small group of our skiing hopefuls went up to the mountains to watch the first event of the Games, the men & women’s downhill skiing. There was an incredible atmosphere, especially when Jade Etherington won ParalympicsGB their first skiing medal in 20 years! The guys that came back were beaming, huge smiles on their faces with even more determination to put into practice what they are already learning here.
Jade was on the London 2012 Paralympic Inspiration Programme showing that initiatives such as this and a lot of hard work, does pay off.
From training / skiing, we all met back up for lunch before heading back to the hotel for an afternoon educational session. This time we talked a bit about expectations prior to going to the Olympic Village tomorrow, we discussed what it was everyone was expecting and what they wanted to get out of it to make the very most of the opportunity.
There was also a media briefing from the ParalympicsGB Media Officer, Tash Carpenter, who explained what the press requirements of an athlete were like at Games time. I think many were quite blown away with the number of interviews that take place once you’ve finished your competition before you’re able to enjoy the moment! But it was all part of the learning of what is expected of you as a performance athlete, especially as the profile of Paralympics sport increases. We were told that at Sochi, more media have been accredited than the Beijing 2008 Games, a true reflection of how the Paralympics have truly captured everyone’s imagination.
The wheelchair curling, sledge hockey and skiing athletes & coaches amongst us gave the rest of the group an insight into each of their sports which proved extremely useful as we’re scheduled to watch both curling and sledge hockey tomorrow. The athletes also were encouraged to think a bit about their mind when it comes to a Games, the key message being sticking to a routine and not altering it when it comes to competitions so you’re as fully prepared as you can be.
From there, we were fortunate enough to watch the medal ceremony, which took place just outside of our hotel, and cheer for ParalympicsGB’s first medal to open the Games. A wonderful moment. On the way to dinner, Jayne and I reflected on how it may feel in two years’ time, watching many of our athletes achieving their Paralympic dreams, potentially seeing them on stage being presented with their medals! It really is just within reach and we cannot wait to be a part of it.