2012 Olympic Games – IMAGES and Jim Park Olympic Diary

2012 Olympic Games IMAGES ARCHERY PROGRAM SYDNEY MORNING HERALD IMAGES NEAR MISS AT THE GAMES Jim Park’s Olympic Diary FRIDAY We caught the 7.10am bus to Lords. It was overcast with some wind ? not easy. Taylor had a good practice ? we also included quite a bit of match timing practice. His groups were good. At 9.30am we were called to the warm-up area and had about 30 minutes practice, trying to best understand the wind. Then it was into the waiting room and onto the arena. George Tekmichov kindly introduced me as the world expert in arrow flight and wind drift. It was a very tight match, with difficult wind. From where the archers shot you could not feel the wind and the flags were not very helpful. The 6 that Taylor shot was interesting. He felt he shot it excellently, and so did I. However about 20 metres out it was caught by a gust and whisked away to the right. Taylor had two chances to win: in set 5 he needed a 9 but shot an 8, and in the shoot-off he needed a good nine or a ten and shot an 8. Both times I felt sure he would do it, but it was not to be. You might have noticed some of our strategy during the matches? The day prior to the matches we decided that Taylor was going to score best if at the start of his 20 second allocation I told him when to get ready to shoot. That way he did not need to watch the clock. We then had a pre-shot routine he stepped through for every shot ? it took about 5 seconds after I said to start. That left him to concentrate on process and timing. His job was to shoot the shots as well as he could and to not worry about the time running out ? that was my job. I was to warm him if it got to 3 seconds, but the lowest it went to was about 5 seconds. Between each set of shots we discussed where the arrows had landed, what the wind was doing and where to aim. Each set I told him if he was to shoot first or second. Interestingly, if you are doing if well you do not really hear the crowd ? just noise. There were about 5000 spectators. For example, in reviewing the videos of the Wednesday matches I noticed that George had introduced me and talked about my PhD work on arrow flight, but during the match I did not hear it at all. Both Taylor and I very much enjoyed ?the big stage? (and want more of it). After the match Taylor was interviewed by the tv and press for about 20 minutes and then signed hundreds of autographs. Many people asked to be photographed with us. This was just by the entrance to the Lords museum, behind the old pavilion. The Federal Minister for Sport rang Lucy later, which was nice. Later in the afternoon I had an opportunity to go the North Greenwich Arena to watch the trampoline event. Quite spectacular. I need to move out of the village in the morning, so here endeth the emails. I do hope you have enjoyed an insider?s perspective. I am certain to have spare bits of Olympic uniform if people would like samples (I cannot possibly use it all, and Valerie will tell you that I already have far to many archery uniforms). Several pieces I will certainly want to keep ? the rest is up for grabs. THURSDAY Taylor and I went to Lords on the 7.10am bus this morning. It was quite cold, so I kept him indoors until 9.30am. We practiced for about an hour and a half. Mostly we worked on our strategy for using the match play time to best advantage ? I think it was working quite satisfactorily. All of the top 16 men and top 16 women were at the ground, and the quality of shooting was very impressive (perhaps the best, on my quick observation, was Miss Ki from Korea). I large number of people spoke to me about the matches on Wednesday ? it seems like we were quite popular. One of the volunteers at the ground had decided that we probably needed chocolate and brought some for us ? she was right!! I took my telescope to the equipment repair booth (it was held together with black electrical tape during Taylor?s matches ? after Don Rabska worked on it it is now better than a new one. The Federal Minister for Sport rang Taylor after his matches, which was nice. Apparently Lords is scoring the highest of all venues for spectator satisfaction (although I have not seen the figures). For those who know Lords: the queue prior to the gate opening for the sessions stretches from the main gate, right along the road to the next corner (near the Danubius hotel), around the corner along the road to St John?s Wood station, and up to the next corner. They do, however, get into the ground very quickly when the gates open. WEDNESDAY Today was the last day of individual eliminations, and we had Taylor competing. It was a fabulous day!! It was overcast and a bit windy, which was ok. We caught the bus at 12.10pm. That gave us time for some practice ? Taylor and I practiced the timing we had chosen for the alternate shooting in the match play. At 45 minutes prior to the match we were called to the warm-up targets, where we again ran through the timing. The 1/32 match was against Alan Wills from GBR. It was extremely noisy! Taylor started very strongly but Alan caught up and we got to 5-5 and a one arrow shoot off. Taylor and I had the option of selecting the shooting order at the start of the match and we chose to go first. That meant that in the one arrow shoot-off Taylor also got to go first and he nailed an X, which was sufficient for a 6-5 win. We then had to wait for the other 1/32 men?s match and two women?s matches and we were on again. This time it was against the World number 1, Brady Ellison. Taylor beat Brady in Utah at World Cup 3 in a very good match. They tied the first set with 29?s and then Taylor convincingly won the next three sets to get a 7-1 win. Hence, Taylor is now in the last 16 archers still in the competition. In both matches we stuck to our plan and he shot very well. (I will perhaps tell you some our strategy after Friday). Then Taylor was extremely popular with the press and about a zillion people who wanted a photograph and autograph. I was interviewed by several as well. I had a number of the elite coaches and several of the top archers seek us out to congratulate us, which was nice. Taylor?s next match will be Friday morning (10.18am), so on Thursday we will get the 7.10am bus to test out the timing. The two top Korean coaches are also ?Mr Park?, so I am now an honorary Korean. We had a picture taken of the three of us. Roll-on Friday! TUESDAY We gave Elisa the day off today ? and indeed her competition has ended. It was quite cold this morning and rained overnight. There was the occasional shower during the day and a bit of wind (but not extreme by any means). Taylor and I went to Lords on the 12.10pm bus, as we will need to do tomorrow for his matches. We practiced the timing for the matchplay event ? I want him to take a small pause at the start of his time and then to shoot the shot. I will ensure he does not run out of time, so he is not to worry about that. It was working much better than him starting to shoot immediately his time started. Mostly the higher ranked archers are winning, but with a small number of upsets ? about as I would normally expect. It certainly shows that ranking is very important indeed. Interestingly, both Steve Waugh and Kieran Perkins commented on the high importance of the ranking round ? it was immediately obvious to them. MONDAY Today was the first day of three days of individual elimination matches. We had Elisa competing in the afternoon. It was quite windy and a little cool. We got the 12.10pm bus to Lords, so that we could have a good practice time and at 2.40pm we were collected by the marshals. We had about 20 minutes in the warm-up area and Elisa was shooting quite well (as was the Danish competitor). We then went around to the Lords pavilion where we waited for the preceding match to end. Then it was out through the test cricketers? gate and onto the grass. Elisa was on target 2, on the right. Carina elected to shoot first (it was her choice as she ranked higher). Elisa won the first set, with both of them having trouble with the wind. In the end Carina won 7:3. It was a good match. The crowd of about 5000 was quite vocal and enthusiastic. I quite enjoyed myself. Then it was on to the press cordon, and then Elisa was off to a drug test (after two hours she was still there, so I brought Taylor back to the village as I did not want him out late). Tomorrow we will have a practice session for Taylor in the early afternoon. I spoke to the Italian men?s team (who I know reasonably well) after their gold medal in the team event. They were all very pleased with themselves and had only just stopped celebrating. SUNDAY The beach volleyball last night was quite stunning. It is really good entertainment. The match started at 11pm and I got back to the village at 1am. The match was between the USA and Australia. Today we trained from 2pm. It was much cooler and we had some heavy rain and some wind (just moderate). I had the archers shoot during the rain, as they might need to do so during their matches. Taylor and I did some matches and then he had some matches with Crispin Duenas from Canada. The Italian men?s team were not at the ground ? still celebrating, I think. The scores in the women?s team matches were quite low and during two of the matches it rained quite heavily. The Korean women needed to get a 9 on the last arrow to win, which they did. Lucy and Elisa went back to the village straight after the training. Taylor and I stayed to watch the medal matches. We have Elisa?s matches tomorrow afternoon. SATURDAY I was not able to attend the opening ceremony last night, but watched it out my window and on television. The highlight (for me) was James Bond collecting the Queen and taking her to the stadium by helicopter. I could see the helicopter out my window, and the parachutists. The fireworks were pretty loud, even from the village. This morning I had a ticket for the start of the men?s cycling road race. I travelled by underground to Green Park and walked down to the Mall. I had a seat in the stand on the right as seen by the cyclists at 60 metres after the start. Prince Charles attended, and passed right by me (I have the relevant pictures, and being a devoted royalist it was excellent). All the team cars were BWM320?s. I would like to have stayed for the finish, but had archery commitments. After the cyclists had departed I headed for the underground and up to Lords. The men?s team quarter finals were finished, with the big surprise being GBR losing (they shot high). I had a training session for Elisa, aiming at ?beautiful technique?. Then I headed off to the men?s team semi-finals and finals (I wanted Taylor to watch with me so we could study the differences between the winners and losers). It seemed to me that most of the teams were trying to lose! The gold medal match was very exciting, with Frangilli shooting a 10 on the last arrow to win. It was a very well-run event. In the final I was sitting directly in front of Vittorio Frangilli (who I know well), and he was very excited (as well you might imagine). This evening I am going to watch the women?s beach volleyball. We will have training every day ? tomorrow it is planned for early afternoon (matching the times Taylor and Elisa will need to practice prior to their matches). FRIDAY Today was very long (for the coach). It is day 0 of the games and archery was the first event (aside from soccer). As there is no Australian soccer team playing, Taylor was the first active Australian competitor for the games (and I guess that makes me the first active coach). We caught the 6.40am bus to Lords, with the trip taking just over an hour. The morning was about as perfect as the conditions could get: very still and overcast. There were a few drops of rain towards the end of the morning. There were more people from the press than I have ever seen: all along the press lane and down the side of the ground. First scoring end we thought Taylor had a 59, but the judge called one out. He shot very well indeed and had a nice 338+330=668, to finish 23rd. During the light rain we covered his sight with a zip bag and I held an umbrella over the riser. The top scores were very impressive indeed, with Im from Korea getting 699 and setting a new world and Olympic record. The Korean team also set a new world and Olympic record for the team event. It seems to me that the required standard has definitely risen once more. In the afternoon there was noticeably more wind drift (Elisa was getting drift of about 8 ring to 8 ring). It was not as easy as in the morning and the scores were lower. Elisa had 298+303=601, to finish 58th. As best as I could tell prior to seeing the official results it would seem that Elisa has a match against one of the Danish archers and Taylor has a match against Alan Wills from GBR (so it will indeed be Australia versus England at Lords and the press are already onto it). We had three of Australia?s greatest sportsmen spend the whole day at Lords watching our archers: Kieran Perkins, Steve Waugh and John Eales. They were great value. Travelling back to the village on the underground it became very obvious that Steve is very well known in England and many people asked to get a picture with him. The opening ceremony is this evening (I don?t get to attend), so it should be a late night. Watch out for Lucy, Taylor and Elisa. THURSDAY Today and tomorrow are the coach?s busiest days. I started this morning at 5am and it is now near 11pm. We had official practice: men in the morning and women in the afternoon. Taylor and I caught the bus at 7.10am. We put the competition arrows away and he shot three lots of 36 shots. His shooting was very impressive, in sunny and windy conditions. He shot both his bows and we think we have decided which one to use tomorrow. Lucy attended the team managers? meeting at 10am. Elisa arrived at Lords to shoot at 2pm. Taylor and Lucy headed back to the village about then. Elisa shot two lots of 36 arrows, with the wind being a little stronger than the morning. We tried both bows, with a view to ensuring both were in good shape (they were). I used my considerable artistic skills (I am taking great liberties in describing my abilities there) to blacken the sight rings in her Titan scope. Taylor and Lucy attended the welcome ceremony for Australia into the village ? Elisa and I missed it as practice was more important (naturally). Elisa and I arrived back at the village at 6pm in time for a quick shower, no dinner, and a rush to the formal team reception at the Westfield Shopping centre. About 1400 people attended and the main activity was to announce Australia?s flag bearer for the opening ceremony (I will not be able to attend, but the other three will do so). I sent Taylor home to bed at 8.30pm, as we have an early start tomorrow (6.40am bus). I you happened to be listening to Red Symons on the ABC at 7am this morning you would have heard Red and me talking about my research at Monash University. Interestingly, and since Australia does not have a soccer team in the games, Taylor will be the first Australian athlete involved in competition for the games, 9am Friday. WEDNESDAY I left Melbourne at 3pm Tuesday and flew to Singapore meeting Taylor and Elisa in Singapore and we flew to London (after waiting on the tarmac for an hour because Singapore Airport had a broken plane pushing tractor). We were met in London as we got off the plane and taken to accreditation and then fast processed through passport control. Taylor?s bow case came out escorted by four policemen all with automatic rifles (they though it may have been a gun) ? very impressive. We then caught a bus through London along the A4, past Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Westminster palace, the London Eye, along the side of the Thames and past the Tower to the village (I knew the route pretty well, so I was the tour guide). There is a major amount of security at the village and we had about four checkpoints to get through. We immediately went to get our uniforms. I now have an additional about 12 T shirts (at least), more track suits, more shoes, more socks, etc, enough sun screen for a decade, and four new travelling bags (together with the two I brought with me). I really could have come in just my undies, as that was about the only thing we did not get. The formal jacket is very nice indeed. Then it was off to the village and through the security again. We went straight to lunch (an area that can serve 10,000 people. Then we went to our building ? block B, floor 9, room 25, bedroom D ? I am sharing with Taylor. The gymnastics team is in the other rooms. We can see the main stadium from our balcony. TUESDAY Last night we had our induction. We were with the women?s basketballers ? they are very tall and I felt very tiny (I did not come past the shoulder of the one I was next too). This morning we went to breakfast and then Taylor and Elisa had a press conference (Channel 9). Then we caught a double deck red London bus to go to the practice ground at Lords (we sat up the top). We went past the Tower, saw the ?Shard? (which I think is now the tallest building in Europe), along the side of the Thames and then north past Australia House, Holborn and Russell Square. Then past Euston and along to Baker Street and Madame Tussards, and up to Lords. There were very few practicing and we had about 45 minutes. It was a tiny bit windy and overcast ? very good actually. We could not go to look at the matchplay venue as they are still building it. We had lunch at Lords and then Taylor and Elisa headed off for a photo shoot at the London Eye. It took me about 65 minutes to get back to the village on the bus. We will shoot tomorrow morning, afternoon on Saturday, both sessions on Monday, afternoon an Tuesday and morning on Wednesday (I want to have them practice some time in both as we do not yet know when our matches will be, and I want to see what the light is like first thing. We have a session on the matchplay range on 25th and then official practice on 26th. I have told them to stop any weight training about 3 days prior to competition. The security arrangements seem to be very good and very quick. I have had a good chance to talk to the GBR team. MONDAY I went to Lords early today as I wanted to see where the Sun would be at 9am (as Taylor at least needs to shoot at that time). The Sun is 45 degrees to the side and high enough to be ok, but you certainly need to wear a hat. I could readily shoot in the conditions. It was sunny and still in the morning and overcast and still in the afternoon ? rather nice actually. One of the policemen let us try on his hat, which was fun, and I took time to let the policemen hold a bow and try to draw it (they could not). Quite a few teams turned up today, including Korea and Ukraine, so we were able to watch the current Olympic champion and the current world record holder. The USA team is here but they are practicing at a private indoor facility. We had Kieran Perkins spend the afternoon at the archery. He tried pulling Taylor?s bow, and decided Taylor must be very strong (he is). I also had a brief chat with Steve Waugh about Lords ? but will speak more in the following days. He wants to tell me about the slope on the Lords ground (but I know about it and measured it during the test event). Layne Beachley (surfer) is also here and I had dinner with her last night. Apparently she visited the trampolinists and had a go (and did a few somersaults). I also had the team physio visit and he also decided that Taylor must be mighty strong. I went through the muscle use for him so that he will best know how to assist. Taylor is shooting very well and I am quite pleased. I had a shot of his second bow today and it was quite nice (and over 50 pounds for me, so it is quite strong). Elisa has been sick and is being treated by the medical staff, but she is still shooting (and reasonably well). In the village I suspect that the MacDonalds is probably the best food, but I have not tested it. We had dinner at the nearby Westfield shopping centre this evening, which was ok. Tomorrow Taylor and I are planning to shoot both sessions, and I will have Elisa shoot just in the afternoon. Then I want them to back off for a couple of days. FRIDAY Today we practiced in the afternoon. A few more teams have arrived, including Canada and Italy. We have still not seen the Netherlands or Germany. It is still quite warm but still, so it was quite nice for practice. I had Taylor and Elisa have a relatively gentle session today ? about one and half hours. They were shooting quite nicely. We also checked their gear to ensure it was in good order. Both of them shot their first arrows during the practice right into the centre of the X ring, which was pretty impressive. I am very fussy about having the fletches on the arrow all at the same angles, so we changed several. During practice I have them using old sets of arrows, but we will get the competition arrows out on the day after tomorrow. Lucy and Elisa went back to the village on the bus and today it took one and half hours, which was a bit too long. Taylor and I left later but caught the London Underground, which took 45 minutes. It was the Jubilee line from St Johns Wood to Bond Street and then the Central line to Stratford. However, there is a practice for the opening ceremony this evening, so the underground was very crowded indeed. I have declared tomorrow to be ?beautiful technique day?. I will have them shoot for no more than 1 hour, Taylor in the morning and Elisa in the afternoon. The objective is to demonstrate excellent technique. Then we will build up the volume towards qualification day. The Australian swimmers have arrived. I have concluded that I am far too short to be an elite swimmer (even though I am pretty tall). I have also concluded that most of the young ones seem to know almost no English history. Whereas I can easily name all the English monarchs from William I through to Liz II (and most of the dates), the young ones seem to know almost none of it. I think London is a very much more interesting place if you have a bit of knowledge of the history. THURSDAY I declared today to be ?beautiful technique day?. I had Taylor and Elisa shoot for just 1 hour, but I required all their effort to go into looking good and making it seem easy. They did well. Taylor shot this morning and Elisa this afternoon. It took us over 1 hour on the bus. As far as I could tell, all the teams except France seem to have arrived. Tomorrow we have our familiarization day in the matchplay area. We are on at 8.30am, so I have told them we are catching the 6.40am bus (Taylor and Elisa are not sure that 6.40am actually exists). I have told them that tomorrow we get out the competition arrows for the first time. Last night there was a practice for the opening ceremony ? I could see many fireworks from our balcony. There were two military helicopters overhead to keep everyone away. There was also an airship. At Lords the BBC wanted to get Australia and England in front of the Ashes. Hence, at lunchtime Taylor and Larry Godfrey from England and I went to the Lords museum where they were interviewed. I got some nice pictures. WEDNESDAY Today was our familiarisation with the matchplay venue. Australia was first up, with Canada, etc. We got the 6.40am bus (yes Taylor and Elisa, 6.40am really does exist) and took about 50 minutes to Lords. We were escorted from the practice and ranking ground to the warm-up area behind the left grandstand, where we had 30 minutes of practice (about 5 ends). They also covered the equipment inspection (we passed). Then we were escorted around to the Members? Pavilion and out onto the competition area. We had 5 ends. Taylor shot especially well (and was the first person to shoot a 10 on the matchplay targets ? Cripsin Duenas from Canada shot the first arrow). Then a huge number of people from the press wanted to talk. Then we had the archers and Steve Waugh with the press, both on the grass and in many areas of the pavilion. (Be sure to watch Channel 9). Then it was back to the practice area for a little more shooting. We decided to give Steve Waugh a go at drawing Taylor?s bow (he couldn?t). That got about a zillion press on the spot immediately, and even more when Steve thought he would like to shoot one. (he had a go in a short warm-up area, with Taylor coaching him and me ensuring he did not shoot an arrow over the top. Lucy, Taylor and Elisa then caught a bus back to the village (I gave them the afternoon off) and I went touristing (I went to Westminster Abbey too see some history ? I have been many times, but like it). Tomorrow we have official practice: Taylor in the morning and Elisa in the afternoon (so it will be a very full day for me).