Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hi guys, just back from China now - well ive been home for about 2 days, but had to head back to perth for this homecoming party - sorry I didnt get the other blogs up from the last part of the games, I have them on my laptop so I should have them up in the next day or so... and the pictures will be up soon as well.. just need to sort them out. talk to everyone later

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Aug 20 - Rest Day

So today was kind of a rest day for me, I have been going out and having such long days/nights for the last week that my body was dying for some rest, so today I didn’t do anything! I woke up around 10am to get some breakfast with Keith and then went back to the dorms and fell back asleep until 3 in the afternoon, when I woke up I went down stairs to the internet cafe and checked my emails, and watched some of the sports on TV. While I was down there, 3 tickets became available to go watch the USA Basketball game, so I decided since I wasn’t doing anything all day, and was not planning on going out – I would go watch the game. It was the quarter final match with USA playing Austrailia – despite a close first half, the USA team ended up beating them by 35+ points, but it was still cool to see all the NBA superstars from the states – and of course get pictures etc. We had great seats too because we went inside with the New Zealand basketball team – don’t ask me how, we just did. So we were pretty much right on the court, so it was defiantly cool! Anyways after that we headed back to the dorms and went to bed. You guys are probably wondering why we haven’t gone to see any sights yet, besides the great wall – but we have it pretty much planned out – with what sports we are going to see, which nights we will go out etc, etc. Were gonna do the sights on the 25th.. or at least the forbidden city.

Aug 19th – Visit from Dad and sister to the village

So today was a pretty relaxed day because I actually ended up getting my Dad and sister some day passes to come into the village, which is pretty hard to get because so many people try and come in, and there are only a certain amount of people allowed in the village at one time – for security reasons. Anyways so I slept in and woke up around 10am, went and got some breakfast and then pretty much just hung out and played some video games, watched some sports on TV until my Dad got to the village around 2pm. Once my dad and sister got into the village I took them around the sights and showed they where everything is – Gym, Pool, Games room, internet cafe, Cafeteria, also where the international village is (where the dentist, doctors, hair salons are) and then back to where I stay and my apt building.

For people that don’t understand how big this place is, its pretty much a city inside the gates, I mean even my Dad asked me what was on the other side, like what’s over there he said – I said Dad, thats the rest of the village, its HUGE. Like 30,000 plus people in here all the time! Anyways so after we toured around we went to the cafeteria to eat an early dinner and then it was time to say good bye to the family, because they were leaving the next day. It was also time to go get ready, because tonight was CLUB BUD night!

Tonight at club bud it was starting to be the end of the games meaning it also started to get a little crowed, I mean before there were a lot of people that went out and into this club, but now that swimming and a lot of the sports are starting to finish up – CLUB BUD is the place to go, every 2nd night. Or at least start off at! Once inside we walked around a bit, met up with some people and eventually just chilled outside by the pool bar for most of the night. At one point we started to see a crowd of people around one person – hhhhmmmm I wondering who it could be – it was Micheal Phelps, now considered the best athlete in the history of the games, but to be honest, for me he is just another athlete who had a great tournament/competition! I mean don’t get me wrong I think he did something that no one else will ever do again, but he is just a regular guy with a @hit load of money now. If you haven’t heard Visa gave him a 2million dollar bonus because he took the 8 gold medals, well Speedo also gave him a bonus of one million dollars, not to mention he was making around 5 million a year prior to these games. Well what’s the saying, the rich just keep getting richer. HA nothing compares to what they are predicting he will make from endorsements this year. They are predicting 75 – 100 Million dollars in endorsements alone in the next year, if that isn’t crazy I don’t know what is. Anyways the night was pretty chilled, just hung out, met some new people and then went home. These Olympics like I said in my earlier blog are amazing in the sense of the infrastructure and how the games have run, but as for the after parties – well you kinda have to make your own (besides the Heineken house and club BUD) oh well we have been having an amazing time none the less.

Aug 18th Pearl/Silk market

So today was kind of an exciting day because we were followed around by the CBC crew while we went to the Pearl market, the Pearl market is a place where you can go to buy knock off clothes, jewellery and all sorts of crazy things, anyways CBC wanted to follow the Judo team around one of these markets to see the athletes in action after they were finished competing – they also wanted to see what kind of fun we were having trying to bargin down the people at these markets. The thing you have to know about these kinds of markets is that you can get it for pretty much nothing but it won’t be easy. We were actually going to shop at the Silk market but the store would not let any of the cameras into the buildings, and I’m pretty sure it’s because they don’t want the cameras to catch any of the illegal stuff going on in the market. In my opinion the only difference between the Silk and pearl markets is the prices. At the Silk market you can bargin down the people to buy stuff for next to nothing – example I bought I pair of Diesel jeans for 10 dollars, which would normally cost you oh I don’t know 200 plus back home in Canada. So anyways we went to the pearl market with the camera crew from CBC but didn’t really buy anything because we knew we could get better deals at the silk market, so we just played the roll out for the camera and after we were done we headed over to the silk market to shop the day away.

Once we got to the silk market we started to shop, and this place isn’t just any regular shopping mall, it is HUGE - like a shopping mall back home, but the difference is - there are little boutique type shops set up all over the place in lanes like at the grocery store, so that when you walk by the people can try to sell their merchandise – these people are very grabby, so like even when you’re walking by them they will grab your arm and try to pull you into your stores, they also love your Olympic pins and well if you let them get close enough to you, they will steal them right off your shirt – it’s a crazy place with a lot of crazy stuff, defiantly not all legit, meaning legal but it is a fun day for sure.
The best part is trying to get the best price, normally they will start the price of really high, like for example those jeans that I ended up getting for 10 dollars well they started the price off around 120 dollars. The people are just trying to find that one guy (sucker) who is like ok, and pays them the expensive price – but we know what you can get them for and what is a good price.
I also got fitted for a tailor made suit, all the judo guys did. It cost us about 130$ Canadian which is really nothing at all – plus you choose your own fabric, mine is a black with white pin strip suit – which is made form cashmere wool – which everyone is saying would go for around 1300$ back home. So after shopping around for the day which was a long one I headed back home. 6 hours of shopping haha, was a lot of fun though, I will be going back on the 23rd to get my suit, try it on and if there are any adjustments I need to have done they will do them. Anyways so far I have purchased 4 Abercrombie Polo’s, some watches, sun glasses, 2 pairs of jeans, underwear @ 1dollar – haha they are really nice too (dolce and gabana) everyone bought some. Anyways I bought a bunch of stuff, and when I go back to get my suit I will get fitted for some dress shirts, and will probably shop around for some shoes, maybe a nice belt. I mean the prices are so good that when I go home, I don’t know if I will be able to buy anything ever again- knowing what I paid for it hear. Not all of it is fake, some of it “fell of the truck” some of the fakes are so good that you cant tell. Either way this place is wicked. We actually bought some knock off watches from this girl who said she didn’t sell any omega watches – well the truth is, she does have omega watches, she just cant have them on display! Because of all the police that go around checking for knock offs, so she wants to sell them to you but she has to bring you somewhere else to show you them! Which was a crazy thing for us!
So she grabs our arms and pulls us into the stair case, up the stairs and into this dark area.. and I really do mean dark , like the only light was from her flash light lol.. she sits us down on these little stools and disappears for 1min and comes back with this suit case full of watches, and I mean FULL lol.. so we sit down and she starts pulling out all these omega knock off watches, anyways we bought a couple for like 12 dollars which is nothing, and they look really cool. Either way you cant lose going to this place. Sun glasses for next to nothing as well. Real pearls for a fraction of the price.

To sum it up, it is a shady place but also well known, so its kinda like the police know whats going on, but they just cant do anything to stop the trafficking of illegal merchandise. After the long day I headed back to my apt, showered up and chilled out until bed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Aug 17th - Day to myself

Today was one of the more relaxed days here in China; I woke up around 12 and went to get some breakfast by myself. Today we were suppose to go to a local judo club and meet some of the students and work out, but I was not in the mood to put my Gi on just yet. Some people might think – why not, well I to tell you the truth I just finished one of the longest training camps of my life, in preparation for the games, which ended up lasting well over 10 weeks straight, with no breaks, so I just wanted to just hang back and write some emails to people, watch some of the Olympics a bit and we’ll just have a day to myself.
Sasha ended up going to hang out with his parents so the only people who went were Frazer and Keith. Around 6pm Sasha came back to the village and we got ready to go out. We planned on meeting the boys later on at club bud anyways (which is only open every 2nd day).

Before heading over to club bud Sasha and I ended up heading over to the Canada house to chill out a bit and see my dad and sister. When we got there I ended up running into those friends from Kingston again so I invited them out to club bud, which they were totally stoked about. Once we got into the club, it was just a regular night, we hung out, had some drinks, just the regular. Tonight though I had a chance to hang out with Mike Brown, one of my long time friends who is also here competing in swimming(he ended up misses the bronze medal by less then .1of a second) anyways was nice to hang out with him because it has been forever since we got a chance to see each other. I try and stay in touch with as many as my old friends as I can but as everyone knows, people have their own lives to live and well you start to lose touch with people, and tats life sometimes. Anyways this night was a quick night , we ended up heading back to the dorms around 3am because I was again pretty tired and tonight for some reason they played some really bad music!!..

Aug 16th – Great wall & some touring around.

Today we had our first bit of sightseeing, and what a day it was. We ended up taking a 2 hour bus ride to an area where no tourists go and where we could see the original wall, meaning not the new one that everyone sees when they see pictures of the great wall. We actually kinda did two things today, first off, we ended up going to the wrong place to begin with which ended up being not that big of a deal, it just took us 1hr of walking to figure out that we were in a park and not where we were supposed to be. We actually got too see some pretty neat stuff in the park including a 66m waterfall, and we actually climbed up the face of the cliff, right alongside the water fall which was really neat, even though the steps were pretty sketchy. The stairs were actually nailed in to the face of the cliff, which for me was kinda scary because well I’m scared of heights.

Anyways after we figured out we were in the wrong place we turned around and went back to our cars – took a 10min drive over to the proper spot and started our 4 hour hike, yes I said 4 hrs lol. This was defiantly a cool Hike up the mountain side! We couldn’t climb the actual wall because its covered in grass and plants, this is the original wall, but there was a path up this side of this mountain that we walked on which was right beside the wall. It was an experience that will last a life time, I don’t even know how to explain the entire day but, we ended up climbing in to some of the watch towers where the guards and soldiers lived and where they were stationed to protect the wall and to stop any of the Mongolians from getting into their country. Oh ya this was a neat fact we read about in a little book, the people who were stationed at those check points or look out points had to stay there for their entire lives!! Meaning that was their house for life – they didn’t leave, Crazy!

After having a crazy walk up the hill we finally got to the top and had something to eat, looked around a bit and then headed back. The lookout was amazing though and you could see everything. If you see my dad ask him about the hike up the hill :P, he was dying a little bit! Anyways so once we got back to the van everyone was pretty dead from the long day we had so we all ended up passing out on the ride home. Once back to the dorms we showered up and decided to head out to the bar district for a couple of beers, and a relaxed night. That couple beers and relaxed night turned into going to a club and not finding our way home till 6am, which was pretty much a normal night over here in china. It was actually just Frazer and I who went out but we ended up running into the fencers from the Canadian team, so we partied with them for the night. I also actually met some people who went to school in Kingston and are now living here in china teaching at some schools, the neat thing about that is they actually went to university with one of my friends from Perth. How crazy is that - small world!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Aug 15th – Last day of Judo

Today we decided to hang out at the village because we were too lazy to go over to the venue to watch judo. We actually still ended up watching judo, it was just from a TV inside the village instead of at the actually venue. After we finished watching Judo we headed to the Landry place to pick up our clean clothes which by the way are crazy wrinkled every time! We then headed back to our beds for a pre-game nap. Tonight is the real start to the Olympic red carpet parties. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you probably just haven’t heard of all the big time corporate sponsored events, which I now know are pretty sweet deals. ie- sports illustrated party, and in this case the Budweiser party – this party is VIP only – so big names like Evander Holyfield and people like that are there. Oh and all the athletes can get people put on guest list as well. Anyways so as we come into the event there is actually a red carpet and stage where the athletes get their pictures taken and are kinda in the spot light - which is pretty cool.

Anyways inside everything is free!! Open bar, wooo haha – which everyone can imagine is crazy when you have athletes who are done competing, and When you come into the building it opens up to a common area with music and a bar and then to the left, down the hall is a huge dance floor. To the right it opens up yet again to another common area, with TVs, music – VIP seating and then when you go through that room you turn right and you can go outside where there is a pool, with cabana type seating areas and another bar, actually there are bars all over the place in there. Anyways around 3am it started to die down so we called it a night and headed back to the village to get some rest which was big time needed! We actually only got 4 hrs of sleep :S which was not good with the great wall tour we had planned for the next day

Aug 14th – Keith and Marylise go to work

Today we had two Canadians in action. Keith Morgan, in 100kg and Marylise in -78kg. Keith ended up winning his first match against Dominican and moved on to the 2nd round to face European bronze medalist Daniel Brata who is one of the more physical players in the 100kg category. The match actually only ended up being around 30sec, with Keith making a little mistake, opening up and allowing an attack from Brata, ending the match. That meant that Keith’s only shot an Olympic medal was in Bratas hands. This however did not work out as well as everyone wanted it too, because Brata lost the following match meaning Keith wasdone.

Marylise ended up having a buy meaning she only needed 4 wins for Gold. The day started off good with a win over Australia, however things took a turn for the worse in the quarter final match against the Chinese player, with Marylise losing by ippon. Coming back in the loser’s brackets, Marylise was actually winning her match against the Mongolian by a very large margin, but somehow ended up losing the fight, putting her out of the tournament as well. This match was one of the harder ones to take because she has such a huge lead on the other girl and still ended up with the loss. After the tournament it was back to the dorms to get ready for the Heineken house, which is hosted by the Dutch team (Netherlands). So anyways the men’s judo team, along with some of the Canadian fans who came over to cheer us on, went out o the Heineken house.

This night – which was suppose to be a quiet night ended up being a very loud and long one, after hanging out at the Heineken house until2am, listening to the number 2 ranked DJ in the world (I forget his name) anyways after that we decided to head over to a club called Suzy woos – when we got there however we ran into a problem – Frazer was wearing sandals with his jeans which was not allowed and Senko (Sashas brother) was wearing shorts which was also not allowed. I was kinda mad because Sasha and myself told Frazer to wear shoes just in case this happened. Anyways long story short, we came up with a solution – Frazer gave Senko his sandals (size 6) and Senko gave Frazer his shoes (size 11) lol. Oh ya it was very funny – the only bad thing was Senko had to head home, which he didn’t mind doing because it was pretty late and he was staying a good 45min away by taxi.

So we finally ended up getting in, which I now know was not such a good thing! As you can imagine from my last comment it was a late night, or should I say early! 7am early! Anyways when we finally left the club and headed back to the village – the sun had already came up, so it was kinda hard on the eyes... after that we headed to bed.

Aug 13 – Judo

Today I woke up around 2pm!! Lol. The first night out kinda took a toll on us, but was defiantly needed – was awhile since the judo guys actually went “all” out on a night! After waking up we headed over to the tournament to check out the 90kg category, which actually ended up having (in my opinion) this biggest upset at the Olympics! Illiadis of Greece, who pretty much doesn’t lose, and well he actually ended up losing first round to the three time Olympic medalist from Holland – but the Dutch player failed to make the semi, meaning Illiadis, who was Olympic champion at the last games did not get a shot for the Bronze. Anyways other then Illiadis going out first round,today was not that exciting, after watching judo we headed back to the village – ate some dinner and headed to bed. I did not want to go out because I didn’t want to bother Keith, who was fighting the next day. Oh yeah we actually went to the Canada house for dinner with all the Canadian judo families which was pretty nice, the Canada house is actually amazing because everything is free, including the meals which are first class!

Aug 12th – Day After my tournament

On this morning when I woke up, I had a sort of calm feeling. I knew that it wasn’t a bad dream that I woke up from but reality – I failed to place at the Olympic Games, which kinda sucked. I didn’t do that much on this day, I was still trying to get over the loss, and trying to get some answers as to why I thought I lost and to what I could have done differently in my match. As I thought about it more it honestly come down to being one of those fights that I did everything I needed to do to put myself in position to win but ended up with the loss. As most people know isn’t always about winning - HAHA just kidding, everyone who knows me personally was probably thinking “this can’t be coming out of Nicks mouth” because winning for me is the only thing that matters – you play the game to win! And at the next Olympics I will be there to win, just like I will be at every tournament leading up to those games – TO WIN.

Anyways I went over to the tournament to watch the 81kg Category which was really awesome, so many upsets and so many great players who just couldn’t get it done. For some people it was the best day of their lives. The winner of the 81kg title Bishof(spelling) won his first Olympic medal which was also his first major international title – he is 30 yrs old and now he gets to retire with an Olympic Gold medal – you can only imagine what it must feel like to stand on top of the podium and receive a gold medal – not only that but get to hear your national anthem playing to the world. Wow I just got goose bumps thinking about it, and whenever I see someone win one or even just imagine myself winning is just the most amazing feeling – one day I want to stand up there and hear my national anthem!. Well after that it was back to the Village to get some food and well have our first night out!

Anyways we decided to check out some of the local Beijing areas for pubs and bars and finally decided on this “bar district” – which was pretty much where a lot of the Fournier’s were heading, so it seemed to be the best place. Anyways after hitting up some of the local bars and watching some Chinese dancers/signers try to sign some English songs we decided to go check out china doll, which is supposed to be one of the top club/pub areas around.

Oh yeah before I forget everything here in china is negotiable, meaning u can deal for anything in this country -including the price of beer at the bars. There are guys standing outside the bars saying - I give you best price - ssshhhhh lol. Anyways it’s a lot of fun! After checking out china doll and drinking our pains away we decided to head over to this hip hop club with the USA guys – by this time it was already 4am, but we decided we might as well go check it out :P... just as we thought it ended up being pretty much the same as the other clubs we went too, so after awhile of being there we headed back home. At least we got home in time for the sun to come up.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Aug 8th - Aug 15th , Opening Ceremonies And tournament

The start of this Blog is actually on the post below - starting with Frazer and Sasha.

Day 3 - 73kg

So This day did not goes as good as I had hoped. The day started off perfect though, I made my weight great, then went back to sleep for a quick nap and then it was off to the tournament site to begin my tournament. I had a great warm up, and was feeling the best I have ever felt before a big tournament, without a question I felt amazing! the nerves were fine and I was ready to go! When my name was called up it just seemed like it was another tournament and everything was fine, some people let the stress get to them and it really affects there performance but today I felt I was ready and good enough to win a medal. As everyone knows I ended up losing my match in ovetime to Portugal, but I am still seaching for reasons to why I lost - I felt great, without a question I was ready to go, I wanted it so bad!

This part I kept in my blog (I actually wrote this next part right after I finishes fighting)

Words cant describe the pain that I am feeling right now, I try and put a smile on my face to hide the pain but even as I am writing this I have to wipe the tears from my eyes. So much training and preparation, so many hours in the gym – no one can understand how it feels until your in the same situation. It will take a long time for me to get back to my normal goofy mood that everyone knows me as. The only thing I can do to try and cheer myself up is to not think about judo – but it is very hard at this time – I know everyone who is reading this knows that I having been looking forward to this moment my entire life. But when it ended like it did, it was just the most unbearably feeling in the world, even today when I was talking about it with people I got choked up, I cant even think about it, or I start to cry.Nico (my coach) keeps asking me if I’m ok, and i just keep shaking my head no, because I cant even speak. I wanted that medal so bad, I felt so good – but i guess it wasn’t meant to be. I can’t wait to get back to training; I’m going to win a medal if it kills me. I saw my Dad about an hour after I lost, and as soon as I saw him I started to cry again, I think I said - I didnt do it Dad! I didnt do what I came here to do! He hugged me and I felt I little better but, really the pain will last a life time. I gave up a normal life to become an olympian, my Dad also gave up so much for me, and I wanted to win it so bad.

So Ya that was what I wrote after my match, even just reading it right now again to myself was crazy. Anyways after my Day was done, I didnt even eat dinner, I went to my room after watching finals, showered up and went to sleep.

Day 4&5

On these days Canada had no one competing so we didnt get up to very much, I hung out with my Dad and my sister and watched the tournament. I did however go out one night for some night life action in beijing.. which I will explain to you in my next post along withday 6 of the competition where we had 2 canadians in action. For right now im an tired so im off to bed.. hope everyone is liking the posts!!

Aug 8th - Aug 15th , Opening Ceremonies And tournament

So First off I just want to say that I really don’t have that much time to do all the blogging I wanted to do, so sorry to everyone for not getting this up here until now, Anyways so ill start back at the opening ceremonies and catch everyone up to what I have been up too. So the opening ceremonies was pretty cool, the only bad part about it was that we didn’t see any of it lol, no seriously we didnt get to see any of it!!. All the athletes got on buses here at the village and went over to the gymnastics venue – to wait until it was time to march in and Canada being the 63rd country to come in because of the Chinese alphabet, we ended up waiting a while. We actually had to wait outside of the birds nest(the big stadium) until it was our time to walk in, and it was so hot outside that everyone was soaked in sweat – good thing for me because I had to cut a little weight and I actually ended up losing 2kg over the time we were waiting and walking.Anyways so once we got into the tunnel it started to feel like the Olympics, all the Canadians starting singing our national anthem, we could see the crowd and everyone on the field who was already out there, and that’s when I started feeling a true Olympian, and you know, now that I am done my competition and I’ve had time to reflect on things I do realize that not everyone gets a chance to experience what I already have in my young career. You know I’ve been to 30 plus countries, I’ve represented my country on the biggest stage, and it’s something very special that you have to experience to understand. Anyways so the opening was pretty awesome, walking in to a stadium with 90,000 plus people who are watching and cheering and about 30,000 volunteers, 10,000 athletes who were also in the building – the place was packed. So the Chinese def went all out for these openings, with how they started the opening ceremonies to the lighting of the torch to even the massive fireworks display they had and the end. After the opening we were pretty tired and Frazer(Frazer did not do the opening obviously) was fighting the next day so as soon as we got back we went to bed, because I had to get up earlier to warm up Frazer.

Day 1 – 60kg

So on this day we had our 60kg player, which we didn’t know would actually be our best result of the games, Frazer started with the world champion and ended up losing a close match but the world champ did what he had to do and made it to the semi finals, which in turn pulled Frazer back into the Draw and also gave him a shot for bronze. Frazer ended up winning 2 matches in a row, one against the Greek player and also one against the Venezuela player. That put Frazer into the semi finals to Bronze, where he Fought against the Uzbekistan player, Frazer fought really good and almost smashed him for Ippon – which is a full point! But the guy ended up getting off of it and won with a small yuko score, making Frazer’s final result 7th. After Frazer’s day I went back to the athletes village to go for my run and cut some weight with Sasha, after getting my weight down to 1kg over, I went to get some dinner and went to bed.

Day 2 – 66kg

Today it was Sasha’s turn to fight, he opened the tournament up with a win against Ecuador who Sasha has beaten a number of times, the Ecuadorian was going all out though so Sasha had to be more careful this time not to make a mistake. After winning this match he was up against the French fighter who he beat at the world championships last year, this time the tables turned with the French winning a very close match, only scoring a koka on a little mistake that sasha made.The French then had the Russian in the quarter finals, meaning that if Sasha had a chance to win the Bronze he would need the French to win his next match, it was an intense fight but the French pulled it out by throwing the Russian for ippon in the dying seconds. As you can see Judo is a funny sport, there is no way that the favourite to win will win, and over the entire tournament world and Olympic champs have lost first round numourous times! and of course you have also seen people who don’t normally place at big tournaments come away with medals.

Anyways back to Sasha, so Sasha was now matched up against the Moroccan guy who is not that good so we were not to worried about this match , we were more looking forward to seeing Sasha fight the Russian. Sasha ended up smashing the guy for wazari and then held him down for ippon putting him up against the Russian who Sasha also had beat before at a previous event. This match was a very intense match with the Canadians cheering sasha on. Sasha dominated the pace of the match and in turn scored a koka against the Russian, but with 7 sec left Sasha was penalized for a false attack making the score even and pushing it into overtime. In overtime Sasha made a crucial mistake and gave his right sleeve to the Russian which ended up costing him the match, because the Russian caught him with a throw for ippon in the first exchange of Overtime. This match however had some very bad mistakes from the ref and everyone in the building felt that sasha had scored on more than one occasions during regulation, so the match really should have never went into overtime, none the less sasha ended up taking a 9th place finish. After Sasha’s loss I headed back to get myself ready for the next day, I had a little weight to cut so that I could eat dinner, but after finishing dinner it was back to my room for a good nights sleep.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Posts will return

HI Guys, Sorry I havent been able to post anything - As everyone knows I ended up lossing first round in overtime and it has taken me sometime to get over it, and get back to my daily stuff.. so ill have all the new blogs up today or tomorrow morning..

Thanks guys

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Aug 7th Draws come out!

Today was nothing special, I woke up a little bit earlier today because I had a phone interview with radio Canada in Toronto, the only catch about that one was it was in French, but I did alright – it’s just hard to explain things when you can’t find a word sometimes. Anyways after that it was off to my last Judo practice before the tournament – I will warm up Frazer on the 9th but other than that this was my last hard one! CBC was also there today at practice getting some shots of us training, and then we had a brief 5min interview with the cameraman. After practice it was back to the athletes village for some lunch and REST, oh yeah I also went and got some laundry done, hopefully they don’t lose it and it will be ready by tomorrow. After getting back from my laundry adventure I took a 2 hr nap. As I said before its starting to get to that point in time, that we need lots of rest!.. after waking up from my nap, I really was not in the mood to work out, so instead of going for a run, I went down to the sauna to sweat a little bit before eating dinner – ya ya I know it’s not the best way to lose weight but that’s what us weight cutting sports do. After the sauna I went and got some dinner, checked my email and headed back to the dorms to see my draw.

OK so, 3 of the Canadians on the team have pretty easy first rounds – and let me tell you, it is extreamly hard to get an easy first round at the Games, so Canada is sitting in good shape so far. I’m sorry to say, I was not one of them lol. Keith, Sasha, and our 78kg girl Marylise have first rounds that they will win, without a doubt! Frazer actually has the worst first round of the team because he fights the Dutch player who is currently the world champion.

I got matched up against the Player from Portugal in my first round – this player was 7th at the last Olympics and is a very tough fighter, I have never fought him in competition but I have trained with him before and I must say we are pretty even. That being said practice and tournament are two totally different things, I have worked hard for this moment and if someone is going to beat me, they are in for the fight of their lives! If I am on my game I think I have a good shot at making a semi final, but one match at a time – and like all Judo players know, things can change in a second during a match. If I win my first round match I will most likely be fighting the World Bronze medalist from Japan, who I also think, if I am on my game, I can beat. Well I’m off to bed, I don’t know how many more posts I will be putting up before I fight but I will continue for sure after my day is done! Wish me luck ..

Aug 6th. 2 days out of the opening ceremonies

So Today was pretty much the same as every other day, not too much new went on, after the games start and we go to the different venues to watch and well also compete, I think I will have more to say! But for now it’s same old. This morning I took off practice, to make sure that I will be fully rested for Monday, when it’s my turn to compete. After practice we walked around a bit and some of the guys on the team got there haircuts, I guess you can call it a little more team bonding, anyways the cool thing about that is that it is also free, so pretty much everyone at the games gets there hair cut, styled etc. at one time or another here in the Olympic village! After our time at the hair dresser we went to the games room and played a little foos ball, but after that it was back to the dorms to rest! Right now it is really important that we don’t stay outside to long because we do need to make sure we are getting lots of rest.

Today at the cafeteria the US men’s basketball team was walking around – they don’t stay in the athletes village because I guess they are too good, but they did come in to check it out, sign autographs, take pictures with people, stuff like that. Roger Federer (don’t know if I spelled that right) was also in the cafeteria today, of course you can only see the crowd around them but they were there.

Anyways other than that there was not too much that went on today, don’t worry guys the blogs will get better once the games start!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Aug 5th – The big show is getting closer and closer.

Today I decided to sleep in a bit, and was actually able to because I was pretty tired from all the stuff we did yesterday. Anyways when I woke up I went down stairs to the internet room and lounge area for team Canada, which is right here in the apt and made something to eat. Oh yeah if you don’t want to head all the way over to the cafe. You can grab something from here – they have snacks, cereals, toast – meal replacement drinks, stuff like that! After Eating and little bit and checking my email it was already time for practice, so I headed off to catch the bus. Each day we have a scheduled time for 11:30 so we leave around 11am for the venue in the bus. This morning on the bus ride over I was taping my fingers and getting myself ready for practice when one of the Brazilian gymnast who was sitting beside me asked me at the time, asked why I was taping my fingers, to which I replied - for Judo because we do a lot of gripping and my fingers get sore. She kind of smiled a bit and then showed me her hands. WOW I mean when you look at these girls they look like they are 10yrs old, but in fact they have to be at least 16 to compete at the games because of the pressure countries would put on the really young ones. Anyways this girl showed me her hands and the whole palm of her hand, all the way down to her wrist and father was one big cracked callus.. I can’t even imagine how painful that is. Here I am taping my fingers, being this tough guy and there is this 80lbs girl beside me with war wounds worse than my collie ear lol. Anyways just thought I would share that with everyone. Today at practice I did a little less drills and a little more randori then I did at the first practice, I did 5 rounds of 4min.

After practice we headed back to the Olympic Village, showered, ate lunch and went to check out the gift shop to get some cool presents and whatnot - for friends and family before they sell out of everything -which surprisingly they already are starting to do. On our way there we got a free stuffed animal which is one of the 5 Olympic mascots – so that was pretty cool – free stuff is great! When we got to the Gift area, which is huge by the way, I didn’t think I was going to buy anything right away – but when I got into the store and started looking around, well that idea of not buying anything went out the window, 250$ later I was out of there lol. I’ll probably end up buying a lot of stuff here, seeing how its china. We are going to hit up the silk market next week after we are done fighting as well.

The silk market is where you can buy nice stuff for pretty much nothing compared to back home. I think I am going to get a tailor made suit, which would go for about 800-1000 back home. Here it’s only around 120$! Anyways after our shopping day we headed back to our room for a little R&R before I had my sports Dr. Meeting at 6. We are pretty lucky because are Doc is with us here from back home. Anyways we just talked about being mentally ready and how to stay relaxed but focused on the task ahead, not to stress out too much, stuff like that! At this level the difference maker in a lot of cases is who makes a mistake first - which is normally traced back to a mental error. Anyone can win, and me seeing him and talking to him just gives me that much more of an edge. I mean if you’re not good at a sport, seeing someone about your mental game won’t make you a champion, but at this level studies say it is the key factor to make it to that next level, and I will continue to see him even after these games are done, leading up to the next games in 2012, but for now it’s all about 2008 – and bringing home that medal!!

After chatting it up with My doc, we shot around the basketball a bit(Canada has their own net) and then I went for my run, after my run I ate some dinner and we played some video games in one of the main buildings – they have all these building all over the Olympic village where you can use the internet, play arcade games and just hang out watch TV, etc.. Oh yeah and I met up with my buddy Mike yesterday.... for people who don’t know who Mike is, Mike is one of my friends who I grew up with in Perth and who also made these Olympics for swimming, actually I have another friend who made it to the games as well but for hammer throw, she is also from Perth. The cool thing about that is we all graduated together from P.D.C.I high school in Perth Ontario. Not bad for a small town eh :P... something in the water – or so they say. I say it’s because were from a small town, and there is nothing else to do haha jk.. GO PERTH GO... anyways after that we headed off to bed..

Aug 4th, First full day in the Village.

Sorry for putting all the posts in together, but I don’t have a lot of time to get them on every day.

This morning I woke up around 7am, Keith and I went for a little breakfast down at the cafeteria before our 8am debriefing with the R.C.M.P. We just went over some of the security factors and some of the stuff that we can and should not do while we are here in china, basically just to make sure that we know all the rules. After the meeting we headed back to our rooms to get our stuff ready for practice and to also get our Gis ready for GI check and patches which we also did this morning.

The practice venue is about 20min by bus to get to; once we got there they took us in and showed us where the Canadians would be practicing. Every team has their own sectioned off matt area, by sectioned off I mean with big curtains around it – which is pretty cool, “secret training” lol. Anyways, like I said before in my previous posts, practice is now at 100% but shorter. Today I did some warming up, which was just basic drills and uchi komis – then I had 4, 3min rounds with different partners. I finished up with some gripping drills and stretching out. After practice we got back onto the bus and headed back to the athletes village to shower up and get some lunch. The cafeteria is crazy – so many different types of food and it is also open 24hrs a day which will be great when I am done making weight :P. After eating, we took a little walk around to check things out. You defiantly won’t find anything as good as it is here – from the training equipment to the village itself! Anyways we didn’t do any shopping today because we were kind of tired and had to get back in time to get our team gear. Although we did have time to stop by the “PIN” trading center for our free Coke bottle (recycled) T-shirt, which is pretty cool.

At 4pm we headed off to get fitted for our team gear. Overall the teams T-shirts, shorts, hoodies etc are pretty nice, the one thing that sucks is that there are no Olympic rings on the gear, but whatever. There are however two things that I really didn’t like – well let me correct that, NO ONE liked... and I don’t just mean people from Judo, I mean people from all sports. The opening ceremony outfit is the better of the two but its kinda weird and well not that nice to look at. But the Closing ceremony outfit takes the cake that’s for sure, this outfit consists of some wired dragon covered pants, with this t-shirt that has some funny patterns on it as well, and to top it off we have to wear this bandana type thing with the same dragons stuff on it. Let just put it this way, it’s like karate kid meets red paint and dragons outfit. Oh well I’m pretty sure at the closing ceremonies I will be still celebrating my Medal :P(hopefully) and will probably be tipsy ;) enough to bust it out without a problem. Anyways after outfitting we headed back to our apt in the village and got ready for our run.

We ended up going for about a 30min run to get a little sweat going before dinner. Don’t worry the air isn’t as bad as people are thinking, or at least I didn’t have any problems. After dinner we decided to go check out the village at night, so we walked around for a bit in the international ZONE (where all the stores and fun stuff is). I guess every night there is a show on, so we decided to take some pics and watch for a bit. We ended up catching the end of a magic show and also a little bit of some Chinese dance, which was pretty cool, but we started getting tired so we headed back to our apt and went to bed!!..

Monday, August 4, 2008

Aug 3rd, Travel day and first time in Olympic village.

So today was a pretty basic day, I woke up around 6:30 to get a run in before the trip over to china, after my run I packed up the rest of my stuff, showered, checked my email and cleaned up our room. At 9:15 we headed outside to take some team pictures in front of the Dojo which kinda back fired because the lenses on our cameras kept fogging up due to the fact that they were kept in an air conditioned room, and then brought outside into the humidity and heat. I think we only managed to get a couple really good ones at BUDO, but there will be a lot more opportunities later on in the trip. After the pictures it was onto the bus and off to the airport. Once arriving at the airport in Tokyo everything seemed to run smoothly, our only little speed bump was checking in as a team - BAD IDEA. It took them about 1 hour to figure out how to check us in – which was a little frustrating because it is suppose to be easier for Olympians, seeing how we don’t have to wait in any lines(would have been faster to wait in line) but I guess they didn’t check in any other teams yet, either way we were on time for our flight and took off for china at 3pm.

Upon arrival in china things got a lot easier, there were people waiting for us to take us to customs where we had our own line, “Olympic lane” – which is used for athletes and accredited staff/media. After that we went to get our accreditation validated(right at the airport) – which means scanned in, myself and Keith had to wait until we got to the athletes village to do this because they had the wrong passport numbers on the back of our accreditation, not really a big deal!

So everything for this Olympics was built new, even the airport – and the size of this airport in unbelievable, after getting our accreditation taken care of we headed off to get our luggage, which was in another terminal. Normally to get to another terminal at a big airport by train takes about 1min however at this airport it took about 8min on the train to get to where our luggage was, oh yeah and the train is Bombardier :P – I think I spelled that right. After getting off the train we were met by a staff member of the Canadian Olympic team who gave us some drinks and helped us get our bags and get onto the bus heading to the village. Little fact - the new airport only cost 4 Billion dollars to make.

Speaking about money I forgot to mention a funny story at the start of the trip, Pat one of our media guys working for CBC goes to change the money that Judo Canada gave him into Japanese yen. So when he gets there he finds out one of the 100$ bills was FAKE. The lady actually gave the bill back to Pat and said he could keep it – when Pat told us the story we decided to see if we could tell the difference between a real one and a fake one. It’s actually pretty crazy when you’re looking at the fake bill by its self it looks as real as any other bill, but when you compare it to a real 100$ bill, and held it up to the light etc, we found where all the mistakes were. But still it’s pretty crazy because Ewan got those from the bank the day before leaving for Japan, meaning the bank got fooled!

Ok where was I, oh yeah, so after getting on to the bus we were off to the Athletes village which took about 40min, once getting to the village we were greeted by about 20 volunteers/Olympic staff, these staff members wouldn’t let us carry our bags, wouldn’t even let us take them off the bus, actually to tell you the truth the next time I saw my bags was when I got to my room about 20min later. Let me explain the size of the Village and how many people stay here. There are 16,000 people staying in the village, and there are 18,000 staff who are just there to help out the athletes, so that means there are 34,000 people in the village which is about 6 times the population of my home town Perth!!

So Far in my books China has done an outstanding job, Keith having gone to 4 Olympics even said the same thing. Well after we got settled in our rooms we went down stairs for a little introduction meeting – basically saying welcome to the village here is where everything is – Cafeteria, international zone, stuff like that. After our meet and greet we got a bunch of free stuff given to us - A cell phone that we can use to call anywhere in the world for free(which we get to keep and bring home with us) it sucks though because I just bought a new phone like the week before coming here lol. Anyways we also received some gifts and a whole lot of free random stuff like toiletries, pins, postcards and stuff like that. Another cool thing that we got was this coke card, which we can use to get free drinks on any coke machine outside of the village if we are thirsty, we just have to swipe the card and out comes a free drink. Tomorrow we are also going to go and get this free t-shirt from Coke, made from recycled coke bottles – yeah don’t ask me how they make a shirt from bottles – but I want one haha. Tomorrow we are also getting fitted for our team gear, and will check out the rest of the athletes village.

Your probably thinking right now, WOW how lucky are these guys, well we are lucky – but at the same time Canada and other countries get nowhere near the crazy treatment the USA team gets, to put it into perspective the US team bought their own university in Beijing.. BOUGHT and probably put millions of dollars into it for their athletes to train in a separate place. Crazy eh!! Well you should see how many sponsors they have and what kinda clothes they get and you would understand what the word spoiled means :P, but hey, they win the most medals at each Olympics, so they get the best!

Tonight the only place we got a chance to check out was the cafeteria, which is open 24hrs a day, with all types of different food from around the world. I am pretty sure a lot of people already know this but everything in the village is FREE, we don’t have to pay for anything which is also a bonus. Oh yeah and I got to meet Dirk Novinski from the Dallas Mavericks – NBA player, I got a picture with him – wow this guy is so tall, the Olympics is crazy with how many different body types you see! Anyways after we ate we just relaxed a bit and went to bed.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Day 6, Saturday Aug 2nd – Last day in Japan

Today we also had another day without Judo – some people who have been reading my blog know that we didn’t have Judo 2 days ago either and may think that we are crazy for missing practice with the Olympics coming up next week. Well right now it is not about getting lots and lots of rounds in and having long hard practices, it’s too late for anyone to get in any better shape. One of my favourite quotes is “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail” and I really think it is true. Right now I am as ready as I am going to be, I have done the 7am runs, the 2 day a trainings, the weight room circuits - I’ve done all the intense long work outs that I needed to do. All that is left is some fine tuning, and getting myself mentally and physically ready to compete on the 11th. This means that we have to get a lot of rest! But when we do actually train it is at 100%, as hard as you can go, every second of the match to try and simulate a real round at the Games.

Instead of Judo I decided to go for run because I still do need to work out to keep my weight down, after my run we had a team meeting – just going over everything that we need to get done tomorrow - checking in to the athlete’s village and everything related to the Olympics etc. Tomorrow I will get my first exposure to the Olympic scene, it shouldn’t be too much of a shock because I have been to Pan Am Games as well as Francophone Games before so everything should be very similar within the village, the only thing that will be a lot different will be how much media there will be. Not only in and around the village but the reporters will be right there after every match you have so you have to be prepared, win or lose to deal with the media and to make sure you are professional about it, no flying off the handle if you had a bad match etc.

This afternoon we decided since it was our last day that we would head off to the beach – which is only one train stop away, so it’s pretty close. The weather today was overcast but still nice and hot so we had a great time just relaxing by the beach for the afternoon. Like I said before Judo is a very popular sport here, everyone knows what Judo is, and they also know a lot of the top players because they are superstars here. I happen to have a Kanji (Japanese writing) tattoo of Judo on my shoulder so after people saw that I had it, we were instant celebrities. People would come up to me all afternoon asking me questions about where we are from etc, and once they found out that we were going to the Olympics they all wanted to be our friends. We were pretty much the center of attention on the entire beach, which was funny at times and a lot of fun. After the beach we headed back to the dorms to shower up and have the final Ping pong championship.

It was an 11 man draw and I started the day off with a bye having the winner between Sasha and Ewan. Sasha beat Ewan in a thriller and then was matched up against myself. I ended up beating him in 2 straight sets, putting myself in the semi finals vs. the winner of Frazer and Sergio. Frazer won that match 2-0 to advance to the semi final. On the other side of the draw saw Keith loose to Pat and Nico go down to the power house Mike. Making the semi final match ups set – Nick vs. Frazer and Mike vs. Pat.

Frazer beat me in 2 straight sets to advance to his first Grand slam final where he would wait to see who he would play coming from the other side. On the other side of the Draw – we saw Pat take apart the power house Mike in a dominating fashion. Making the final game, a possible instant classic. Coming back threw the repecharge Keith was on a missing beating 4 people in a row including myself to take the bronze medal, it wasn’t easy for him being down a set against both Mike and myself but he managed to come back from behind for the win. In the final Frazer won 2 sets to 1 in a wicked match that saw the three scores go to extra points. 22-20 Frazer. 26-24 Pat. 23-21 Frazer. It was everything we expected! Although I did not place I won a 10dollar bet from Keith because I said Frazer would win, so all is not lost :P..

After the ping pong we headed back to our rooms to pack up and get our stuff ready for travel day. We Didn’t watch any movies tonight, just went to bed after packing up. I don’t know if I will post a blog tomorrow seeing how it is our travel day but I will as soon as I get set up in the Village.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Day 5, Friday Aug 1st – 7 days until the opening ceremonies

This morning I woke up at 6am, not because I wanted too, but because I had to pee, I think that’s the worst thing in the world, when your having a great sleep and you have to wake up to go to the bathroom. Oh well at least I fell back asleep, and actually stayed asleep until 9 – which is a new record. Anyways today was pretty much the same as every other day, I woke up, had some breakfast, and watched a movie – Transformers! GREAT movie, go bumble bee go! After watching the movie we headed off to practice.

Today’s practice, like every other practice we’ve had so far was short but intense, and with each day that passes we just try and push the intensity even more! Practice runs around 1hour - 1hour and 15min. We normally do some drills to warm up for about 15-20min and then we get right into randori after that we finish with about 20 throws. Also in today’s practice we had some of the Budo University players come out to train with us –Mike asked a couple of his friends that he knows from when he went to school here to come out to practice with us, so that was great. Although these players are not the top players in Japan, they are still great training partners for us to work out with. In Japan just the average Joe is still a great work out partner!

During my last round today I had my first injury of the trip – I was fighting a player from the Swiss team, and he went in for a Sumi(a throw), but a very poor entry and his knee ended up smashing into my chin, which not only made me see stars but split open my chin a bit, at least it as the last round for the morning. After Practice I was glued back together by our physiotherapist. Nothing too bad, just a little war wound.

Today for lunch we had some noodle soup, which was a nice change up from all the deep fried food and rice we have been eating. I really don’t know how they live so long over here on these diets; students pretty much live on 711 stores over here! Where everything is already pre-packaged, easy but I don’t know how healthy it is for you. The Japanese population also eats a crazy amount of rice. Whether its breakfast lunch or dinner they eat rice! And pretty much everything is deep fried! On top of that they hardly eat any veggies, and well fruit is so expensive I now know why people give oranges as gifts here. If you think we have it bad in Canada, think again. 4 apples cost about 12dollars, I won’t even get into how much oranges are, I saw a fruit “basket” for sale, which was around 200$ it consisted of some oranges, a couple apples, a grape fruit, and some other fruits. I think it would cost maybe 20 dollars at home, compared to the 200$ here in Japan.

Anyways after lunch I took a nap because I was pretty tired still. When I woke up we listened to some stand up comedy from Dane Cook.. so funny!! And then went for a 5km run as our 2nd workout of the day, after our run for some relaxation we sat in what they call a “bath” which is basically is – just a big hot tub without the jets, to let our muscles recoup a bit from the soccer and all the running we had done in the last couple of days. As for ping pong well we played a little bit after our run, I have only managed to beat Fraser once out of the million times we have played, I beat everyone else but for some reason Frazer is the man. For dinner I had some scrambled eggs and bread. We actually met a new BUG at dinner tonight - the massive Beatle, kinda looked like a dung Beatle, but WAY BIGGER!! anyways we have pics!! It has this massive horn type thing on its head, and actually flys.. either way it was a pretty crazy looking bug.

After dinner we were suppose to play some poker but everyone is to scared to play me, or at least thats what im saying. Anyways we just hung out in our rooms, not much to do around here, starting to get bored – but the week has defiantly flew by! A couple more days and we will really know whats its like to be an Olympian. Olympic village here we come.