Hello from South Korea,
We’re just a day away from the Opening Ceremonies for the 2018 Paralympics. The wheelchair curling team (five athletes, and six support staff) have spent the last few days in Incheon (a suburb of Seoul) acclimating to the time difference, getting on the proper sleep cycles, and of course practicing.
Five of us flew direct from Toronto, while the other six flew from Vancouver. Fortunately, the flights landed only an hour apart, and we were able to gather our bags, our gear, and find our transportation.
One thing that should never be underestimated… travelling for any three week trip requires a bunch of luggage. When that trip is to the Paralympics, and you need to account for all contingencies including those associated with wheelchair athletes, the amount of luggage doubles. Also, most wheelchair athletes need some assistance with their luggage… That’s when the added support staff definitely comes in handy!
We’ve been setting very small daily goals in the first few days. Day one was about little things like getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water, and being comfortable. Day two was about getting moving, throwing a few rocks, and being awake/asleep at the right times.
The idea is to start with baby steps, and build momentum. Our field includes 12 teams, so that’s an 11 game round-robin. This is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to be careful to tick every box along the way when it comes to preparation.
Over the first few days, we’ve had three practices at the SeonHak International Ice Rink, a facility with two full skating/hockey rinks, and a smaller rink with two sheets of curling ice. The first day we arrived, and the lights were off, and the rocks were on the side boards. I don’t think they remembered we were coming!
Fortunately, one of our guiding principles is making the best of the situation, and being adaptable and taking action. Within a few minutes, our pental performance consultant Kyle Paquette had all the rocks down on the ice, while our media attache Brian Chick was preparing the ice (it had recently been flooded and scraped and had ZERO pebble).
We made our practices fun and productive and everybody felt really good after three days in Incheon. Yesterday, the gang left Incheon, took the train the Pyeongchang, and are now getting settled into the Athlete’s Village.
We have a few team events before we start practicing Thursday, and we’re looking to build even more momentum before our games start on Saturday. Baby steps!!
Wendy Morgan – Team Leader