Monday, 25 February 2013

Backstage Olympics 3

Treats and Training

Tuesday 24th July 2012

Done our warm up and ballet to Adele, in the medical centre fitness gym (which impressed some male handball team members and physios watching) and had breakfast.

Photo COPYRIGHT Hannah Whelan

Photo COPYRIGHT Hannah Whelan

Saw the doctor Charlotte who helped us make a list of all the drugs we could have possibly taken for easy access if we get drugs tested at some point.
Went to the International Zone briefly and looked in the merchandise shop.Want to buy a LINKS Olympic Venue bracelet- they do an orange blue version that you can only get for a limited time and only in the Olympic Venues!

We are in 'Hello' magazine today!!! The now until 30th July edition. On a page with Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton. The National Portrait Gallery photo. LOVE. IT.

Us on the glossy Hello page underneath the future Queen!

Tried to call my dad (he's in France) from the Samsung shop earlier (you can call anyone internationally for free!) but he didn't answer so I left a message. He's in France, coming back just before the competition to watch us! Hope he isn't delayed or stuck, my mum is also abroad at the moment. He texted back just after I left the International Zone saying he's free all day now. Typical. Well, I've got two hours of rest 'til lunch then I'll go and try again.

Forgot to mention the Powerade key fob thingies we Olympians have, that work as contactless payment at vending machines. Saved ourselves about £50 already (maybe more) with the amount of drinks we have needed (usually around £3 each). They're really cool, but if we lose them we can't get another so that's a bit of a worry for the likes of me...

Picked up some innocent smoothies too, hooooorayyy! I was searching for them. I saw on the sides of bottles before the Games that they were going to be providing athletes with them in the Games, but they're not in the canteen, they're on tiny cart stands around the place that are sometimes there and sometimes not
Another privilege we've been getting without knowing- the ice machines we have that compress, ice and help our muscles turn out to cost thousands of pounds each!!

We don't even realise how lucky we are. 

There is a street BBQ place/ make-your-own baguette area/stalls of taster food from around the UK- just outside our block! (Our block is called 'Seaside' by the way). Cannot WAIT to go there! Had a tiny pot of smoked salmon from the Scotland stall which was yummy. Especially because I usually hate all fish.

Street food zone

That's our accommodation in the background
One of the stalls
Another stall
This is what we were allowed!
Poor Northern Ireland looked a bit lonely this day!

Don't think I mentioned where we are yet? My temporary official address is RAVENS WALK, SEASIDE 5, BLOCK B, FLOOR LEVEL 6, APARTMENT 30, BEDROOM C, BED BY THE WINDOW.
I think they are going to sell the apartments as expensive flats after the Games. If not they should do because with this location in the Capital City, this view out of the window, the history of having been used in the Games and the stylish interior I bet they'd be worth a lot.

I'm sat in the apartment lounge on my own, because everyone else is reading or texting or whatever in their own rooms but I'm sharing with Rebecca who is asleep (like she should be) in ours and I can't write in the dark. 'Superstar' is on TV on itv+1 in the background. This sofa is prettier than it is comfortable.

A photo from the day time  of where I am sat right now

Training was GOOD! I am elated at this fact not expectant of it, as I have prepared myself for the worst so in my mind good sessions are an added bonus and I will still be confident in the competition, even if some training sessions are terrible. I am especially happy right now because I felt tired and groggy and hot and yuck on the bus journey to the gym but I still managed to do all my tumbles and beam and bar routines! AND I DID MY DOUBLE ON VAULT. Phew. So I've done one now. That fear is a bit less so. It was a bit wonky, but I've done one, so whatever! Knee hurting at the end of the session so ice bathed and acupuncture-d, hopefully will be fine tomorrow.

Met Fred Evans and the other boxers in the ice bath room! Went to China with Fred in '08 for the Beijing BOA Olympic Experience/Ambition trip. Spent loads of time with him in Beijing, with Katie Moffat too- but he didn't recognise or remember me at all?!! Totally lives up to a clueless fighter image... Clearly the trip didn't impact him as much as it did me, or, being a boxer, he has had all the sense/memory knocked out of him! Better go to bed, it's getting late.

Tallest guy in middle wearing white cap= Fred.
Small girl next to him, to the right= Me.
Can't believe he totally forgot me!

P.S It was 31*C today! Lovely and sunny! Rubbish for training though.
P.P.S not only were we in 'HELLO!' magazine today but I was also on 'The One Show'! How cool?! :D
P.P.P.S Catherine Jenkins = wow. never heard her before but did today and she really is good. Right, now I'm going to bed!

Wednesday 25th July
Today is a blue shirt day. We have alternate blue/white t-shirt days. It doesn't matter what top we wear as long as it's the right colour for that day, so that all the GB team look the same. the annoying thing is, that we also have a red tank top which is really nice, and a red jumper! I have no idea why they are in the kit because there is NO red day. red day does not exist. In other words, we are not allowed to wear those items of Olympic kit we were given, at the Olympic Games?! Makes NO sense to us!

Good training today though. Didn't do my double on Vault but will do tomorrow on podium.

Had a photo with Bella Caroyli- Nadia Commeneci's coach!

Did a full floor routine. Ice Age is on TV. Had more acupuncture and ice baths. Nothing much else happened besides Rebecca getting overly excited about seeing Tom Daley. We were stood on our balcony looking down and waving to people, as well as enjoying the sun, and on a balcony below Tom and some other divers were sat out. I had just gone inside when Rebecca saw them and screeched to Hannah "Look! Look! Hannah! It's Tom Daley!". Obviously- considering we were outside, it was fairly quiet, and Tom was only a few floors down- he heard this and looked up, laughing, to see Rebecca turn bright red and run inside squealing! Did a bit more pin swapping. More people arrived - people who have competitions later on in the Games don't have to be here much before the start. We will be one of the teams which stays the longest in the Village. Some sports and countries will leave even before the Games have ended, if they have other tournaments or don't get into Finals! I'm glad we don't have that rule.

It's only THREE DAYS until the Opening Ceremony!!!!

Blog Four Coming Soon...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

OLYMPICS: Inside Insight 2

The second installment of my London 2012 Diary...........

.......Monday 23rd July

This morning we paid a trip to the 'International Zone' where there are LOADS of cool places like a photobook shop (must register!) and a salon. You need your accreditation to get in and out of the international zone even though it's still inside the park because it's one area where the media can get into. It was quite empty of athletes this morning because we're one of the first teams into the Olympic Village, so some volunteers (purple shirts) and journalists happened to catch me and Beth to talk about our 'first impressions' for the athlete newsletter thing, and we might be in that.

Took this photo of the view from my window. Love it! And it's SO sunny!

All I said was that we had just gotten here and I loved the fact that some of the other athletes seemed to have brought their country's sunny weather with them! Because it is GORGEOUS! Blue skies and HOT! We were sunbathing for a bit on the balcony of our apartment! Imogen is in another room opposite us on the corridor, and with the trampoline gymnast Kat Driscoll but came to ours (Me, Han, Bex, Beth) to hang out.

I am sharing a bedroom with Twiggy, and Beth and Hannah have their own rooms. I really like our little apartment already, it's cosy and homely and also stylish :)

Where was I? Salon. You can have free nails, beauty facials and makeovers, hair cuts and trims, or dramatic stylish hair cut changes, because we are athletes! Not just the GB lot, but all the athletes can get this, and they have a booklet which shows all the different country's flag nails designs that they can do. It's gonna be great in that final week, just gotta focus for the next 8 ish days, and try and forget about all the incredible perks. It's a suffering and a blessing having these opportunities, as we are tempted with all these options that could put us off from our training and the reason we are there- to compete!

Nails done at Olympic Salon
(Photo taken at later date than this post, after competitions ended)
Speaking of free stuff, we also got given a load of it on our beds when we arrived yesterday!

We got a bus shaped memory stick with some videos and information pre-loaded on, and another 'Pride the Lion' GB toy. The eyes freak me out a bit though. We got a white towelling dressing gown with TEAM GB on it of course, and a SUPERSOFT G.B blanket (that's my favourite, not that we need it in this weather!) Turns out we get to keep the London 2012 duvet covers after the Games too!! That IS awesome.

My bed
Free stuff!

Beth in her Room. Notice the GB teacup  in a box on her bed!

Been training now. Decided I hate the sun being in the gym because the halls are like greenhouses, it is SO hot in there! Even the Beams, Vault.etc store the heat in them which is just strange.
Floor is solid on your ankles but not too bad for bounciness. Vault run is soft but not sure yet about rest, fingers crossed will be good for my double (twisting yurchenko). Beams are nice despite being warm under your feet and bars I can't decide yet but I did 1 of everything (each skill) so should be fine... later I think doing a little more 'cos only did parts/basics this morning.

Going with Rebecca to get a drink, then training again! See ya x (18.06)
 p.s If we get a chance to leave the village at all I need to buy more blue tack to stick up the rest of my good luck cards, also dove moisturiser with gradual fake tan because I look so pale compared to everyone else, especially Imogen who tans practically instantly in the sunny weather at the moment, she looks like she's been in Africa for a year. Beth also tans pretty well. Rebecca and Hannah have already fake tanned so that just leaves ghostly me!


On the cute iPod shuffle that they gave to us in our kit there are pre-loaded 'ROARS' from the public, and one of them is under the title 'Ann Zhang' with a group of girls saying good luck. I wonder if it's the Ann Zhang that I know? Must ask her when I remember. Ann started gymnastics with me at my first ever club in Bristol, Fromeside.

Me and Ann (and my brother Jonathan)
at a balloon race outside Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre.
We were best friends outside the gym too!
We've only been here a day and loads of people have commented on the red trainers GB kit has! eg/ "We won't miss you in those!" and "Best trainers in the village!" :)

PIN BADGES. Thus far have swapped 1 with a Russian coach, for his pin badge, and a torch/keyring, but I didn't have any more to swap with after that, so Imogen got two!! -__- I'm going to put all of my GB ones on my accreditation and swap them from there so I've always got one to swap from now on.

AUTOGRAPH BOOK. Started that today. Got a load of gymnasts! Imogen drew a rude picture on the first page though, silly me giving it to her first! She didn't know it was to be a nice keepsake book. Typical Im! Gonna stick something over it so it'll be fine :)

Beth let me use her Dove thingy last night, in an attempt not to resemble 'Casper the ghost' (Amanda's description of me right now :( ). Determined to look like everyone else by Sunday!

Second session was good! (*phewwwwwww*) Did half routines, one step up from 'parts'/thirds we did earlier. SOMEHOW I finished first. This is most unlike me! I'm known for being late everywhere, last, and disorganised. It's not really fair, because no-one else is known for their flaws, but I can't argue with it.

Rebecca should be in bed right now but no-one's come around to check on her so she's just sat on her bed, munching a nature valley bar :) I don't think she minds being the 'baby' really. Yeah, she can't go out clubbing with us after the comps, and she gets checked on, but we all treat her the same as anyone and she is respected for her gymnastics like everyone else.

They're doing a dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony tonight so it looks incredible out the window at the moment, all lit up and changing colour, and a minute ago there was green smoke dramatically billowing out! I wonder what that part is? I bet it will be awesome. Ali (@alastair_little, Men's physio) said we might see some rehearsal fireworks tonight if we look out, unless we're already asleep by then.

Olympic stadium outside my window, looking great at night
The men's team arrived today, from France where they've been preparing. Went in their room for a bit and 'Taken' was on (great film). Danny P was in his dressing gown and the others were just wandering about/lying on the sofa in their boxers! JC'in. They said France dragged a bit so they're happy to finally be here today. They've not explored anywhere yet though. They've not seen Medical HQ (opposite us) which is so cool/techno and makes me feel healthy and looked after just standing in that building! Then there's The Globe games hut thingy which looks cool, the food court and the street food area (behind GB medical HQ)... they haven't even walked around yet. I told them about the salon too. They weren't interested? :P

Medical HQ

Ice bath room

Cool wall design

Sent James and Erika some pics off my phone, of our room, and a random decoration on the wall  in the ice bath room that is made up of messages from fans, that I thought was cool. They think everything looks amazing. That's because it is.

Everything's looking up right now, I hope it stays that way!

Better get ready for bed now.

Goodnight ^.^


Next Olympic Blog to be posted on March 1st

Saturday, 9 February 2013

The Other Side of the Olympics

This is the first in a series of exclusive posts, about the things you won't have seen on TV. An actual athlete experience. The exclusive beyond-security inside-village insight.
For everyone! For free! On my blog!
Of course, it is simply my personal experience, being the individual that I am and being part of the Great (by name and description ;)) British Gymnastics Team of London 2012. But since that is all I can offer, offer it I will. You already know about the routines, the scores, the medals. But whilst I may mention these triumphs, these series of posts will reveal the rest: arriving, training, eating, sleeping, travelling, pitfalls and perks. I have mentioned bits and bobs in various interviews since the Games but here it is in official post format.


Painting done by Twitter follower James W Smith.

Foreword- I wrote a diary of my Summer in a notepad given to me by Nila Benfield so that I would remember everything, considering the stereotypical goldfish standard of my memory capacity, but unfortunately the last few days of the Games were so exciting I only had time to write some notes on my laptop. These notes would jog my memory if I could access them; but my laptop has since withered and di--EXPLODED, thus taking those details with it to the grave. I will do my best to type up everything that I experienced, but apologies for any gaps or missing particulars.


Sunday 22nd July 2012- Coach.

DTN- (Drugs testing notes- if tested you need to know past two weeks information about anything you've taken or you could fail if you don't report it) - Had paracetamol yesterday for headache.
On coach to the OLYMPIC VILLAGE in Stratford.
Left Lil' (Lilleshall National Sports Hall, the training centre where we'd been staying) at 8am ish.

Lugged all my heavy red Olympic bags up the stairs from Kent block at half seven. It took three trips which was far too much effort for that time in the morning. Everyone got their stuff loaded on to the coach and we had photos and said goodbye to everyone who wasn't coming with us. This included Linda, the lovely pastoral care lady. As the bus was pulling away, all of the staff, even the kitchen staff and general Lilleshall staff, came out to wave us off, which made me quite excited, knowing this is the start of it all! Right now! Been watching Dirty Dancing with Rebecca but the screen is too small to properly enjoy it, so will carry on with that later. I'm excited to get there, but I'm tired too so gonna sleep now (Time goes faster that way anyway).

This is just where we dropped our bags. Lilleshall is v impressive.

Staff, ready early to wave us off

Trampolinists, coaches, pastoral care lady Linda, and more lovely waver- off -er- ers


Monday 23rd July 2012- The First Day

On the way to the Village, our final stop in a public place before we entered the Olympic zone and Olympian life!


DTN- Germolene for blisters on hands used.

Didn't have time to write yesterday because day got too busy & exciting to find time!
At the Village now, but let me fill you in on yesterday.

Rewinding to where I left off... the bus was really uncomfortable so I 'slept' for an hour then began to see road signs for Olympic traffic lanes and Stratford so stayed awake to spot them with my iPod shuffle in (the one we got in our kit! :D).

We stopped at the services once and Beth and Amanda bought these big union flag teacups which are supposed to be for putting plants in, but now that we're here Beth is using hers for her toiletries. I think Beth possibly has every Union Flag designed item available under the sun now, she's pretty patriotic and really likes our flag! To be fair it is a cool flag!

Amanda, pleased with her GB teacup purchase!

With so many of us, all in GB kit, striding into that service station- and just before the Olympic Games- we must have been quite a sight to see, and we didn't go unnoticed. One guy recognised Beth and asked for her autograph, and when we got back on the bus, a tiny crowd had gathered (only a few people those) to watch us get back on. Probably hoping to see someone famous and tell their friends. I liked the attention and it's made me even more keen for the Olympics to begin.


Nothing much else happened before we got here and the excitement died down as the drive was so long, until we were actually close. Oh- there was one thing. Because all of our team had a Twitter following, other than Imogen,  until very recently, Beth bet that we could get her up to 1000 followers, before we got there. We didn't think it was possible, especially since we only had half the journey left, and Imogen didn't really even know how twitter worked, but Beth had the belief to do it and so she, Hannah, Rebecca and I all tweeted our followers to the attention of it and somehow Imogen just made it!

She was helped by the fact that we were stopped and searched by the army (apparently everyone is) before we were allowed to enter. The army were really friendly and after doing their job, which was searching with their torches, and getting all our bags out and putting them in again, one guy shouted up to us "You lot have a ridiculous amount of luggage!" which we all know is true but it is totally necessary, honest. So with that extra time Imogen clinched the prize and, literally, as we drove under the barrier and into the Village zone, we refreshed the page and she went from 999 to 1002! Success. May it continue!

Rebecca pretending to enjoy a horrific ice bath :P

Just had physio and an ice bath which was PAINFUL!! But I called James and he was with one of our friends called Erika so that made it slightly better.

Bus to the gym is 18:20. I have time to catch up from our arrival to now I think. Let me try...

So we made it to the village at about 12 midday. Went through a whole loads of processes and checks to get into the real part of the village, and we got our accreditations, which I'm not going to lose. I've never lost mine before when we've had 'em but this is the most important one I've ever had! I put mine on my hand guard bag to be sure. We need our accreditation to get in and out of every area- so on the way in and out of the Olympic Village, on the transport, into the gym, into the competition arena. Basically you can't get anywhere without one.

After all of the entrance palava, were taken to our rooms. Our bags had already been brought up to our rooms for us (which was a relief) so we started unpacking which was a little difficult considering the amount of stuff we have and the size of the rooms. Eventually we went to dinner in the main dining hall. The main dining hall is enourmous but I thought it would be bigger than it is for some reason. Maybe it just doesn't seem as big when it's empty-ish but it will when all the athletes are inside. Not many of us are here yet. We sit on the blue seats in front of the 'Best of British' section. There are sections for all different kinds of food from around the world but we have to be careful until the competition is over- and then we can eat whatever we want to!! This includes unlimited McDonalds. :O.

The reason we sit in front of the Best of British section is so that if we're ever on our own we will have someone British to talk to, because all of the GB team has been told about it. Sounds like a good way to help us meet the other British athletes. Everyone we've met so far is really chilled and happy to be here. There really isn't many people here yet though. Found grilled chicken and salad for dinner, which is what I have usually, and it was nice but............... I can't wait to try some of the others things.

This is my list of wants-

  • Pizza
  • Indian/Curry
  • African section food
  • Pain au chocolat
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • McDonalds- everything, including the smoothies/milkshakes
  • Pancakes
  • Food from the BBQ stall
  • A Bacon butty and sausages
Must resist until after the competitions are totally over! They are way more important. I wish they were tomorrow, I've been ready for so long now! I just want to compete!

Google image-

Also in the dining hall, there's this area by the entrance where you can vote for the IOC (international Olympic Committee) candidates or something? We ran into one of them called Mu-yen when we were walking back to our rooms in the GB block, so I'll vote for him when I get the chance, and I had a read of the other candidates and chose Danka, James Tomlinson and Koji for the other three choices. (You have to choose four candidates, each from a different sport).

Unpacked a bit more after dinner then went to bed under our London 2012 Olympic duvets which are really cool. So that was the end of the first day, 22nd July.

My bed!

TODAY, the 23rd, besides training, we've been exploring....

To be continued

Remember the name

I now write for this blog too.

Here is my first blog post.
MINI life story alert!

Friday, 8 February 2013

***** TFIOS LIVE *****

(for those of you going to a TFIOS LIVE soon)

I was lucky enough to be able to attend John Green's The Fault In Our Stars book tour last night (Thursday 7th Feb 2013).

First of all, for anyone who also went to the Manchester event, THANK YOU for being SO SO SO SO AWESOME!! You were all so enthusiastic and welcoming and lovely ! I would have stayed for photos with those who wanted them but I had to go, plus I didn't want to take any glory away from the incredible John and Hank Green.

I love the book The Fault In Our Stars, it really touched me to read, and is now one of my favourite books. So I have so much respect for John for writing it, and I guess for people like Esther too, although I know the book is not about her. I also love the title, better than The Hectic Glow or Sequel! It was really interesting to listen to John explain some things about it, like where the character names originated from and how he came to write the book in the first place. Who would have known that some authors do think as much about each word they write as your teachers seem to think they do. ( I always thought that English teachers over-thought and dissected books and their meanings far too much but perhaps not with this one! it should be on a GCSE syllabus.) I felt like what Hazel should have felt like upon meeting Peter Van Houten  I guess. Questions answered, inspiration re-kindled
If you haven't yet read 'TFIOS', you need to.

I am so grateful for John and Hank allowing me to meet them and come on stage with them for Question Tuesday to ask the questions! (I felt like a superstar, especially when everyone cheered for me and laughed and stuff, like, WOW, I love you guys!!). I spend most of the time trying not to fangirl over the whole event and happenings because I was SO EXCITED (thought tried not to show it or I would have been jumping up and down and screaming. Or dancing...).

I was clutching the written questions from you all, to ask John and Hank, for the whole first part of the show, and shaking a little bit!! I'm even shaking slightly now, thinking about it! I'm so glad I didn't trip up going to the stage either. I mean, that would have been typical me... I tried to play it supercool, I mean, the fact that there were like 500 of you there (I don't know the number exactly but it looked like it) shouldn't have made me nervous because I've competed in front of millions at the Olympic Games! And I told Hank that (hopefully didn't offend him) but I really wanted you all to like me and I didn't want to let Nerdfighteria down! So I was slightly terrified beforehand, not going to lie!

My favourite Hank moments were Accio Dealthy Hallows, the Anglerfish song and the final proclaimers tribute. And his general entertainment.
I laughed SO much during the evening.

It was really cool how it was in a monastery too! All events should be done in such amazing venues. The wave of laughter from the front the the back of the seats, because of the length of the place and the echoes was reeeally cool. In my opinion anyway.

If you went last night, leave a comment saying how you found it!!


TFIOS Quotes

The world is not a wish granting factory.

I fell in love, the way you fall asleep- slowly, and then all at once. 

I'll fight it. I'll fight it for you.
I'll find a way to hang around and annoy you for a while

That's what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.

You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world.
but you do get some say in who hurts you

It would be a privilege having my heart broken by you

It's hard as hell to hold on to your dignity when the risen sun is too bright in your losing eyes.

I'm in love with you. And I know that love is just a shout out into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed, and that there will come a day when all our labour has been returned to dust. I know that the sun will swallow the only Earth we'll ever have. And I am in love with you.

There was never enough air in the world
but the shortage was particularly acute in the moment.

I prefer this to the blue cloud cover I think.