09 February 2014

Sochi Olympics Day 2 -Athlete Village

Nancy Sr. with USA pair skaters Marissa & Simon
9 Feb 2014 -by Nancy Sr.

Today was an off-day for Brian Hansen (Jeffrey and Nancy Jr.'s training partner). He races the 500m tomorrow. It is a warm up to his best races: the 1000m and 1500m, which he will race on the 12th and 15th of February, respectively.

Inserted by Nancy Jr.: For tomorrow, Brian will be racing the 1st 500m at 7:18am (6th pair) & 2nd 500m just after 9am CST. It will be streaming online at http://www.nbcolympics.com/live-extra, but you need a subscription unless you are on another site. Depending on NBC, they may show his race during Primetime later tomorrow night. Otherwise, live results can be found here: http://www.sochi2014.com/en/speed-skating-men-s-500-m-race-1-of-2.
Brian started out years ago racing every distance. Historically, the sport was organized around the All-Around World Championships, which includes 4 distances (500m, 1500m, 5000m, 10,000m) and the Sprint World Championships (2x500m and 2x1000m). Brian was good at all distances. But because the focus of the sport has gone towards "World Cup Single-Distance" competitions, we've focused in the last years on the 1000/1500m races only.
Yet interestingly, at one of the World Cup Qualifiers for this Olympics, Brian raced the 5000m and qualified a 3rd 5000m spot for the US team at this Olympics. It is very likely he could have qualified for 4 out of the 5 Olympic Speedskating distances, but we "threw the eggs in one basket" and have put all our focus on the middle distances, with of course a "metal" as the goal :)

Brian's forte is loving competition and loving to play. At the World Championships a few years ago, as the week unfolded before the competition was to start, it was announced that the famous Dutch competition skated on canals spanning the Dutch country called the Elfstedentocht (that hasn't happened for about 15 years because the canals have to freeze for this), could likely be pulled off that same weekend. Holland was desperately preparing for it, aiding the freezing of the canals as they usually do if it's to be a close call. Brian looked at me and said, "I want to do the canal race. I would miss the World Championships to try something that may be the only chance in my lifetime that I have to do it." The likelihood faded with increasing warm weather and I think the "play" in Brian faded with it :(

But it didn't take long for Brian and Jeffrey to start talking big about some more goals of the future, namely the Red Bull Crashed Ice (an insanely contrived competition on a course recreated at every venue competed at) where skaters on hockey skates leave a shoot and basically race each other, contact style , down a "bobsled type course". The thrill, of course, being the DANGER!
Well, back to reality...The Sochi 2014 Olympics...a dream that's come again for Brian.

Below, I've sent a few video clips (with captions describing them in detail) of the day in the athlete village. Nothing formal. And usually I'm deleting previous posted videos on my iPhone to make room for a little more to show you each day :)

Ok, another long day that has ended late. Need my rest before the first race day for Brian. Goodnight from Sochi, Russia.

Nancy Sr.

The USA Figure Skating Pairs couple, Marissa & Simon, practicing dryland in the Olympic Village fitness center. I was on the bike watching...

This is the lounge/eating area in the USA dorm where their nutritionist prepares and sets out additional organic/healthy snacks between meals or instead of the dining hall. 

Since we arrived on the 31st in Sochi, getting around the Olympic Village has been difficult as I think I've mentioned. It's not been good for the athletes because it tightens calves, shins, and fatigues the feet causing muscle, tendon, and ligament issues that will negatively affect performances. The Dutch team (mainly speedskaters) have always been ahead of the game, anticipating potential hindrances to high performance. Simply, they plan ahead. The Dutch actually have 2 bikes per person. The entire US team only has 30 bikes for a team of over 200, so most people have to walk, and far.

Well, after much complaining, the USOC went in to Sochi and purchased bikes for anyone who wanted to BUY them for $150. It was a no brainer, because when the Olympics are done, if you choose, they will be donated to an orphanage!!! PERFECT :)

And here I am leaving "down the hallway" in the USA dorms. I do not get to stay in the village, so I ride to a pick-up point (can't take the bike out of the bubble), and then get a shuttle to the hotel I stay at.

This is the lonely part, not because I'm alone, but because as a private coach, you aren't "a part of the team", and they don't hide letting you feel that... :(

There's a workout area in every dorm in addition to the Olympic village fitness center and the warm up training rooms in every venue. This is the one in the USA dorm. Brian Hansen was doing a bike/stretch session.

As I was biking today in the Fitness Center (Olympic Village), I (Nancy Sr.) try to watch and learn first hand, new ideas that either teach me a principle or I decide to use in my coaching cause I can see the value in action. It's much more clear when you observe over a period of time . 

I watched this girl doing warm-up drills for strength and speed and then caught a quick video of a well executed single leg snatch.

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