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Build up to the Rio Olympics – A Physiotherapists Perspective

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Motus Health physiotherapist Tamsin Chittock is currently travelling with the NZ Kayak team on their road to Rio.  Tamsin gives us some insight into how the team is preparing for the premier event.

What is the job?

Physiotherapist for Canoe Racing NZ- Elite Kayaking Team heading for Rio 2016 

Who is in the team?      

Lisa Carrington –WKI  

Marty McDowell-MK1

Jamie Lovett, Amy Fisher, Caitlin Ryan, Kayla Imrie- WK4

Gordon Walker –K1 Coach

Rene Olsen – K4 Coach

Paul Mcalpine – Biomechanist (Mr Science)

Where are you in the world?

For Elite athletes the adage of not doing anything you have not practised before the Olympics sees me split and travelling between two camps in Portugal with the WK4 and Spain with the K1s. These places have been chosen for their amazing water ie lakes that are flat and empty at 7am and then chop up a bit at second training at 2-5pm to replicate the wind conditions we think Rio will have. The temperature is around 30 degrees, a bit warmer than in Brazil, but similar in culture, food choices, daily patterns, language and people we will work with in Rio.

What is their training like?

Despite only weeks to go training is still hard, at least two sessions a day and gym strengthening. Again nothing that has not been done before but every session is targeted to give something to the athlete for their race. Every session is monitored for speed, stroke rate, distance and heart rate, so there is no hiding.

What does the physio do?

The normal model for physio is to fix injuries. Hopefully these athletes don’t get any new injuries, so my job is to help them tolerate the load they are under and improve performance. We try to work on maintaining and improving movement patterns needed, help recovery, identify unwanted responses to training, manage old injuries and feed back to the coaches. 

Other Challenges?

Being away from home and restricted to a small group when you are tired and sore is tough, no matter how beautiful the places we are in. Cards, guitar learning, game challenge days, baking, and barista skills are just some of the talents being perfected by these athletes for mental stimulation and relaxation as we make our way to the big moment.

You can follow the kayak team and all our Olympians at; www.olympic.org.nz

Back to my Spanish lessons- Buenas Noches and Buena Suerte!

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