2018 Olympics

Part Two: Village Life

We travelled from Seoul to PyeongChang in two full sized coaches, each with their luggage bays crammed full of bags. But with only around 12 of us riding up top we enjoyed chasms of space to stretch out, and the three hours or so of sprawling across seats and armrests flew by.

Our first view of the village was the huge security tent that greeted us as we got off the coaches. Our bags all needed to be scanned, so we loaded up trolleys and added them to the chaos that was developing. The Team GB staff and POCOG volunteers did a great job of maintaining some kind of order, and all of our bags made it around to our accommodation block for us to distribute throughout our rooms.

We were staying in apartment blocks with 4 rooms (two singles, two doubles) in each apartment. I was sharing a room with Jerry (king of snoring) in an apartment with two luge athletes and two of the bobsledders. We already knew each other pretty well and moved seamlessly into the role of flatmates.

To get to the food hall or bus stops we walked across the village, in -20 degree air, whilst trying to make sure our noses stayed attached. Even the warmer shortcut through the underground car park didn’t entirely stop all of our facial features from falling off. Thankfully the cold eased a bit before the opening ceremony, so we could venture furtively into the outdoor stadium without the risk of frostbite ruining our Games.

In the time up to my race my days were dominated by two things. The first was sliding, I quickly got into my usual groove of obsessiveness on lines and sled setups. Often caught staring into the distance during meals…I probably wasn’t much fun to eat with. I checked in regularly with Kristan too, our plan for setups to adjust and figure out was constantly evolving as the training days went by.

The second thing that was constantly on my mind was my adductor, as the race drew closer it didn’t seem to be making enough progress. One of our bobsledders, Toby, lent me some adductor support shorts at the start of the week to help it get through the training runs. They were sturdy shorts, with thick seams, if nothing else they at least kept it warm, and I used them throughout training. Apparently someone pointed out the seams on my bum that were raised up under my suit, thinking they were some kind of aerodynamic device. How wrong they were.

Every small ache or jab of pain in my adductor added to the worry in my mind. Even though the slow jogs I was doing off the top of the track weren’t painful, I had no idea how it would react when I pushed harder on it. And race day was getting closer at an alarming rate.