Earlier this year I was lucky enough to travel to Rio on the British Olympic Association’s Ambition Programme as part of Team GB to see what it is like to be an Olympic athlete.
We got to experience everything and it started at kitting out where we received our kit, which I had thought would just be a couple of shirts but turned out to be a whole suitcase! We were also treated to breakfast and a packed lunch by Gordon Ramsay on the plane as part of Team GB as we made our way to the prep camp in Belo Horizonte where our journey began.
The attention to detail really is incredible and it definitely gives our athletes that extra edge. They think about everything, even down to importing gym equipment from the UK so the athletes have kit they are used to. This will be left in Rio as a thank you [allowing Brazilians to have access to the kit] for letting Team GB use the clubs out there. This really made me appreciate what a difference the Lottery funding that our athletes receive makes to their final performance.
Our next few days were spent enjoying the sporting events that were on offer and we started in Deodoro watching the dressage. It’s always a privilege to watch dressage at that level and it was great to see our team in action. The following day we got to watch a couple of other sports in the Olympic Park starting with water polo before heading over to Copacabana to watch the beach volleyball. The beach volleyball was incredible, the atmosphere was simply amazing and it was cool to see one of Brazil’s favourite sports whilst we were out there.
We also got to visit the Olympic village and have a meal there in the food hall next to the athletes. Every Olympic athlete who had given us talks mentioned the food hall and how big it was and we discovered that it was the size of two football pitches. The scale of everything in the village was overwhelming! We also got to visit the ‘British House’ which is where Team GB go to celebrate medals.
It was amazing to be a part of that Olympic experience and if I was to get selected for a future Olympic Games it would be an absolute honour and I would feel confident that I could concentrate on competing.