Belinda Smith, Olympic Physiotherapist
I fulfilled a bucket list physiotherapy dream in going to the 2016 Rio Olympics working as a tournament physiotherapist for the female athletes at the Tennis. The event so far has been unbelievable, starting with the opening ceremony with laser lights, Brazilian dance fever and an overwhelming Olympic spirit. Seeing all of the nations, especially Australia and our tennis athletes walk into the stadium was very special.
The Olympic Tennis event is held at the main hub of sporting venues during Rio. We have been lucky enough so far to see swimming, basketball, fencing and handball. The Olympics draws extra motivation and excellence from athletes in representing their countries. This is a great privilege and truly inspirational to be involved in. Our role as physiotherapists at the Games is similar to that on the tennis tour. We prepare athletes for play, treat any injuries and ensure good recovery after matches. We also attend the courts if an athlete is injured or unwell during a match.
An athlete receiving some treatment during a medical time-out at The Olympics
Prior to the event we managed to fit in some sightseeing and went to see Christ the Redeemer and Copacabana/Ipanema beaches. We were also very lucky to visit the Olympic Village, which houses thousands of athletes during the games in a self-contained mini-city. The gym is something to behold, with state of the art equipment and hundreds of machines for athletes to finely tune their performance. The treatment and recovery facilities are fantastic. These include onsite X-Ray, MRI and Ultrasound, optometrists, dentists, physiotherapists and doctors.
The Olympic Tennis Event Physio team
My time at the Olympics has been an experience of a lifetime. The Olympics are a special time where nations and individuals from all around the world come together to strive for excellence and show the true human spirit. Just participating is an achievement and will be cherished forever by all involved. Seeing the reaction of Monica Puig the new Olympic Champion in women’s singles truly defined what the Olympic games is all about.
Her elation and sheer emotion was a really nice thing to see and in a small way be part of. Experiences like these make the job even more satisfying and are an experience I will always remember.
I hope you too enjoyed seeing all these amazing athletes perform on the world’s biggest stage.
Until next time, take care, Belinda.