Monte Gordo, Portugal
Saturday 28th July 2012

After the years, months, days & hours of waiting, last night finally heralded the start of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Whilst London partied, the athletes & athletics support staff of Team GB had our own “opening night” in our holding camp in Monte Gordo, Portugal.  Starting off with a team meeting, followed by a team photograph, the rest of the evening was a melee of banter, photographs & mingling that cemented the bonds that have been forming throughout our time here.

Whilst we missed out on the opening ceremony, that meant that we avoided the reported 6 hours on our feet that many of the competitors endured, the subsequent disruption to sleep & training, in addition to the detrimental effects on the body of standing for such a prolonged period.  These factors matter when it comes to preparing an athlete for the best performance of their life a few days down the line.

When people found out that UK Athletics had decided to organise our holding camp here in Portugal, many questioned the wisdom of travelling abroad when the Games were on our doorstep.  However, my initial suspicions have been confirmed, in that the ability to escape the goldfish bowl & quietly get on with the last few days of preparation, have been priceless.  The camp has been relaxed, low key & as a result, the absence of any apparent stress has brought the team together, despite the many newer faces amongst the squad.

Egos have been parked, rivalries paused & the restraint displayed by the media even ensured that the possible obstacles that can occasionally be thrown in the way from this source have been easily avoided (with the exception of the details of our “top-secret” location being broadcast & consequently the security tightened).

From here, the athletes will head back to the UK & directly into the athlete’s village around 3 days prior to their first competition.  The benefit of our Portuguese location being that there is no time difference to negotiate & the flight is easily manageable without too much disruption to the daily routine.

The photos below are just some of the many taken last night that illustrate the mood that is gracing this group during our stay.

Oliver Finlay; Perri Shakes-Drayton

Adam Gemili; Michael Afilaka; Oliver Finlay

Andrew Osagie; Oliver Finlay; Lynsey Clark; Andrew Pozzi; Jack Green; Lawrence Clarke

Robbie Grabarz; Oliver Finlay

Chris Tomlinson; Oliver Finlay

Oliver Finlay; James Ellington

Katarina Johnson-Thompson; Oliver Finlay

Perri Shakes-Drayton; Yamile Aldama; Andy Turner

Dwain Chambers; Annyika Onuora; Christian Malcolm

Lawrence Okoye; Oliver Finlay

Tiffany Porter; Shana Cox

Yamile Aldama; Jess Ennis; Goldie Sayers; Robbie Grabarz

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