The modern Olympic Games debuted in 1896 in Athens, Greece. Opening day for the modern world’s 30th Olympic Games will be July 27, 2012 in London, England.
For two weeks and two days, 204 countries from around the world will send over 10,000 athletes to compete in 300 events in 39 disciplines in 26 sports. Each athlete will compete to join the 26,513 past and existing Olympic Medalists from all over the world.
From birth to early childhood, these Olympians separated themselves from the pack by demonstrating exceptional talents for athletics long before reaching puberty.
Each athlete that makes it to the Olympics has put his or her body to the test. From strenuous and rigorous training schedules, diets and rehabilitating from serious injuries, they have all lived a life focused inside and out on qualifying for the greatest worldwide competition in human history.
These athletes began with a dream, held onto it every single day and will now enter the pantheon of legendary performances.
Not a single athlete has qualified for the Olympics without training hard, getting hurt and taking care of his or her body to optimize performance. Here are a few of the most common obstacles and routines these athletes follow.
Most Olympic athletes will train for one to three hours, two to three times per day, six to seven days per week. This includes strength training, conditioning, cardiovascular and sport specific drills. For example, a swimmer may swim twice a day, but then three days per week add a weightlifting session and two days per week add a run.
More than three days on break can throw off a training regimen when an athlete is in season. Breaks are for when the Olympics are over and a bit of a rest is in order before gearing up for the next competition.
The US Olympic team has access to the United States Olympic Center (USOC) in Colorado Springs, Colorado for portions of their training leading up to the Olympics.
Many, but of course not all, Olympic hopefuls in certain sports may live or visit the USOC to train. Triathlon, Fencing, Gymnastics, Pentathlon, Wrestling, Shooting, Track & Field and Weightlifting are supported at the USOC.
In the US, Swimming and Diving athletes train with United States Swimming or United States Diving certified coaches at their preferred locations. Most of these coaches either run large ‘club’ teams and/or coach NCAA teams.
Four-time Olympian Troy Dumais is still training with University of Texas coach Matt Scoggins, 10 years after graduating. Scoggins also coaches Longhorn Aquatics at the UT facilities in Austin, which is Dumais’ official affiliation.
Many athletes in particular sports travel to camps to group together under their official coach for the Olympics. This will give the athletes a chance to polish their final technique and get used to the designated Olympic coach before heading to the big Games.
Training for the Olympics is a full time job. Each athlete takes part in a training program that is the main focus of their life until they complete their final event at the Games.
For athletes, the inside of the body is what counts the most. How well the human body can operate depends a great deal on what nutrition is used for fuel.
The UK’s men's heavyweight rowing team ingests about 6,000 calories per day. They train three times per day and need a lot of calories to give them energy. Six thousand calories is three times the recommended caloric intake for the average person.
Turkey’s Taekwondo competitor Nur Tatar claims to eat about 1,500 calories per day. She is trying to make weight for a specific weight category in the Olympics, so she is restricting her calories before competition.
Merve Aydin, another Turkish Olympian, will run track in the 2012 Games. She eats about 3,000 calories per day, including a lot of nuts and seeds.
Fatih Avan, Turkish Javelin, and Mete Binay, Turkish Weightlifting, both consume around 3,500 calories a day including a lot of lean red meat and milk.
Olympic level athletes take great care with their diets. Many of them visit nutritionists and follow strict instructions from their coaches, especially right before competition.
Recent research suggests that female athletes are more likely to get injured than male athletes. Dr. Yang Jingzhen, associate professor at the Injury Prevention Center at the University of Iowa, and Tracey Covassin, certified trainer from Michigan State University, looked at 1,317 injuries from 573 male and female athletes in 16 NCAA Division I sports. They discovered that nearly 30 percent of injuries are from overuse and women were twice as likely to have overuse injuries than men.
This didn’t stop the girls from competing! Only about half of the time would any of the athletes take the bench due to an injury.
An athlete may view a sprained ankle as negligible, but there are serious risks for certain athletes. Recent news about sudden cardiac arrest affecting seemingly healthy athletes is worth noticing. On April 30, 2012, 25-year-old Norwegian Olympic swimmer Alexander Dale Oen died in the shower after practice from sudden cardiac arrest.
Recent attention on the International soccer scene has brought to the surface the abuse of painkillers by soccer players. Dr. Jiri Dvorak, Federation Internationale de Football Association chief medical officer, has publicly stated his concern over the painkiller abuse by soccer players.
At the last World Cup, 39 percent of ALL soccer players took painkillers before every single game. The players are taking painkillers to prevent injuries, be able to play longer and mask the pain of existing injuries.
Many athletes will not compete in the 2012 Olympics due to injury. There is a possibility that some of them may have a shot in 2016, but kudos to those choosing to take care of their bodies even if it means sacrificing their dreams.
Miami Heat Forward Chris Bosh, just announced he will not be taking his place on the US Olympic basketball team due to an injury. Fellow teammate, Dwayne Wade, will also opt out due to knee surgery.
There is no doubt that there are incredible risks associated with playing a sport, especially at the elite level.
The Olympics is a magnificent event that inspires future generations of athletes to push themselves to the limits day in and day out in the hopes of one day making it to the final round. Safety, health, good nutrition and proper training are a lot to balance in life. dailyrx.com would like to congratulate all of the Olympic contenders headed to the 2012 Games on their hard work and success. Good luck athletes!