2012 was a huge year for sport in the United Kingdom, with London hosting the Olympic and Paralympics games the world would be able to watch the worlds best athletes from all different types of sports compete at the highest levels. London was not the only city in the UK to be hosting Olympic sport. Coventry hosted Olympic football at the City of Coventry Stadium.
An athlete’s village was set up just outside of Coventry where players and team officials could base themselves and prepare for each game at Coventry. As part of hosting the games LOCOG assembled highly qualified professional to provide medical assistance to the teams during their stay at Coventry.
Richard Watson was given the role of Lead Sports Therapist during the Olympic Games 2012. Richard provided sports massage treatments to the many football players who competed at the City of Coventry Stadium. Richard worked closely with the South African and New Zealand women’s teams during their Olympic campaign, while also working with many of the other teams that were based in the midlands.
With the excellent work Richard provided during the Olympic Games Richard was asked to travel to London to provide the same level of skills and treatment for the Paralympics Games. Richard Watson worked in the athlete’s village London where he administered sports massage therapy to the huge amount of athletes that passed through the doors of the polyclinic in the village. Richard was on hand to prepare athletes for competition and also to relieve built up muscular tension. Richard Watson worked closely with the paralympians in dealing with their difficulties ensuring they were at their best for each event.
Comment from Richard Watson
“It is easy to forget that these athletes require a backroom team to enable them to compete at the highest level. I felt honored to treat all the athlete’s that came to me, as always I made sure I gave them the best treatment I could deliver while also making them feel at ease and welcomed to my home city and country."
My Personal Journey.
It was an incredible journey and experience I will never forget, being involved in the Olympic and Paralympics Games is the pinnacle of my career, you are part of the biggest sporting event in the world. My journey started long before the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games in 2012. Almost two years before in fact, after an initial interview I was offered the role of sports massage practitioner. The next year consisted of several starts traveling down from Coventry to London for seminars on the stadiums, our roles, and the huge number of test events that London was hosting to prepare for the 2012 Games.
I was given the role of sports massage therapist at the ISSF World Cup (shooting competition) in London as part of the London prepares series; I was able to provide treatment to several world class athletes during my time at the event while also getting an idea of the scale of what was happening in London at the time. Several other training events came and past and I was now prepared to be part of the biggest sporting event in the world.
I was based in Coventry, my home city, where Olympic football was being staged, and the football campaign kicked off several days before the opening ceremony in London. In fact my time started a full week before a ball was kicked, teams and players need time to prepare and required treatment straight away, the football season had only just finished for many and they were coming to the games already carrying injuries. It was a busy time providing massage to the teams and I worked closely with several of the teams making sure they were at there best before each game.
Experiencing the games from a professional side was amazing; it was great to be part of a team of different medical staff in Coventry while also working with many other sports massage therapists in London. To see and be part of the side the public never see will stay with me for ever, experiencing the both athlete’s villages in Coventry and London was great, both of them were different in so many ways.
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