London 2012 Olympic Games – Lynne Beattie
Making History – Making memories – Creating legacy
A lot has happened since my last update… Its now October, just over 2 months since our first match at the London 2012 Olympic Games… an event which I have devoted my life to, over the last 6 years.
You may think 2 months is sufficient time to allow the reality of the dream to sink in, but the truth is, I don’t think it has yet. There has been talk amongst the team that we are now Olympians, but do I really appreciate the enormity of what we have achieved? At the moment the answer is no….
What I do know is that I have achieved my lifelong dream…I am an Olympian.
Not only that, I got the amazing opportunity to compete at an Olympics on home soil. This is an honor that very few people will ever get.
Oh and I forgot one minor detail. We finished in 9th position, higher than 3 extremely established volleyball nations, as a result of a colossal win against Algeria, who at the time were ranked 53 places higher than us in the world rankings… This was a dream come true.
What we have achieved.…
So not only did we compete at an Olympic games against the best teams in the world, in front of a home crowd, but we won a game. We had put ourselves in a position to qualify for the Quarter Finals. All that remained in our way was a win against Italy, Dominican Republic or Japan – 3rd, 4th and 9th in the world, respectively. Unfortunately we were unable to get the win we needed, but we sure gave it everything we had and can be so proud of our performances. To compete on this stage like we did, from where we have come from and the journey we have had, was an enormous achievement. We have no regrets…
Not only did we succeed on the world stage, we have undoubtedly put British Volleyball on the map, warning other volleyball nations that we are a nation to look out for in years to come.
We have been inundated with compliments from all sorts of people… our families, GB supporters, Volleyball enthusiasts, established volleyball nations, and very admirably, the FIVB president… not only for our professionalism, passion and perseverance throughout our journey, but most importantly for our volleyball. We had displayed a style of play and a quality that other teams took notice of and we had showcased our sport and inspired our nation to play volleyball.
Was it everything I had imagined?
Everything…. And more!
In the years leading up to the Olympic Games, so many thoughts went through my head about what it would be like at the Olympics, how it would feel pulling on the GB shirt, walking out onto court in front of 15,000 home fans and what life would be like after it was over…
It is a day I will never forget… the sun was shining as we made the journey South to the Olympic Village from the Team GB Holding Camp in Loughborough. There was a nervous excitement in the air. Of course there were the usual exchanges of banter on the bus, but definitely a few butterflies. As we drew closer, the Olympic stadium appeared on the horizon. This is the moment when it became real. We had finally made it to the Olympics.
Our cameras were out and we couldn’t take our eyes off what stood before us. Some team members even admitted to ‘needing new legs’ because they had gone weak at the prospect of arriving at the Olympic Village.
After successfully making it through the fortress of security on the perimeter of the village, we pulled up at the Welcome Centre of the village, stepping off the bus to an inspirational sign that said “Welcome to the Olympic Village”
We were warmly welcomed to the Olympics and ONE TEAM GB by Sir Clive Woodward and other staff from the British Olympic Association, who presented every player with a pendant, engraved with their unique selection number on the back. (Each athlete had a number corresponding to the order in which they were selected to represent Team GB at the games). This was a very touching moment, and something to treasure for the rest of our lives.
We had one week to adapt to life in the village, before our big day… Game One of the London 2012 Olympic Games v World Champions – Russia.
You might ask what sort of things we had to adapt to; well for a start, everything in sight was free…that’s right EVERYTHING. To get anywhere at the Olympics, you had to wear your accreditation. This was a security pass, which confirmed who you were and to where you had access. You could not go anywhere without it, so it became our new best friend for the duration.
There were coffee huts on every corner, and you could literally walk up, order a coffee and not have to pay a penny. In the dining hall you could walk up to a fridge and take as many refreshments as you wanted and not have to pay a penny.
Vending machines whether it be, for water, coke, smoothies, anything you wanted… you didn’t have to pay a penny.
After the journey we have had, where money has been of great significance to us, this was a nice treat for sure.
Other things to adapt to would include seeing your favourite sport star while walking down the street, waiting for the lift or sitting at the next table to them at lunch. I would have to say my favourite star spot would have to be meeting Sir Chris Hoy as he went to do his laundry…
Life in the village was amazing. Everything you could possibly need was there on tap. But the settling in stage could only last a few days – we had some big games to prepare for.
I had always thought that I would never be able to sleep the night before the first match and I had always wondered how I would feel when I woke up on the morning of our first Olympic match. Of course I was excited, but I slept like a baby and I can honestly say I have never felt so calm… that was until my roomie decided to come and jump on my bed and shake me saying “its time to become an Olympian” I don’t think she was quite as calm as me J Different people react in different ways to excitement, but I knew we had done everything we possibly could to be the best we could possibly be… I knew we were ready.
And so to Earls Court, the Indoor volleyball venue for the London 2012 Olympic Games. A few days earlier we had a familiarization day there for a training session and some media responsibilities. I had never seen anything quite like it in my life. The sheer enormity of the arena was immense with the Olympic rings standing poignant in the top corner of the stands.
Nothing could prepare you however, for the moment a few days later when we walked down the players’ tunnel and out into the cauldron of 15,000 home fans, screaming ‘Go GB”. This is undoubtedly one of my favourite moments of the Olympic Games…I will never forget the feeling of the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end as we were marched onto court, Union Jacks waving in unison, and people screaming for us.
Just before we walked out onto the court, a thought flashed into my mind… it was of us arriving at Earls Court on our bikes after our mammoth fundraising cycle from Sheffield. This was the moment we had fought for. This is what it was all about; there we were, on the verge of our dream.
When that first whistle blew, we went out all guns blazing. Russia didn’t have an answer for us. They were in a state of shock and it was just the start we wanted. Towards the business end of the set, the scores drew close, we were playing the best volleyball we have ever played and you would think we had played in 5 previous Olympics the way we took to the occasion. Unfortunately despite a strong start, the experience of the World Champions, proved too much for us. It was always going to be a difficult game to win, but we had more than showed what we are capable of. It was an amazing start to our Olympic campaign and gave us so much confidence going into a crunch match against Algeria in just 2 days time.
I won’t go through every match we played, but I feel it important to relive the Algeria match…
It was the one late night match we had, due to start at 10pm. As we warmed up on the preparation courts, we were notified that the game before us had gone to 5 sets, which unfortunately meant we would be delayed. This was a nerve-wracking time, because you didn’t know exactly what time you were due onto court. Preparations became slightly altered, having to fill time that normally you wouldn’t have to even consider. You didn’t want to do too much, but you had to make sure you stayed warm and ready to play.
Eventually that time came. Again we were marched out into the cauldron of home support. The first ball was served at 10.45pm…we were off! Algeria was the team we had the best chance of getting a result from, despite them being ranked 53 places above us in the world. We didn’t get off to the ideal start with Algeria taking the first set. Into the second set, our nerves had vanished and we were playing more freely, starting to play the volleyball that we are capable of.
We leveled the scores at 1-1, with a convincing win in the 2nd set. Unfortunately we could not sustain this level into the 3rd set. Algeria sensed this and took advantage. We had lost momentum resulting in Algeria taking a 2-1 lead. It was now all or nothing. If we were going to win this match we would have to go to a 5 set thriller. This is where we began to shine. Our passion, determination and will to win exceeded that of Algeria. We wanted it more and this showed. Our volleyball became too powerful and too smart for the Algerians to handle, allowing us to take the 4th set convincingly. The scores were level once again at 2 sets all. It was down to a fifth and final set, first to 15 points.
This page contains the newsletters from Lynne Beattie – our adopted Olympian. Lynne was a former pupil and former head girl at Mearns Castle ands is now the captain of the British Women’s Olympic Volleyball team.
During our summer of preparation matches, we were lucky enough to have come out on top in every single 5 set match that we had played. This was in our favour and it was our Libero Maria Bertelli who reminded us of this as we lined up to start the 5th set. We hadn’t lost a 5 set match all summer, so we were not going to lose this one.
The rest is history… literally. We went out firing, we showed superiority in spirit and in skill… we won the match 3-2 at a time of 12.47am.
We had made history. We had done what nobody believed we could do. We had won a match at the Olympic Games.
Actually this was my favourite moment of my Olympic experience.
Words cannot describe how that moment of victory felt. Yes, we did not perform at our best, but we had persevered, battled and dug deep for a win that would mean so much to not only us as a team, but also to our families and friends who have supported us throughout our journey…
It also proved to be an important win for our country and for our sport.
People sat up and took notice of our match. Some people that had never even heard of volleyball, stayed up until the early hours to watch the outcome of our match. We had showcased our sport and we had captured the nation. This is legacy!
The look of delight on every one of my teammates faces after that result is something I will never forget. This had made all the hard work and pain worth it.
Scanning the crowd to find my family and friends who had made the journey to support us and see the joy on their faces was a magical moment. I climbed the rails for a celebratory hug from my mum, she handed me the GB flag and I paraded the court proudly with that flag, thanking all the fans that had stayed until the bitter end.
What a moment… what a memory!
It is really only when I sit down like I am now and think about what we have achieved that it begins to sink in. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to live my dream and to represent my country at the greatest sports stage on earth. It wasn’t an easy journey, but competing at the Olympics is not meant to be easy, otherwise anyone could do it.
I feel proud to have achieved what I have as an individual, but I am even more proud of what we have achieved as a team. For me, the journey has been the reward for achieving what we have. It really has been an amazing 6 years. I have had the pleasure of working with so many amazing athletes and coaches, who have all made an invaluable contribution to our success.
They are all now lifelong friends and will always be people I have shared my dream with.
Having said that, I hope the journey does not end here… I have just moved out to Switzerland to start the new season with my new Team VFM in the top League. I hope to continue my development as a player and use the experience I have gained from the Olympics to help my team to victory this season.
As a team, we have showcased our sport, caught the attention of the nation and now we have the task of maintaining the interest in the hope that Volleyball in Britain will now grow and grow.
It is because of people like you that our Olympic Journey has been so successful, so for this I want so say a massive thank you.
I really hope that you have enjoyed hearing about my Olympic journey and that I have inspired some of you to take up volleyball. It really is the best sport in the world….
Team GB’s newsletter about their Olympic experience
The British Volleyball Association have release their latest newsletter about the Olympics. Click here to go to the newsletter.
20 days to go…
So much has happened since my last Olympic update. With every day that goes by, the excitement rises. I write this e-newsletter with 20 days to go until our first match at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The final 12 have now been officially selected to represent Great Britain at London 2012… We are ready to take on the world!
I am very fortunate to have been selected as the Captain of the team and feel very proud to lead my team in a competition that is considered to be the greatest stage in sport. Not only that; it is a chance to compete on home soil; in front of a home crowd…this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The day that the official announcement was made by the British Olympic Association was a pretty momentous day. It began with the team being introduced to certain members of the British Olympic Association who presented every team member with our official selection letter. There was then a press conference to make the announcement of the team to the world. It was on this day that we were allowed to put on the Team GB tracksuit for the first time. When I pulled on the tracksuit designed by Stella McCartney, a tracksuit that I had only previously seen on TV or the internet, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. To wear the Team GB crest and Olympic rings on my back was amazing! It was official… I was going to the Olympics!
Despite the joy and elation that myself and the other selected players are feeling right now, we cannot forget the players who narrowly missed out on their dream – a dream they have been working so hard to fulfill for over 5 years. Losing teammates and friends along the way has been one of the hardest things I have ever experienced in my life, but unfortunately this can be the cruel nature of sport.
Now that the Team had been announced, it was our turn to get kitted out! For anyone who has a soft spot for shopping…this can only be described as the most amazing experience EVER! We attended the Team GB Holding Camp at Loughborough University to receive our quota of the specially designed Adidas kit. Each player and member of staff was allocated their own personal shopper, and we got to try on every item of clothing, specially tailored to meet our needs. There was t shirts, jackets, polo tops, shoes, flip flops, sunglasses, hats, shorts, trousers, village wear, training wear, competition wear…you name it, we got it. It was every girl’s paradise, a maze of clothes rails and shoe racks, where 3 suitcases awaited you at the conclusion.
So now we were an officially member of Team GB and had the kit to prove it. What awaits us now is the ultimate challenge; a challenge that no British Indoor Volleyball Team has ever tried before. When we step onto court on the 28th July 2012, we will be making history for our sport. We are working tirelessly in the gym, on the court and off the court to ensure that when we step onto court, we are the best we can be and we achieve the goals we set out to achieve at London 2012.
To be sat here today, just 20 days away from our first Olympic match, I am really looking forward to being face to face with the best players in the world and firmly believe that we, the Great Britain Women, can cause an upset at London 2012. We are undoubtedly the underdogs of the tournament, but after the journey we have had, with the players we have and with the home crowd giving us that extra energy and inspiration, I believe we will be the surprise package at this Olympic Volleyball Tournament.
I hope you all enjoy the Olympics, wherever you are watching from, and I thank you all for the amazing support you shown our team to get us to this stage!
We have just received the latest ‘Supporters Newsletter’ which we hope you will find interesting.
This newsletter confirms the pools for both the Men’s and Women’s volleyball competition at the 2012 Olympic Games, gives a brief summary on the GB Women’s successful tour in Finland, along with a guide to volleyball
BREAKING NEWS…With “pools” confirmed last week for both the Men’s and Women’s volleyball competition at Earls Court, this week the match schedule was announced by the FIVB, in Lausanne, Switzerland. So now you can check to see when the GB teams are playing – and hopefully your tickets will match up! Click on the links below for all the news.
London 2012 Women’s Schedule: http://www.fivb.org/en/olympics/london2012/scheduleVB-W.asp
London 2012 Men’s Schedule http://www.fivb.org/en/olympics/london2012/scheduleVB-M.asp
GB Supporters’ Newsletter – June 2012
Before I begin my most recent e-newsletter, reporting on my journey to the Olympic Games so far, I first want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved with the Adopt and Olympian initiative. Your support has been overwhelming and means so much to us all on the GB Women’s Volleyball Team. Your generosity and support will play a huge part in our success as a team next year at the London 2012 Olympic Games, so for this we thank you!
I have made a short video-clip in honour of the support you are giving me and the team… Below is the link to the video. It is unlisted so will not appear publicly on YouTube, but anyone who receives the link can access the video. (please let me know if you have any problems accessing the video and I will try find another way to get it to you)
As you will see, I am by no means a film maker, so it is very basic, but i hope you enjoy it!
Please read below to find out about the recent goings on in my life as a professional volleyballer…
E-Newsletter 6 – “Re-United“
My season in Gran Canaria has ended. I have returned home to the UK and have been enjoying a bit of rest and recovery at home in Scotland this week. However, this won’t last for long… I write this e-newsletter with 103 days to go until the London 2012 Olympic Games… there will no doubt be some big parties across the country this week to celebrate 100 days to go, but I will be celebrating for a different reason. Tomorrow I will travel from my home in Glasgow, to Sheffield, the GB training base, where I will be reunited with my GB teammates after 8 months apart. All 18 of us have been playing our volleyball all over Europe in order to become better players for this very summer, a summer where we will face the best teams in the world through the net and get the opportunity to live our lifelong dream of competing at an Olympic Games. I have been looking forward to this summer for a long time now and it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to share this journey with so many amazing people, players and staff included.
We get together tomorrow to begin our final phase of preparation for the Olympics. This will involve training twice a day every day, in order to get even fitter, faster, stronger and better as volleyball players. We want to make sure we are the best we can possibly be come 28th July, the date of our first Olympic match.
Although I have been working extremely hard over the winter and have had a very good season in Gran Canaria, there’s nothing quite like playing alongside my Great Britain teammates. Our team has a special bond, almost like a family bond. We are not just teammates, but friends as well. We have been together as a team for 6 years now, we know each other inside out and we have all been working extremely hard over the winter for each other. Only 12 players will be selected to compete at the Olympic Games, but it is the dream of all 18 of us and it has been since that the announcement was made that London had won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics.
It’s a very exciting time, but it’s also a very nerve wracking time as everyone wants to be selected for the 12, but unfortunately not everyone can go. We will be pushing each other all the way… because we all want success for each other and for the team.
I have returned from Gran Canaria as a better player in all areas. The challenges and pressures I faced with my team forced me out with my comfort zone and this has pushed me to new heights and will allow me to perform at a higher level than ever before for GB. I also had a leadership role within my Spanish team, which has helped me further develop my role as Captain of the GB team. This role was a very welcomed challenge for me. It allowed me to learn how to be the person that the team relies on to score and perform in pressure situations. I have faced huge blocks, big hits, tough serves, sometimes passing up to 50 balls in one match, and this is an invaluable experience that has only made me a better player both physically and more importantly mentally.
If every individual player has managed to learn something new and come back to GB 1% better, then that all adds up for the us as a team. I believe that we, the Great Britain Women’s Volleyball Team, can achieve our goals and will go to the London 2012 Olympic Games and show the world what we are made of…
I hope you have all had a great Easter. I look forward to letting you know how I get on as the summer of my life gets underway.
E-Newsletter 5 – “Just Around The Corner…”
The fact that it is the year 2012 is no longer a novelty. It is real and the London 2012 Olympic Games are now just over 4 months away. Every so often you get another wee reminder that the games are just around the corner…
You might have heard in the news this week about the launch of the Adidas kit that TEAM GB will be wearing at the games? This was a pretty exciting time and sent so many thoughts whizzing around my head…images of me wearing the kit, images of me and my teammates walking out, united, in front of a home crowd at Earls Court…in the kit!
When I think how quickly the last 4 months have passed, this reminds me just how soon the Olympics will be upon us. It’s a nerve-wracking thought, but it also fills me with so much excitement, that the moment I have been working towards for the past 6 years is almost here.
However nerve-wracking this thought may be, I write this blog with sheer confidence that as a team we will be ready for July and as an individual I am definitely ready. This is what the last 7 months have been all about for me as an individual. Every training session, every match, every touch of the ball, I have made it count so that I am ready for this summer.
The opportunity to play in Spain this year has pushed me to new heights. With 4 weeks to go before the end of the season, I feel that I have accomplished everything I wanted to as a player in order to be the best I can possibly be when I return to the UK to train with the GB team on the 16th April.
Our season has been a roller coaster ride of highs and lows with regards to match results. The first half of the season went really well for us, finishing the first round of matches as league leaders. However, we have had a few recent losses, which have seen us plummet to 6th position and fighting for a final 4 play off position, but we have not given up on that. Impossible is nothing!!!
Although losses are tough to take at the time, when you have a chance to reflect, it turns out that you learn the most from matches that you lose. I have learned so much from my season out here. The players I train with day in, day out, have taught me so much and hopefully I have taught them something too. This is the value of playing in a foreign league. You are exposed to different coaching styles, different players and different challenges, all of which can only make you a better player.
I am so grateful for this opportunity and look forward to putting everything I have learned and more into practice when I am reunited with my GB teammates in just a few weeks time. It will be so nice to play with players who share my goals and who are as deeply motivated as me to be the best they can be.
I look forward to letting you know how the season ends for me, and will let you know what it is like being back in the UK for final preparations before the Olympic Games.
I hope you all have a great Easter and enjoy a well-earned break.
GB Women’s Volleyball Captain
E-Newsletter 4 – 2012 is finally here
2012 is going to be an amazing year. It is a Leap year, it’s is the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and it is also the year that the world is supposed to end, according to the Mayan Calendar and John Cusack’s 2009 blockbuster movie ‘2012’. Oh yeah and another small matter of the London 2012 Olympic Games!
For me, with the London Olympic Games on the Horizon, 2012 is set up to be the biggest year of my life so far. It is the year that me and my fellow GB teammates have committed our lives to for the past 6 years and its’ the year that will see British Volleyball make history with the first ever British representation in the Indoor Volleyball event. There is no longer 6 years to go, there is just 6 months to go and although this is a daunting thought, I know deep down that we are ready!
Many people have asked me ‘what does it feel like now that 2012 is finally here?’ My only response is one of excitement and nothing else. With all the online reminders and photo updates of the Olympic Park, the daydreaming never really stops.
Since the turn of the New Year, the Olympic Games have become REAL for me. It has brought my dream of competing at an Olympic games to life and makes me even more determined to make sure I am there as the best athlete I can be.
As I train every day out here in Gran Canaria, I am making every touch of the ball count. Everything I do, both on the court and off the court, could help make me that 1% better which could make all the difference in a match at the Olympic Games. It could be the difference between winning and losing. This obviously means that some sacrifices have to be made, whether it be working 30 minutes longer than everyone else at the end of training or opting not to go to MacDonald’s at the weekend, but I know that it will all be worth it when I step onto the court at the Olympic Games!
I obviously have this huge dream to motivate me and drive me to get better on a daily basis. There are of course highs and lows of being an elite athlete. You can’t always play well and your body sometimes feels tired, suffering from the hours of training that you do.
If you want to push yourself to the boundaries of what your capable of, then these are the days that matter most and these are the days that you have to push through in order to get better. To help me through these days, I have my GB teammates who share the same drive and determination as I do. Although we are not playing together or even in the same country, we have SKYPE! Over the 6 years that we have been together, we have become really close as a team, so you do miss each other when you’re away from them for 8 months. We enjoy regular chats on Skype to catch up with each other, share some banter and also talk through volleyball issues that are important to us. It is really important that we are in contact with each other throughout the winter months so that when we are re-united in May, it will be like we have never been away and we can focus solely on volleyball and not having to worry about gelling together as a team again.
I am really looking forward to May and playing along side my GB ‘family’ again. But for now, there is still 3 more months of Pro-Volleyball to make the most of…
In my next update I look forward to telling you more about how things are going for my team in the Spanish Superliga.
Until then I hope you all keep updated with what’s going on in the GB Womens Team by visiting www.gbwomensvolleyball.co.uk or following us on twitter (GBRVolleyball) and Facebook (Great Britain Women’s Volleyball Team).
E-Newsletter 3 – Let the Season Commence!!!
A lot has happened since my last update a few weeks ago. I have now been in Las Palmas for just over 2 months and continue to enjoy life here. When I spoke to you last, it was still pre-season, and I was looking forward to the competition starting.
The competition has now begun!
My team and I are now 4 games into the league and I am absolutely loving every minute of it. Our first match was on the 19th November and saw us travel to neighbouring Canary Island Tenerife to play a team called Jampere Aguere. It was a tough opener for us but we went into the game with lots of confidence after a very good pre-season. What a Superliga debut for me! The venue was amazing, with a big crowd and the level of volleyball from both teams was very high. We won the game 3-1, a very good result away from home. I was very pleased with my performance and was delighted to be awarded the Most Valuable Player Award for the league on the opening week of competition.
Our second match was only 4 days later at home against a team from the North of Spain, Cantabria. We won easily 3-0 playing with a lot of confidence from the previous weeks win in Tenerife. Only 2 days later, we left Gran Canaria to travel to Murcia in the South of Spain. This should have been an easy win for us, but with the travel and difficult venue, we couldn’t be complacent. This game was my favourite so far. It was a 5 set thriller and had everything from crazy celebrations, dodgy referee calls and yellow cards. In volleyball we play best of 5 sets, so if after 4 sets the score is 2-2, we play a tie breaker set, first to 15 points! In the tie breaker, we found ourselves down 14-10, facing 4 match points, but we hadn’t come all this way to lose after 2 hours and 30 minutes of volleyball. We made an incredible comeback and won the set 17-15 and the match 3-2. This made the long journey home much more enjoyable!!! So 3 games played, 3 games won…we were unbeaten and sitting 2nd in the league.
That was until Saturday. Saturday saw us take on the reigning Superliga Champions Valeriano Alles Menorca, also the team of fellow GB player Janine Sandell. It was always going to be a tough match for us. Menorca are a very good team with lots of experienced, quality players so we were going into the match as under dogs. This meant there was no pressure on us, we had nothing to lose and everything to gain. It also makes it more interesting when you know someone on the other side of the net, so for me it was an important match to win. We definitely put up a good fight, but on the day Menorca were just too good. It was disappointing to lose, but we cant be too hard on ourselves as we have a had a very good start to the season.
We have 3 more matches before Christmas and we are looking to take the full 3 points from every match. Our next match is at home on Saturday. Playing at home is a huge advantage for us. We don’t have a big sports hall or a big crowd, but they are loud and very supportive, so it’s a good environment for us. We will take on Haro Rioja, a very good team who remain unbeaten so far. They will be full of confidence, but we have the power and the tactics to beat them. I am really looking forward it.
Talking about Christmas, I have a grand total of 3 days at home. I get to go home on 22nd December, but I must be back ready to start training on the morning of the 27th. This is not a lot, but I am very grateful for this because last year I had to train on Christmas day as I had a match on boxing day. This is the sacrifices you sometimes have to make as an elite athlete. If you want to make it to the top, some things have to give, and that is what we are all doing. Some of my GB team-mates are in this position this year and cannot make it home for Christmas. We are making sure that Santa visits everyone this year tough and have arranged a team ‘Secret Santa’ mission for everyone. This is just a bit of fun, but hopefully it brings a wee smile to the faces of the girls who can’t make it home for Christmas.
I have to be honest and say that I don’t feel very Christmassy yet. Christmas is my favourite time of year and for me means bitter cold weather, snow, dark mornings with Christmas tree lights shining and having to wrap up warm with my hat and scarf when I go outside. The climate out here makes it very difficult for me to believe it is winter. I even made some home-made soup today to help me, but it doesn’t quite have the same affect when its 25 degrees and blistering sunshine outside! Three days is not a lot of time when you are away for 8 months at a time, but it makes you appreciate your home so much more and I am really looking forward to Christmas this year.
Despite all the festivities going on around us at this time of year, it is crucial that we as players don’t lose focus of our ultimate goal. In just 230 days time we will be competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games and we have to work as hard as we can every day between now and then to make sure we are in the best possible shape to take on the best teams in the world next summer. The last 3 months have gone extremely fast, we are already almost half way through the season. It will be May before we know it and will be time to be reunited with our GB team-mates in our final preparations for London 2012. Although I am very excited about next summer, I do not want to wish time away. There is still a lot of work to be done and I am just enjoying the whole journey for now.
I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas. Enjoy your time off and I wish you all a very happy new year. The year 2012 is going to be a good one 😉
En Espagnol…….Feliz Navidad y feliz ano nuevo a todos!
In Spanish…….Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!
From Glasgow to Las Palmas Gran Canaria
A lot has happened since my first E-Newsletter!
Exactly 4 weeks ago, I packed my life into 2 big bags and moved out to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. This is the location of my new Volleyball Team, CV Las Palmas. I will play in the Spanish Super-Liga A1, the top league in Spain, and one I have always aspired to play in because of the high level and style of play. Gran Canaria is better known by the British public, as a summer holiday destination. However, I have come here for a very different reason -to experience some top level Volleyball and work hard towards my life-long goal of competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games next year.
I will be here for 8 months in total, training twice a day every day, giving everything I can to become a better player so that when I return home in May 2012 to the Great Britain Team, I am ready to compete against the best teams in the world, on the biggest sporting stage in existence.
Having been here for only 4 weeks, I am still settling in, but so far so good. The people are very friendly, from what I can gather – not many people speak English!!! The lifestyle, culture and weather is all very different from home, so it does take time to adapt, but I am here for one reason, and one reason only…to play Volleyball.
I am living in an apartment on the outskirts of Las Palmas, the main city on the island. I have a beautiful sea view from my bedroom window, which is very refreshing to wake up to every morning and my apartment is just a stones throw from the sports hall where we train everyday. I live with 2 teammates. One American and one Spanish. There are advantages of living with both. The Spanish girl doesn’t speak much English, so living with her will definitely help me learn Spanish. Some conversations we have resemble a game of Charades, but we usually get there in the end! I am very keen to learn Spanish, but it is difficult, without someone to guide you. A few nights a week, I have been studying my Spanish verbs at home and trying to learn some new words every day. It can be quite rewarding when you start to understand people. On the other hand, living with an American means there is someone I can speak English with, which is nice and brings a sense of normality to the whole situation.
I am the only British player on the team, but fellow GB teammate, Janine Sandell, plays for rival club, Menorca. We will play each other twice throughout the season, so I am looking forward to these matches. It will also be a great opportunity to catch up with a familiar face of someone who is on the same journey and has the same goals as me.
Being on an Island, means we will have a lot of traveling to matches away from home, either on different islands or indeed Mainland Spain. Luckily we will fly to all our away matches, which will take at most 3 hours. With previous clubs I have been subjected to 15-hour bus journeys, so although it is a lot of travelling, I would much prefer to fly! The opportunity to travel is one of the many things i love about this journey that i am on, so i cant wait to get on the road and experience different parts of Spain, a country i have only been on previous occasions, to visit the beach!!!
The Spanish Super-Liga does not start until the 19th November so we are still on our pre-season training programme. This involves working really hard in the weights gym to get stronger, faster and fitter as well as working intensely on the technical aspects of volleyball so that when the season starts we are in the best shape possible. My daily schedule consists of a 2 hour volleyball session in the morning, followed by a weights or running session. I then have a few hours in the afternoon to recover. Eating, Sleeping, (they call it a siesta here), whatever is necessary. I am then back in the sports hall for a 2-hour volleyball session in the evening. In total we probably train around 6 hours a day and we train every day of the week except Sundays. It is hard work, and some days your body wants to say no, but I thrive on the challenge and I know that I have to push my body to the limits if I am to become the best player possible for the Olympic Games next year.
I am really excited about the season ahead. The level of volleyball out here will hopefully push me to new heights and I am really looking forward to being re-united with Team GB next summer for our final preparations for the Olympic Games. But for now I am just enjoying the journey.
You can keep up to date with the team at www.gbwomensvolleyball.co.uk and I will be in touch soon with my next newsletter when I will have more to report as my season gets underway. I will also have some video footage for you as I film my journey as the Olympic Games draws closer!
Thanks again to you all for your generous contributions and support of the team. We really do appreciate it!
One of our former pupils – Jill Roche who was a member of the school volleyball team that won the Scottish Cup recently graduated as a doctor from Dundee University. Below is a picture of Jill running with the Olympic flame last summer