Track and Field Meeting

As the pool in the academy was not filled with water, we were able to have 2 beach days, so today we were off to the beach again!

After a couple of hours at the beach, we went back to the campus for a Track and Field Meeting where we would have 1.2km run, 60m sprints, tennisball throw and long jump. As I unfortunately still could not do any more sports, I signed up for the tennisball throw, although I really am not good at this at all.

Overall it was another fun event that was organized for all the participants, but everyone was very tired after the beach and all this sun and the sport. After the track and field meeting, everyone had time to rest up a bit and get ready for the evening.

We had different participants performing either dances, songs or music. It was another great evening with great people.

 

xo

Florence

Pool Day

Efficiency definately pays off at all times! 🙂

The day started like every day with sports activities in the morning where I did my rehab programm, followed by breakfast and a lecture by Prof. Dr Nikolay L. Peshin from Russia who talked about Power and Governance in Sport.

After the lecture, we were supposed to go back into our discussion groups and continue discussing our topics, but because we were so efficient the days before, we were already done with all our work and we were able to enjoy all afternoon at the pool at a very nice hotel in Olympia.

At 6pm we went back to campus for sports activities, there were the finals of all the sport activities, so it was fun to watch!

We then went to dinner downtown and enjoyed the rest of the evening at the best bar in town, Zorbas… 🙂

My Olympic Experience

After a long day yesterday, we were able to sleep 30 min longer today, and I promise, these 30 minutes were amazing!  We went on to have the same morning routine like every day, except for that I had to have a presentation about my Olympic Experience.

IMG-20170626-WA0009

Here my speech:

My Olympic Experience: Florence Schelling

As far as I can remember, participating at the Olympic Games has always been my dream. Growing up, I always watched the winter and summer Games on TV with my family and it was always clear to me that I want to become such an exceptional athlete like every athlete I saw competing during the Games.

When I was 16 years old, my dream came true. With the Swiss Ice Hockey Women’s National Team we qualified for the Torino 2006 Olympic Games, and I was surprisingly part of the team. I say surprisingly because I was the youngest in our delegation and I was fighting for a spot on the team against other goalkeepers that were older and had more experience. But nobody has had an Olympic experience before, so I, along with the entire team, was completely overwhelmed by the entire Olympic experience.

It all started with getting equipped by Swiss Olympic with the Olympic apparel, then getting what feels like a million papers with information and forms to fill out so that you will get accredited once you get there. When we arrived to Torino, we went first to the Village where we were given our accreditation. Once we got through security, we walked to the Swiss house. I remember this walk like it was yesterday, I gaped the whole way. I was amazed by how big the village was, the amount of houses there was, the way every nation decorated their house with their flags and the amount of athletes that we walked by. Then, I saw the Swiss house, and I got the biggest goosebumps, a huge Swiss flag hanging outside, and so many more Swiss flags around the whole house. I was overwhelmed, I could not believe, that I was part of something as big as the Olympic Games. After we moved into our rooms, we went to explore, literally explore, the Olympic Village. There was so much, there was no way we saw all of it on our little tour, so the mission “exploring the Olympic village” went on throughout our entire stay.

Another unforgettable experience was the opening ceremony. It’s hard to put into words what every athlete experiences during that time, but I’ll try anyways. It all started with putting on the “opening ceremony” clothes on and meeting the entire delegation outside the Swiss house. The atmosphere was incredible. Something I really can’t put into words… When we finally got to the place where the opening ceremony took place, we had to wait a very long time until it was our turn to walk in… The most special part about the waiting was to see all the other athletes and known-superstars and just to see how every single on is so happy and has this pride to represent their country. Everyone took pictures with everyone, everyone was chanting their country name and just being one big family.

Once it was our turn to walk in, everything went so fast… After waiting for so long, this seemed to be a very short moment. Goosebump moment again, when the announcer said “Switzerland”,  I think I almost started crying, I was filled with so much pride to be able to represent Switzerland at the Olympic Games, that my dream came true, that I am participating at the Olympic Games with just 16 years… It’s the little things that make the Olympic Games so special for me, like the things I just talked about now. The way athletes get treated and treat each other the stage we get to perform on. For the 2006 Olympics, I rather not talk about my experience in hockey as we did not perform well; we ended on 7th place, out of 8…

I was incredible fortunate to get another chance to represent Switzerland in the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. Being there for the second time, made me put a lot more focus on what I/we was here for, for ice hockey. It was doubtlessly an amazing experience to play ice hockey in Canada, at the Olympic Games. We performed way better during these Games and ended in 5th place, which was our goal. Yet, although we were in a completely different country, 4 years later, everything that makes the Olympic Games the Olympic Games, is still the same. The Olympic Village, the athletes, the waiting for the opening ceremony, the opening ceremony itself, to me this is what it is all about. I was 4 years older, so I was way more open than in 2006 and got to meet so many more athletes in the eating tent or in the lounges and so forth. Listening to other athlete’s stories is so inspiring and motivating.

4 years later, I was able to participate in my 3rd Olympic Games in Sochi. A minor difference I realized in Torino and Vancouver was that some athletes won medals and diplomas. I have with my team received 2 diplomas, but we have not won a medal yet. Since my dream of Olympic Games came true when I was 16 years old, winning an Olympic Medal was my new dream, that was due to come true in Sochi. I’ve set out a plan for myself on what days I will enjoy the Olympic Village, other competitions and socialization with other athletes. That way, on my own competition days, I was 200% focused on playing ice hockey. Sochi has been the most fun for me, not only because we did end up winning an Olympic Bronze Medal, but because I really started to understand what the Olympic Games are all about.

We all share those dreams, participating at the Olympic Games, winning medals and so on. The path to the Olympic Games differs hugely between nations, sports and athlete, but once you are at the Olympic Games, we all become one big family. I would lie if I would say that the Olympic Games are not giving me a sense of craving. The goal of participating at the Olympic Games every 4 years is definitely something that motivates me every single day. It makes me want to be a summer athlete as well so that I would only have to “wait” 2 years!

IMG-20170626-WA0016

After my speech and a couple of other speeches from Olympian athletes the afternoon was rather relaxed. We had another discussion group round and sport activities.

For dinner we went out in the town and went to a bar to enjoy the warm weather here.

Xo Florence

Back to the Lecture Hall

After a wonderful beach day and, today we are back to our regular routine here at the International Olympic Academy. At 7:10 we were woken up by the music again (I will definitely miss that when going home again!) and we had our first lecture at 8:30am.

The morning was filled with lectures and discussions. The first lecturer was Dr. Sam Ramsamy from South Africa and he talked about the Politics and Governance in the Olympic Movement. The second lecturer was Mr. David Wallechinsky from the USA and he talked about the Mass Media and Democracy in Sport. That was a fantastic presentation, where he talked a lot about the Doping scandals and especially the Russian doping scandal, which to me, is extremely interesting.

The morning was wrapped up with a discussion with our different discussion groups. Since we presented our first weeks discussion on Friday, today we started over. We came up with two new questions and started discussing these in our outdoor classroom.

20170622_175334

The afternoon was filled with sports activities, which I unfortunately could not participate in, so I was able to do my rehab and get some other stuff done.

The day finished with the second social evening where China, Mexico, Turkey, Spain, Israel, Guatemala, Albania, Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden and Finland were presenting their countries. It was another incredible funny and enjoyable evening that I will remember for a very long time. 🙂

Xo

Florence

Beach Day and Torch Relay

Perfectly blue sky, 30+ degrees Celsius, a Saturday! The perfect day for a beach!

At 10 am we all went on the bus to go towards a beach that was 45 min away, where we spent pretty much all day. It was great to get away from the lecture hall and the campus for a bit and just have fun and relax in the sun and the water.

Once we came back, we had a Torch Relay where everyone dressed in white and split up into the 11 different discussion groups again. Every group would take a lap on the track field with the Olympic Relay Torch and the Olympic Flag.

The rest of the night was free and we went to the city of Olympia for a quiet and very nice dinner before we went to bed.

Xo

Florence

Olympic Day

5 am was wake-up time today… Very very very early but it was totally worth it! At 5:30am we left to go walk up a hill that was close by the campus. It took us approximately 30 minutes to reach the top. The sunrise was quite slow this morning, but it was a great way to start the day.

20170623_063128

After we came back to the campus, we had breakfast and started with a long morning of lectures. We had 2 lecturers and then every discussion group had to present their work from this week in an approximately 10min presentation.

20170623_115418

The afternoon was rather relaxed and I had some time to put my bikini on and sit outside for a bit. We had one more lecture which was good but everyone seemed tired from a busy week and the heat here.

The most fun part was after though, after all it is Olympic Day! We participated at the Olympic Run, which is 5km run. Because of my knee injury, I just walked, but it was still a lot of fun! The temperature here is 32 degrees celcius, so walking was already though!

Since tomorrow we have a beach day, it was time to go out and have some drinks and enjoy the night with all the new friends that I made.

Xo

Florence

Olympic Experience

The day started pretty much exactly the same than the previous two days with a wake up at 7:10 by the music. I started doing my rehab exercises and a quick core workout in the morning right after wakeup, as I would otherwise get stressed during the day to squeeze it in somewhere and then I would enjoy a quick breakfast before the first lecture of the day.

The first lecture started at 8:30 with Prof. Dr. Mike J. McNamee from GBR. It was indeed a very interesting topic to discuss and yet again, raised a lot of questions from the participants. Right after the lecture, it was time for some Olympians to present their Olympic Experience. More specifically, Audrey Lacroix, who was a swimmer for Canada, Hon Pan Yan who was a fencer for Hong Kong, Eva Hannesdottir who was a swimmer for Iceland and lastly Eran Sela who is a sailor for Israel. Afterwards we met in our discussion groups again where we would continue discuss the interesting topics from the previous lectures.

Before we could eat lunch, we did a library visit where we could see all the bid boxes from pervious Olympic Games (both, accepted and denied) and many more historical books. We will have to use the library at a later point again, so we needed to know.

After lunch was actually when we needed to use the library. We had to write a two page report on the questions that we were discussing in our discussion group and then propose recommendations. We did not have much time but we managed to finish before our next appointment.

We went to look at the archive of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. This is the only archive outside the IOC archive in Lausanne. We were able to see all the plans and books that were created for the bid, as well as the planning, the scheduling and merchandising plan up till the Olympics, that just to name a few. Additionally we got to see the Olympic Medals from 2004 and all their posters and everything, very impressive!

After this visit, we went on to discuss with our discussion group again about the final touch of our report. This was followed by 2 hours of sporting activities, which I unfortunately could not participate in. So instead I just took some time off for myself.

With a very early wakeup call tomorrow, this is everything from today.

Xo

Florence

Archaeological Site of Ancient Olympia

7:10 am, the music starts again and the participants of the IOA session are slowly coming out of their rooms for morning sport and breakfast. It is going to be another very busy day!

First thing we did, was walking to the archaeological site of ancient Olympia, which is a 15 minute walk from our village. We received a guided tour and learned a lot about the first Olympic Games that took place in Olympia. Further to the site, we went to visit the museum that was in the city of Olympia. It was very interesting and indeed very informational, almost too much new information to digest in such a short amount of time.

The Olympic Games have come a long long way…

Around noon, we were then free for some time and a lot of us went to the city to have lunch there and also do some shopping for souvenirs.

Additionally, throughout the rest of our stay here, we will have Artistic activities as well as sport activities. The IOA offers sports like beach volley, tennis, basketball, ping pong, football and so forth. As for the artistic activities, they offer dance, poetry and fine arts. So we had to go sign up for what we wanted to do. Unfortunately, I still can’t do any sports more than my rehab, so artistic activities it is. I am probably going to do the dance, but good thing I don’t have to decide until tomorrow. 🙂

We than had our first lecture with Prof. Dr Stephan Wassong from Germany who talked about “Ethics and Governance in the Olympic Movement” and went into details of the doping case and doping control and so forth. In my opinion, this was the best lecture so far. We than had another lecture from Prof. Dr. Milena M. Parent from Canada who was discussing “The Structures of Sport and “Good Governance””.

The lectures were followed by a question and answer by the participants and then again the 11 different discussion groups. Yesterday we came up with 2 questions to discuss and present at the end of the week, so today we discussed and analyzed the first question that we came up with, which is “Sacrificing childhood to win a gold medal?”. It was an incredibly interesting discussion and the 2 hours discussion session went by so fast, it felt like we could have discussed that for another couple of hours. Good thing we have another session tomorrow! 🙂

Now to the most fun part! There are 3 social evenings in these two weeks. At the social evenings, ever nation came up with a quick presentation of their country, through a dance, singing or fun games or food and drinks. It was our turn along with Canada, France, Chinese Tapai, Paraguay, Austria, Argentina, Zambia, Croatia, Italy, Japan, Ecuador and Columbia. What a  fun night, we got to task different specialties from different countries and see different dances or fun gams.

We did a cycling tour de Switzerland. We started off in Zurich where we would talk about the Swiss Banks and basically we distributed chocolate money to the participants. We then went on to talk about Bern, the mountains and the Lauberhorn ski race. We actually created a ski race where everybody had to pretend to be sking down the Lauberhorn. Then we cycled to Lausanne where we talked about the IOC, the International Federations and so forth. We moved on to Zermatt where we talked about the Matterhorn and distributed Toblerone chocolate to everyone. From there we went to the Italian part of Switzerland and went over to the Alps to distribute Ricola candy and on the final stretch back to Zurich, we stopped at the lake of Zurich at the Lindt chocolate factory to distribute their chocolate.

It was a lot of chocolate from us, but everyone seemed to enjoy it.. It was such a great and fun night; I am looking very much forward to the next 2 nights!

Xo

Florence

International Olympic Academy

So the sessions begin!

The first night at the International Olympic Academy history and we were woken up around 7:10 am by the sound of the Olympic Anthem and many other Greek composers through loudspeakers that are spread around the IOA premises. Very special and beautiful way to be woken up!

After a quick breakfast, we had our first meeting in the lecture hall at 8:30am where all the guests, lecturers, coordinators and participants were introduced. Shortly after that, we had another Opening Ceremony on the site of the ancient Olympic village. Although it was still in the morning, the temperature was around 28 degrees Celsius already and the sun was burning. As the Ceremony took place outside, most people were avoiding the sun and escaping to the shade. The laying of wreaths at the stele of Pierre de COUBERTIN and the commemorative monument of John KETSEAS and Carl DIEM took place during this time. Then Olympic Anthem was played yet again and that meant that now it is time to get to work.

The topic of this years’ IOA session is Ethics, Education and Governance in the Olympic Movement and all lectures and discussions that we are having are around this area. The first lecturer was Prof. Dr. Gertrud Pfister from Germany and discusses Gender Equality and Democracy in Sport, followed by a question and answer by the participants.

This was followed by lunch and then time for oneself to explore the city of Olympia and so. My roommate Fay has a car, so it was like a short way to downtown. A pretty village!

Later that afternoon, we had the second lecture by Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Georgiadis from Greece on the subject of Olympic Education of a ‘better Governance’. This lecture was followed again by a Q&A session. After the lecture, all participants were split up in 11 different groups where we would have group discussions.

In the group discussions, we had to come up with 2 questions that we would work with for the rest of the week which include the topic of this IOA session (Ethics, Education and Governance in the Olympic Movement). After almost two hours of brainstorming and discussions, my group came up with two questions and that was the end of the discussion group. These two questions are going to be presented at the end of the week to all other participants and eventually brought to the IOC.

After dinner we had a film projection of the Olympic Games Athens 2004 “Behind the Scene” before going to bed.

More to come tomorrow on the next day!

Xo

Florence

Archaeological Site Delphi

Monday was our travel day to Olympia with a detour to Delphi. Wakeup was around 7am and we were to leave on 5 different buses at 8am. With so many people as we are here, punctuality is a big challenge so we already lost quite some time by leaving way too late.

We drove for approximately 4 hours to Delphi, where we had lunch and then went to look at the archeological site of Delphi. Delphi is famous as the ancient sanctuary that grew rich as the seat of Pythia. It was there the oracle consulted about important decisions. Additionally, the Greeks considered Delphi the center of the world as represented by the stone monument Omphalos of Delphi.

After spending around 2 ½ hours at this site, we went back on the bus to continue our journey to Olympia. At 9pm we finally made it to the International Olympic Academy site in Olympia. Our original time of arrival was supposed to be at 7pm, so we were quite late. We were then put into different rooms, new roommates and everything.

20170619_170612

I am now roommate with Fay who is from Athens. Let me tell you, it’s amazing having a “local” roommate! 🙂

Everybody was very tired from the long travel, so it was nice to go to bed quite early as the next day, the lectures are to start.

More to come!

Xo

Florence