Greetings from Spain everyone!
As you might have seen it on my social media channels, I am out travelling again. This time I went to Málaga in Spain with my friend Zuzana.
I met Zuzana last year at the IIHF High Performance Camp in Vierumäki in Finland and we became instant best friends. Although we have only met last year, we’ve known each other for a very long time. As it turns out, Zuzana used to be the goalie of the Slavakian national team and we have played against each other many times at World Championships or even at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. I always enjoyed playing against her, so I guess it came as no surprise that when we actually met, that we hit it off right away.
Once we met, we figured out that we have so much in common like the fact that we played our first collegiate game against each other, the same playing style, same career path and so forth.
So this year, the reason why we are in Spain is that we got asked by the IIHF to be goalie mentors at the first IIHF Goalie Development Camp in Granada in Spain. Since we haven’t seen each other since last year, we decided to take this opportunity and travel to Spain a couple days before to catch up and enjoy the beach.
We spent 4 wonderful days in Málaga, lots of beach time and tanning but also lots of delicious seafood and all. Although we ended up being sad that we were only there for 4 days, we are now really looking forward to the IIHF Goalie Development Camp and our roles that we are going to take on.
Stay tuned for more!
After two wonderful weeks in Greece at the IOA session, reality hit hard pretty much the day after I came back to Switzerland. 🙂
Although I was doing my rehab and some training while in Greece, the intensity of the training was not that high. So when I came back, I had to get back into my routines of physiotherapy, rehab and training. Together with my physio and conditioning coach, we created a programm for the 1.5 weeks I am at home before taking on my next trip abroad.
Every day I went on the bike for one hour at a heartrate of approximately 130, which is in the fat burning range. Additionally, I would alternate with weight training. One day I would do legs, one day I would do upperbody. Since my knee is not 100% ready yet, the leg workout was a combination between weights and some simple running exercises. Further, I would have 3 bike intervall sessions a week and massages, acupuncture and cupping.
I would usually wrap up my workout day with lots of stretching and foam rolling while watching TV or talking to my friends.
It was a very intensive 1.5 week where I was able to progress quite a bit and I am looking forward to the next step in my rehab and training, but first I’ll travel some more.
I am currently sitting at the airport, waiting for my next adventure to start. 🙂
Stay tuned as I will try my best to post as much as possible again!
Two fantastic weeks are coming to an end and with it a lot of mixed feelings…
It has been an unforgettable 2 weeks and although I am happy to go home, I will miss everything and everyone that I had met in Athens and in Olympia. I’ve learned a lot, academically, personally and culturally.
I’ve had the time of my life and wish for everyone that they can experience something like I got to experience the past 2 weeks!
In that way, I want to thank the International Olympic Academy and Swiss Olympic for giving me this opportunity to develop myself while meeting so many incredible people.
Thank you to everyone who made this stay so special, I will never forget anyone of you!
After a very short night, everyone was packing up their stuff and got onto 1 of the 5 busses that would drive us back to Athens.
It was approxiamtely a 4 hour bus ride, rather quiet, as everyone tried to catch up on some sleep. Once we got to Athens, we had lunch and checked in to the hotel and pretty much went right up to the rooftop pool that the Metropolitan Hotel had.
It was an incredible 44 degrees celcius out and there was no place I would have wanted to be but that pool to cool off. I wanted to go see the Akropolis (as we did not go see it the first day due to rain), but unfortunately it was closed again due to the heat. Even though I did not end up going to the Akropolis, we had a pretty good view of it from the rooftop pool, which ended up being good enough for me. 🙂
People already started leaving from the time we came back to Athens, luckily I had another night there before heading home to Switzerland the next day. My new friends and I made our way to the bar, the same bar we went to the first night of this entire two weeks trip. It was going to be a very special night!
It’s difficult to put into words what kind of friendships that has been established during these two weeks, and even though we said that we are going to organize a reunion, you actually never know if you ever see them ever again. It felt like counting hours until after one after the other left to the airport, painful hours.
Starting at 2am, our crew got smaller and smaller as that’s when the Andrew from Aruba left… Next one was Indrek from Estonia, follwed by Ugne and Ernestas from Lithuania. Marsel from Albania, Nicholas from Norway and Severin and me left to the airport at the same time. Saying bye was difficult, so there were tons of hugs and much tear sheding.
It was a beautiful night with wonderful people.
That’s it! It’s the last day of the International Olympic Academy. 🙁
Before the Closing Ceremony started, all discussion groups presented their conclusions of the second cycle of discussions. All discussion groups came up with some very interesting questions and it was very interesting to hear what they have been discussing.
After every group had presented, the presentation of the participant’s diplomas took place, thus the closing ceremony started. Every participant was called upon their country and name to go to the stage to accept the diploma and a little present from the city of Olympia.
The Closing Ceremony continued by speeches on behalf of the participants, group coordinators, lecturers and the President of the International Olympic Academy, Mr. Michael Fysentzidis. The Closing Ceremony was over after the Olympic Anthem and lots of applause from everyone.
The afternoon was off and most of us headed to the pool at a hotel in downtown Olympia again. It was a beautiful afternoon, so much fun and laughing. The atmosphere was great, although everyone knew that these are the last couple of hours / days before everyone is heading home again. It was our last day in Olympia before heading back to Athens.
In the evening, we had our last social night where 18 nations presented their country to everyone. This social evening was filled with dances, quizzes, singing, laughing and just so much fun. I really enjoyed every single one of these evenings, as it brings the presenters culture closer to you in a fun atmosphere.
After all the presentations, the crew headed to the bar (Zorbas) again for one last time for another short night filled with dancing to all kind of songs but mostly Despasito (was played approximately 10 times a night)!
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.
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… 🙂
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.
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!
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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.