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

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

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.

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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

Opening Ceremony

Sunday was the first official day and it was great to see everybody and meet so many more people from so many different countries. Unfortunately, the way Saturday night ended, was pretty much how it started again. It was raining really bad… and our plan to go see the Acropolis and the Panathenaic stadium had to be cancelled. Instead we did a bus tour through Athens and went to the Acropolis Museum.

We were out and about in Athens City until approximately 2pm. We then had lunch and some time to rest and get ready for the big opening ceremony on the beautiful Hill of the Pnyx.

We were incredibly lucky as the opening ceremony was outside and the sun started showing. We had a short walk up to the hill where we had an incredible view on the Acropolis. It was a great opening ceremony with speakers such as the President of the International Olympic Academy Mr Michael Fysentzidis, IOC Honorary Member Lambis V. Nikolaou, the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Mr Spyros Capralos and the Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports Mr Georgios Vasileiadis. Additionally to the speakers, we had musical intervals and a little concert at the end.

It was a beautiful ceremony and an even more beautiful place to be holding such a ceremony. Once the IOA session has been declared open, we walked back to the buses where we received a police escort (!!!) all the way back to the hotel.

A gala dinner was awaiting us at the hotel where all the participants were split onto different tables of 10s to get to know each other better. It was a fantastic evening, so much eating and talking and eventually dancing until the early morning hour.

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This was our last day/night in Athens before we will move to Olympia on Monday morning…

xo

Florence

Hi everyone,

So I am currently in Athens with the International Olympic Academy (IOA) at the 57th International Session for Young Participants. A lot of people have asked me what that is and what I am doing there, so here comes the answer. 🙂

What is the IOA? The IOA is the main international educational and cultural organization that aimes to promote the Olympic Spirit and develops the Olympic Education. Every National Olympic Committees is able to send up to 3 people from their country to the IOA session which takes place every summer in Athens and the ancient Olympia archaeological site. Swiss Olympic offered two positions for this trip to Greece, thus I applied for this session. As you can guess, I am very interested in the Olympic Spirit and Movement and everything about the Olympics in general, therefore I did not want to miss this chance. It is important to know that it is not just athletes or olympians that can participate here. Everyone has a different background and different connection to the Olympic movement.

I, along with Severin, got picked to represent Switzerland at the two week long IOA session. We received a backpack full with Swiss Olympic giveaways to give to all the other participants and a lot of information about the values of Swiss Olympic that we follow, such as EXCELLENCE, FRIENDSHIP and RESPECT.

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Additionally, throughout the session, there are multiple social evenings, where every country has to present their country, through singing, dancing or a culinary speciality. Basically just show something that is famous from your country. Can you guess what Severin and me planned?

On Saturday at 1pm we left Zurich in direction of Athens, where we met a bunch of other participants once we landed at the airport. When we got to the hotel, we did not know who our roommates are going to be, so it was exciting when opening the door and see who was in there. I am rooming with Unge, who is from Lithuania.

The same group of people that I met at the airport, decided to go outside and check out what is around our hotel, so we ended up going to the Public library and the opera house that was right across the street from our hotel. The weather was cloudy but nice but unfortunately just as we made our way back to the hotel it started to rain really heavy.

We then had dinner, where we met a couple more people that have arrived either earlier or later than us. It is very nice to meet so many new people from different countries and different backgrounds so I am very much looking forward to the upcoming 2 weeks and all the activities and lectures we are going to have.

I will try to post every day for the next 2 weeks, so you can all follow my journey with the International Olympic Academy!

xo

Florence

 

 

Iceland

OMG what a beautiful and extraordinary country! Never have I thought about Iceland so much in my travel destinations, but living in Sweden right now, Iceland is so close that it definitely became a travel goal. A goal that I was able to finally realize!

The schedule was pretty busy during the 4 (!!!) days that we were there, it seemed like almost every step that we did was planned out, so that we could manage to see everything we wanted. 🙂

Wednesday

Wednesday was half travel day and half spa day. We arrived at Keflavik airport at 2pm and rented a car to use for the four days. Additionally we rented a portable Wi-Fi device so that we were able to use the maps and the internet on our phones. The first stop was at the bridge between continents (the North American plate and the Eurasian Plate). That was something pretty cool to see, but is done within approximately 5 minutes.

After the bridge, we drove further to the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon was stunning. Seeing such a different nature was absolutely breathtaking. We spend a couple hours at the lagoon, which was a great way to start off the mini-vacation. Especially for my knee, the warm/hot water in the lagoon was great. I felt like a new person after these couple of hours.

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With the time difference we had, we got tired pretty early and knew we still have a bit to drive until Vatnsholt where we stayed at a farm for one night. The farm had horses and sheep, but we did not have much time there as the next day was packed.

Thursday

After a typical Icelandic breakfast, we hit the road down South towards Vík. On the two hour drive down there, there were a couple of sights that we could have checked out, but we decided to do that on our way back up after checking out Vík, except for the plane-crash site in Sólheimasandur. We made a stop there with the hope that we won’t have too many other tourists there to take good pictures. The walk from the parking to the site is about 45min one way, and it was terrible. It was rainy, windy and so cold, it was a struggle. It was definitely worth the horrible walk, as it was a magnificent view and a very special atmosphere.

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We then drove down all the way to Vík where we got to see the black sand beach Reynisfjara. As it was still very rainy and very windy, the waves at the beach seemed very aggressive and loud, it was almost intimidating. It was stunning, standing at the Hálsanefishellir and Reynisfjara and looking at the Reynisdrangar, it’s like I can almost not put it into words. We also went to check out the Dyrhólaey as it was on our way back North. It was so worth the drive down to Vík to see this beautiful scenery and also experience this very intimidating atmosphere.

Next stop then was the Sólheimajökull glacier. It was a short walk from the car park until we sighted the glacier and then eventually stood on the glacier. I have seen the Perito-Moreno Glacier in Patagonia which, to me, was a lot more imposing than this one, but it was still a nice and I was happy that we went to look at it.

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There are an incredible amount of waterfalls in Iceland, so we stopped at the two big ones on the way. The first stop was Skógafoss and the second one was Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Both waterfalls were very beautiful and impressive, but yet again, I have been to the Niagara Falls in Canada and the Iguazú Falls in Argentina. Both falls to me were more extraordinary.

We then also stopped at the Eyjafjallajökull “viewpoint”. There was not much to see, as the clouds were very low and all the streets going closer were closed off. I got quite the goosebumps standing there, knowing that this is an active volcano that erupted only 7 years ago!

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Time was slowly running out and we were way behind schedule as we ended up spending much more time at every sight than we initially planned. We had two more stops planned, the Kerio crater and the Hveragerdi hot springs. The Kero crater was beautiful, the nature was so colorful, it was breathtaking. The colors of the stones, the flowers and the water, it was all just so beautiful. This was actually the first sight we had to pay an entrance fee, it was not much and it was so worth it.

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Last stop before going to Reykjavík were the Hveragerdi hot springs. We were actually not sure if we ever found the right hot springs, but we did see some nice ones and left it at what we saw. The remaining way to Reykjavík was fast and we were happy when we finally got to the 101 Guesthouse, it was a long and tiring day.

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Friday

5am wake up! We had another long day ahead of us, so we wanted to get an early start. We decided to do the upper part of the golden circle, which were the Mosfellskirkja, Thingvellir National Part, Geysir and the Gullfoss Waterfall, and we had to be back in Reykjavík the latest at 4pm for whale watching.

We drove right past the Mosfellskirkja and the Thingvellir National Part as we wanted to start with the Gullfoss Waterfall. That way we were able to time ourselves better on how long we could stay at the different places. The drive to Gullfoss was so pretty and we were lucky as the weather was good that morning. There were no cars on the streets, it was so quiet and peaceful. We were able to stop on the way and take some nice pictures of the scenery along the way as well as Iceland horses. Once we were close to Geysir, we decided that we wanted to make our first stop here and then drive further to the Gullfoss Waterfall.

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Geysir was insane. I had no idea what to expect, I have seen videos and pictures before, but it was way more insane being there in person. The way the water is moving, the clearness of the water and the excitement until the boiling water erupts, is so special. I think we spend over an hour there just watching the water moving and waiting for it to erupt. Very very very special!

On to the Gullfoss Waterfall, yet again, it was very beautiful but not as impressive as other waterfalls I have seen before. At that time, the weather turned bad again and it was quite rainy and windy again. We did not spend too much time there, we took it all in, but could not take many pictures as the rain would cover the lens of our camera and thus destroy the pictures.

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Therefore, we were on our way back to Reykjavík where we made a stop at the Thingvellir UNESCO National Park where we went to look at the Silfra fissure, which was formed by the divergent tectonic North American and Eurasian plates. Unfortunately we did not go for a dive there, but regretted it immediately after. If I ever go back, this is definitely something that I would want to do then.

Time started to run out again and we knew we would have to leave so that we will see the Mosfellskirkja and then be back in time for whale watching. This church turned out to not be something too special, so we took a picture and continued. Since we now had a bit more time, we ended up going into a shopping mall for a bit and then went down to the port for whale watching.

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I was super excited for whale watching, although I have done it before when I lived in Boston. Unfortunately this was a waste of time and money (money that we could have instead spent for the diving at the Silfra fissure). We did not see any whales close by, only whale backs that were so far away, you can’t even identify it on a picture. We saw a lot of birds and I really mean a loooooot of birds! It was very disappointing and I was very upset that we did not even get the money back.

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Once we came back from the whale watching, we went to eat dinner right by the port at the Kopar restaurant. It was delicious and such a great service. Unfortunately we were very tired again and did not stay for too long before we went back to the Guesthouse.

Saturday

5am wake up! Again! Yes, another busy day ahead, so we got up early again to explore sleeping Reykjavík, where we went to the see the Hallgrímskirkja (that was unfortunately under construction), the Perlan, the Harpa house and the sun voyager. Reykjavík is such a beautiful city, so much to see and so much fun spray designs against the house walls. It is indeed a unique city.

The last sight of our Iceland trip was an excursion inside a volcano. This was probably the one thing I was most excited about when we were planning the trip. This was the only organized trip that we participated in during the whole vacation. We were picked up by a bus right by our Guesthouse and drove to the parking lot at the three peaks crater. From there we were walking for 1 hour through 3 different lava fields until we reached the base camp close to the volcano. At the base camp, we received all further instructions and then were equipped with helmets and climbing harnesses. I am scared of heights, so I did not know how this will go for me, after all, we were going down 120 meters into a volcano with an elevator.

It was an experience of a lifetime! I was so nervous when I was in that elevator going down, but it was so worth it. The different colors that we were able to see in the stones of the volcano; the enormousness; the uniqueness of being in a volcano was absolutely breathtaking and stunning. The time flew by, and it seemed we did not have enough time to take it all in, but unfortunately we could not stay longer.

Once we came out of the volcano again, we went back to base camp where we received a soup before we walked back to the carpark for another hour. The bus trip back to the city was very quiet; everybody seemed to be processing the experience inside the volcano. It was our last night in Iceland, so we went downtown for dinner and drinks and were just walking around in the city a bit more until we were tired and went to sleep.

Sunday

3am wake up! Our plane was leaving Keflavík airport at 6:30am and we still had to drive there and bring back the rental car and do all the check in. Good thing we were able to get a bit more sleep on the plane back to Stockholm…

It was an unforgettable trip! I wish we could have stayed there longer, to have more time at every sight and also see the entire country and not just the Reykjavík, the golden circle and Vík, but I am more sure than ever that I will go back to Iceland at one point in my life. I can only recommend it to everyone!

Can you guess what country I am going to next? It’s just a couple days away until my next trip!

Xo

Florence

 

Hi everyone,

A lot of people have asked me how my rehab is going and when I’m thinking I will be back 100% for training and all. So here it is! 🙂

The first week after surgery I stayed in Switzerland, where I had perfect medical treatment. I was able to go to therapy everyday and get a good start on the first couple of rehab exercises that I would have to do over the course of the next couple of weeks and months. I never felt a much pain, so I thought this recovery is going to be quick and easy. But I later realized that I probably never felt much pain because I was taking a lot of medicine at that time. A week and a couple of days later, I was able to remove my stitches (picture).

After that short stay in Switerland, I went back to Sweden as I still have classes at University. Unfortunately, the flight was not a delight for my knee. Although I was wearing compression, my knee swelled quite badly. I was in quite a lot of pain, especially when I tried to start walking without crutches. Approximately 2 1/2 weeks after the surgery, I was able to get rid of my crutches and start the real rehab.

The real rehab, turned out not to be so real after all. As I distanced myself from the surgery day, I had to reduce the amount of medicine intake as well. Immediately, I felt this pain again in a lot of movements that I was doing, which was scary. I am always asking myself whether this pain is normal or if I should be really worried and unfortuantely noone could answer this but me.

I am doing rehab every day for approximately one hour, 5 or 6 days a week. I am biking, trying to increase the amount on the bike as well as the resistance. Right now, I’m at 20minutes biking and resistance level 7. Additionally, I do a lot of balance exercises, on two or one leg, and usually add a ball to the balance exercises to train my eye coordination. I did try little squats and negative movements (such as walking down the stairs), but unfortunately this is not going too well yet. I try to do a lot of calf drills to train my legs until I can do these squats and try to keep my upperbody in the best shape possible. For my upper body, I do basically just body weight training. I do a lot of core exercises, pushups, dips and so on.

So that’s pretty much it for one month post surgery! If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me!

I am headed to Iceland tomorrow until the end of the week, so I will definately write a blog about my experience in Iceland next week!

xo

Florence

Back in 2015, I was working at the International Ice Hockey Federation and had another year in my contract with the 1. League with EHC Bülach’s man’s team… Having a fun job and a great team to play for, it seems that everything was going great for me.

Although I loved my job and the team, I felt like something was missing. A passion I follow, besides playing hockey and working, was missing. Travelling!

Ever since I was little, I enjoyed travelling. Be it going somewhere in the car with my family, going on a bustrip, or taking the plane. As soon as I knew I was able to go somewhere, I felt like the happiest girl alive. Throughout my hockey career, I was very fortunate that I got to travel so much. Hockey opened doors to places I would probably never have visited if it wasn’t for hockey. I was looking forward to every single abraod trip we did, with hockey, with my family, or with my friends. I was excited to see new places, new people, new cultures and new languages.

Back in 2015, that was missing. Although I travelled with the national team, it felt like it was not enough for me. I wanted more, I wanted something new.

It was exactly then, that I got contacted by Linköping Hockey Club in Sweden, who at this time was looking for a new goalie. They were looking for a goalie to take over Kim Martin’s (!!!) position who was retiring. I knew this was a once in a lifetime chance, which I would only have this very moment.

It was not only a one in a lifetime chance to take this position but also for me to move to Sweden, travel in Sweden, get to know the culture, the people and its language. Without much hesitation, I took the chance and joined Linköping HC in August 2015 with a one-year contract.

One year became three years!

I enjoyed my time here so much, as I was simultaneously playing hockey, working at RUAG Space in Linköping, travelling the country, learning about the culture and language, that I knew I wanted to have/do this for more than just a year.

I applied to a Master Degree Program in Business Administration here in Linköping, to which I got accepted and the rest is history. I just signed my 3rd one year contract with Linköping HC!

I am super excited to see what next season will bring, but as for now, my summer is packed with travelling plans, rehab and preparation for Pyeongchang!

xo

Florence

By stitches! 🖐

Hi everyone,

My knee surgery was over a week ago and I was able to remove the stitches today! Just a little step towards full recovery, but an important one!

Xo Florence