Posts tagged "Great Britain"

Program gives Team GB’s future athletes a peek behind the curtain of Olympic Games

By Katelynn Thys  |  BSU at the Games

Being an athlete in the Olympic Games is more than just competing; it’s dealing with the publicity, the fame, the pressure and the distractions the Olympic atmosphere can bring.

To help ease future hopeful Olympians into the world of the Games, Great Britain has set up the British Olympic Ambition Program. It is giving 130 young British athletes and 57 coaches a chance to see what it’s like to be a part of the worldwide sporting event.

Phil Wood, coach for the Ambition Program, acts as mentor and support for the team and believes this program gives Britain an edge over other countries.

“Seventy percent of Olympians are better at their second Olympics, so hopefully these guys bring home medals their first time competing,” he said.

Yena Stadnik, female wrestler on the GB Ambition program, said she thinks the program has shown her what she can expect both mentally and physically.

“The workshops help me get a taste of everything,” Stadnik said. “I am treated like I am one of the athletes.”

Each athlete is selected by his or her specific sport’s National Governing Body. During the program, the members first go to a Preparation Camp at Loughborough University, where they get fitted for Team GB sports gear.

Eighteen-year-old indoor volleyball athlete Rupert Scott said he had to wear his gear for the two-and-a-half-day period he was in London for the program.

“I’m not even an Olympic athlete yet, and people still wanted to take pictures with me,” he said. “People were really interested.”

During the Olympic hopefuls’ stay in London, they got the chance to watch two Olympic competitions in person.

Sarah Winckless, 2004 bronze medalist in rowing and program director, said she organized each participant to be matched up to their sport (or one similar if they’re winter athletes) and another sport they didn’t know anything about.

“As an athlete, you often get wrapped up in your own sport, so instead of them living in their own sport it’s important to see how wide the Olympics are,” she said.

The participants also get to meet previous Olympians for some athlete-to-athlete learning because they speak the same language, Winckless said. She wished she had had the program before she competed because it shows that it’s OK to have bad days as an athlete.

“There’s a myth people think that the athletes on the podium have it easy, but they don’t. It’s hard work,” she said. “Medals aren’t won in a game, they’re won throughout the years.”

Winckless herself learned that lesson when she competed in her first Olympic Games after she had been injured. She knew she wasn’t in form to win any medals but just being apart of it inspired her to carry on and keep working hard. She wants to let new athletes know that it is determination that keeps you going, since most sports careers are short.

“I put on a brave face with the media and everyone,” she said. ”But I was living the dream, even if I wasn’t in form. It’s OK if you don’t win a medal right away, Everything you train for doesn’t change.”

Yena Stadnik said hearing stories like this have shown her not to give up, that there is a reason to carry on.

Preparation is something freestyle wrestler Craig McKenna learned about that he thought was most important.

“Preparation is key, even though the Olympic atmosphere is great,” McKenna said, “even if it means being anti-social for a while.”

Even if they don’t all make it to the Olympic Games, Rupert Scott said this experience has prepared him for any type of big game that he will be involved with in his life.

“There’s so much more than just competing. There are so many distractions that really test your limits,” he said. “This has really helped me. It shows me how much pressure competing in big games are.”

Katelynn Thys is a junior telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University and features reporter for BSU at the Games. Follow Katelynn and the BSU team at @skyismylimit_kt@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

How to make a quintessential English drink

By Emily Thompson  |  BSU at the Games

Every now and then, believe it or not, the sun actually comes out in England. And what better way to celebrate than with a refreshing British drink?

A “Pimm’s Cup” or “Pimm’s Lemonade” is a gin-based beverage that’s practically a meal in a cup. So for all of those Olympic tourists looking for something to do in between events, this is the perfect DIY cocktail.

To make a proper Pimm’s, start with the ice. Although ice is somewhat hard to come by in England, bartender Thomas Shirley said it’s important in a Pimm’s because it’s a summer drink and should be chilled. Shirley has worked behind bars for five years and is currently serving at the Round House near Covent Garden in London.

Next comes the fruit: strawberries, oranges, lemons and apples (types of fruit vary in different recipes). Cucumber and mint leaves are also a must.

For a Pimm’s Lemonade, one would think it’s safe to assume lemonade is also included. The funny thing is that Americans and Brits have two different definitions of “lemonade.” English lemonade is carbonated—they would consider American lemonade to be juice. We are separated by a common language, as they say.

For that reason, soda water or Sprite can be used as substitutes for the carbonated lemonade.

“It doesn’t really matter which you put in it because the fruit gives it the flavor,” says Roger Langhor, a bartender at the Angel in Worcester, England.

So fill most of the cup with the carbonated beverage of your choosing, but leave room for the most important ingredient. Finish the drink off by adding 50 milliliters of Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur. When making the drink for another person, it’s customary to let the Pimm’s sit on top so they can stir it.

Finally, find a nice spot in the sun and enjoy.

Although Pimm’s is only served in England, Shirley said it tends to be very popular with tourists.

“I think it has the novelty value for tourists, as it’s marketed as an exclusively English drink,” he said. “So that’s probably why the tourists flock to it because it’s something unique to England.”

But that’s not to say that Brits don’t enjoy the occasional Pimm’s too.

“Normally, in summertime, English people drink refreshing and very light drinks, and Pimm’s is a light drink,” says Marina Botnikova, a bartender at All Bar One in London.

There is a downside to serving Pimm’s in bars, though. Bartenders at the Eagle in
Farringdon say that Pimm’s Cups are “quite a lot of hassle” because they have to keep so much fresh fruit. And because Pimm’s sales are so dependent on the weather, several rainy days in a row result in much of the fruit going to waste.

Still, many English pubs, clubs and bars serve Pimm’s, and it’s simple enough to make. So in addition to trying fish and chips and a full English breakfast while in England, be sure to add a Pimm’s Cup to the list. Plus, it’s healthy because it has fruit, right?

Emily Thompson is a senior magazine journalism major at Ball State University and features reporter for BSU at the Games. Follow Emily and the BSU team at @ekthompson2410@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

 


Team Great Britain claims first Olympic basketball win since 1948

By James Jeffrey  |  BSU at the Games

Team Great Britain huddles on the court during their recent game against China.

Team Great Britain achieved a first in nearly 60 years on an Olympic basketball court – it claimed a victory. Team Great Britain beat No. 10 China 90-58 for its first win in the Olympic Games since 1948.

“Finally got that Win. So thankful to be a part of this GB team and so fortunate to have had such great support throughout the games,” Kieron Achara said via Twitter following the game.

Achara led the team with 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Nate Reinking —who is retiring from international competition after the Games — scored 12 points and Team GB captain Drew Sullivan scored 11. Both Pops Mensa-Bonsu and Mike Lenzly were out due to injury.

Only two Chinese players managed to hit double figures. Zhi-Zhi finished with 11 points and five rebounds while YI Jianlian, China’s only NBA player, finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds.

China grabbed an early 7-0 lead by making its first three shots, but it was the only lead they would have in the game. Joel Freeland, recently signed by the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers, helped Britain breech the initial gap with a hook shot over Jianlian. This ignited GB who ended the first quarter with a 20-5 run to take a 27-15 into the second quarter.

Britain outscored China every quarter the rest of the game and was never closely threatened due to the defensive efforts by Drew Sullivan and Kieron Achara. Team GB point guard Andrew Lawrence also helped space the floor with strong ball movement to keep them ahead.

Despite being the home nation, GB basketball did not claim automatic qualification for the games like in most Olympic sports. International basketball federation FIBA had to clear the team before it could compete in the event. This included proving they could be competitive at the Olympic level – which they did by winning FIBA group B. FIBA also mandated Team FB have a lasting legacy for basketball.

“I laugh when people say we were given our spot here in the Olympics because it sure didn’t feel like it when we were trying to get up through Division B and qualify for Europe. We really achieved something here,” Team GB head coach Chris Finch told the BBC.

“Our performances here, while they didn’t necessarily come with the results we were hoping for, came with a lot of potential to keep building the programme,” Finch continued. “I think we have a bright future. We’ve got a long way to go, but this is a good step. We answered every challenge that was thrown at us, but we fell a little short on this one. But it was incredibly satisfying professionally and personally.”

Finch and multiple other players retired after the game, including 38-year-old shooting guard Nate Keinking of the British Basketball League’s Sheffield Sharks and former NBA center Robert Archibald.

Despite competing in the 1948 Olympics, Britain’s current program only started in 2006.

“Great day for GB basketball, let’s make it the start, not the end of the journey,” basketball commentator John Amechi said via Twitter.

James Jeffrey is a junior journalism major at the University of Worcester in Worcester, England. He is a part of a team of British students contributing to BSU at the Games. Follow James and the program on Twitter @bsuatthegames and Facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Fans share their thoughts on Olympic Games, host city

By Charlotte Dunlap  |  BSU at the Games

Everyone has their favorite sports, their favorite places to dine, to shop, to grab a drink and some sort of bucket list of things to accomplish when we travel.

The streets of London are full of eager bodies attempting to tackle all the hot spots and must-sees in their spare time. Any good traveler knows having some type of game plan is the only way to make the most of a trip. That plan can consist of a to-do list, an itinerary or, as some people call it, “winging it”.

Regardless of their approach, how has London met their expectations?

“I am very surprised with how orderly everything has been arranged,” said second time London-goer Chakri Munipalle from South India, who wanted to show his son “

“There is no traffic jams, no rush anywhere with travel. It’s been very nice,” he said. “We have seen the Opening Ceremonies and it was fantastic. Wasn’t it, son?”

“It was amazing” said Mudrach, Munipalle’s 8-year-old boy.

Embracing her boyfriend as they walked down the windy dock, Georgina Dunn, a London native, was en route to see an art show at the Tate Modern.

“I think it’s been great so far. It has been quite touristy, but that’s not a bad thing,” said Dunn. “But everyone is just so positive, in really nice spirit; we’ve enjoyed it so far.

“And the transports—not too horrendous, which is a good thing.”

Likewise Liverpool resident Alex Turner said he hadn’t had a hard time navigating all the increased pedestrian traffic.

“It seems really really well organized. It seems really friendly. London is always busy, but it has gotten more noticeably busy,” he said.

Turner and his friends were attending multiple events and were very pleased with their trip thus far.

“We went to see the boxing last night and that was really good … and just getting to see the Olympics, that they are actually here ” said Turner.

He went on to share his personal advice to anyone planning on making the excursion.

“Bring your credit card,” he laughed. “It’s expensive!”

Festive and energetic fans lined the wall overlooking the Thames, where the remarkable, not to mention giant Olympic rings were to be found. Decorated in their country-of-choice’s memorabilia, people placed themselves precisely in the right position for their picture to be taken with the rings.

Among them, a British ex-pat named Maryanne, visiting from her home in Canada, was enjoying the general spectacle.

“I think it started off with the Diamond Jubilee earlier on in the year, in June, and now it’s moved over to the Olympics,” she said. “I think people are proud to be part of Britain and enjoying showing the world what Britain’s all about.”

Charlotte Dunlap is a senior telecommunications major at Ball State University and features reporter for BSU at the Games. Follow Emily and the BSU team at@charr_mariee@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.