July 31st, 2012
So the opening games have come and passed and we are just getting our last sessions in before we start competition on Friday. We have had great sessions since we arrived in England and its kind of scary how well it has gone. Jamie had a great practice and boomed over a nice bar in practice and Will looks faster than he ever has and his nagging injury from trials is for the most part gone. So you know why I'm ready for this thing to get started.
A real interesting look into the dynamic of Will and I, is we are more than just coach athlete. I train him and look out for his well being, but I've invested a lot of time and myself because he's more like family. I don't ask anything in return except a pair of Jordans each year because his success is the most important thing. Its amazing to be on a journey like this with such a special person and his family is amazing. As you saw in the previous pictures I'm staying in James's house, Will's eldest bother. James played football at Cal but was born in London. He is who will wanted to be like when he was a kid. He and his fiancee have gone out of the way to take care of me. Since I've been here they got me a temp phone, filled the house with food, and check on me daily. They re truly amazing people but I would expect nothing less from Will's family.
The other night was James' fiancees birthday and they had a party with a DJ and food and the whole nine. The food was amazing and the DJ played great music, unfortunately I knew most the music word for word so they were oldies but goodies. At the part Will was able to see his grandmother, aunts, and some cousins he had never met. They were so excited to see him. Zia, James fiancee and her friends are amazing women. They can cook like no other, are always checking to make sure the house is spotless, and checking to make sure you are well taken care of. This is not what was amazing, but the fact they are successful business women, veterinarians, pharmacist, doctors and lawyers. Pretty impressive and it was a fun and a festive night and allowed me to relax and not think about the Olympics for a little while.
Anyway, the days are counting down and our first prelim and final is Friday and Saturday. From here on in I get to make sure Will gets treatment, and we go through our script for the first day. On a side note, Nike has been amazing. They set-up treatment for the athletes and even hooked me up finally with a field band which I've wanted for months. But of course when I got my band, Will had to trump me and get a limited edition see through one. The only thing better is if it was gold.
Today we had a morning practice and didn't do anything technical but worked on keeping our power speed component. It was a nice workout and I looked at it in the regards of not doing too much because I knew Will would be standing for hours in the opening ceremonies.
I have decided to stay far away from the chaos and chill at the house. I really never have been much into standing room only crowds and really the Games in all its glory is all about the athletes.
Again USATF has to be applauded they did a great job with the practice facilities. Like in Birmingham they are top notch and can get everything we need to do in.
My flat in London is great. The place is owned by Will's older brother James Smith. I found out yesterday that James was recruited by my college coach Mark Napier at Wisconsin, which makes it a truly small world. James and his fiancee Zai are two amazing people. They opened their doors of their 3 bedroom flat for me to stay during the Olympics. The place is about a mile or so to the Olympic Park, close but far enough away from the chaos. It is 100 meters away from the railway so it is very convenient and from what I'm told a lot better than accommodations of a lot of my peers. The nights before Will competes he is going to be staying with me. It will allow him to have a peaceful nights sleep and enjoy a low key quiet stress free setting.
Today was also the first time I took the wrong train. Luckily I saw my mistake and corrected it before it became a huge problem, but the machismo in me did not allow me to ask for directions. My brother-in-law told me to add video but I will wait to do that once competition starts. But he also prayed for the success of my athletes so I'm feeling the video I show will be a great one (gold medal stand possibly) but now it truly in God's hands, which I have true faith in.
The flat. And some funny looking keys that look like they are from Alice in Wonderland.
I noticed I didn't have any pictures of me actually in and around England. So I decided to take a picture in front of my favorite store and like the words say, Like a BOSS!
There are so many people from so many different places. It really is an amazing experience. Multicultural at its finest.
The Time Draws Near Blog #4
We have come to our glorious end of pre-camp training in Birmingham. The city of Birmingham, USATF, and all those involved have done an amazing job. We had access to a great training facility, and at least for the time I've been here the weather has been beautiful and warm. The volunteers have been helpful and amazing and the Hyatt Birmingham has been a gracious host.
Hence today being a recovery day and as we head down to to London, I was able to do a little sight seeing. I'm not much of a traveler, I like to go in do business and usually I see track, hotel, food, hotel, track. So this was a little out of norm for me.
First if your ever in Birmingham go to Nando's for their chicken. It is awesome!
Secondly for anybody who loves to shop, downtown Birmingham is food and shopping paradise. All I could think of was thank God I was with Mike Eskind (TJ Amanda Smocks coach) because I know some people who would go into shopping Nirvana here. And there were sales everywhere, I know a few American athletes that are wondering what they are gonna do with all the stuff they bought.
Third I can't wait to get this meet started , we are so ready and I'm trying to keep my anxiety away from Will and Jamie so they can enjoy the moment without be being all in their mix.
Anyway here are some pictures from Birmingham and the next time I post we will be in LON-DON!
The track, ironic Philip Idowu trains here from time to time.
The canal in Birmingham.
Blog #3 Birmingham
So I finally arrived into Birmingham but it's not without a few bumps on the road. Travel is travel and international travel is a magnified mess. I am here for business so it is what it is. I have enjoyed my 5 hours in Birmingham, apparently the sun decided to come out for me. The hotel is nice and there are a lot of bars, clubs, and restaurants up and down the street, but thats about as appealing to me as a root canal. Sleep, sleep, and more sleep will be the order of significance and priority. All in all I always enjoy the diversity of England, especially London. I've met nice people at every turn of my trip. I learned in this short amount of time that England is expensive, the food is amazing, little English children have the cutest accents; almost seems fake, and according to a 5 year old boy, and three teenage girls I'm cool because I live close to the Kardashians and I'm a fabulous listener that looks young for his age. Well I'm going to listen to my body and get some much needed rest so I'll be ready for practice tomorrow. Cheers!
Blog #2 The Hay is in the Barn.
Today was the last practice for Will and Jamie stateside. Jamie left today for Monaco and Will and I leave Friday for Birmingham. It was a nice 85 degrees in sunny Chula Vista and a great day for training. I am excited to head over for my first Olympic experience. As an athlete my best shot to make the team was in 2000 and I unfortunately finished 7th at the trials. It was my one and only shot and I really feel God always has a plan.
I know Jamie and Will are ready and its so exciting to go into a meet well prepared and healthy. I'm expecting big things from both of them. The weather won't be an issue because we really have not had a meet all year where the weather has cooperated. We have even practiced in adverse conditions.
So packing for the Olympics I've packed all Eugene clothes, how fitting our trials really did reflect London weather. So in these upcoming days I hope all will pray for safe travel and a performance that shows the gift that God has bestowed upon these athletes. Cheerio from SoCal!
London 2012 #1
This is entry one of many which will let all my friends and family know the preparation, travel, opening ceremonies, competition, and close of the 2012 London Olympics. I will try to be as candid as possible and give insight to a coaches perspective on the Olympics. The two athletes I have the pleasure of working with are Jamie Nieto and Will Claye.
Jamie is a high jumper and this is his second Olympics. In 2004 he finished 4th, so this time he wants the redemption of a medal. Jamie is coached and has been coached by high jump guru Cliff Revelto. I'm Jamie's day to day guy since Cliff lives in Manhattan, Kansas and Jamie lives and trains in Chula Vista. I just help monitor Jamie's practices and workouts. At meet time Cliff watches and coaches him, I just try to give him moral support. Jamie and I have had a plan and we have accomplished many of our goals by the grace of God. Jamie is a true friend and I learn from Jamie as much as he learns from me. Jamie will truly be successful in anything he does in life because he has amazing balance and maturity. Jamie has truly shown me at this level its really about the athlete and reaching their goals and I'm glad he has allowed me to be such an integral part of his already amazing season.
Will is my other athlete. Will is like a little brother to me and I truly feel blessed to work with him. He is truly grounded in his faith, as is Jamie, and that is why we truly have a great connection. It truly feels God has put us together. Will is the World Indoor Champion in the triple jump and 4th in the long jump. We have big goals for the Olympics and have truly reached the end point of the journey we set out on. Will is a very special athlete. He is one of only two athletes who is in multiple events on the US team (Galen Rupp being the other). He also is a part of the new breed of athletes on the Olympic team; Brigetta Barrett, Marquise Goodwin, Christian Taylor, Erik Kynard, Ashton Eaton and Matt Centrowitz, who are fearless and have had international success at a young age. It's exciting to see these athletes compete and Will along with these athletes are the face of USATF for years to come.
On Wednesday Jamie heads over to Monaco to compete in the Diamond League meet there. It will be his last competition before the games. His preparation has been great and he will be ready to be amazing. On Friday Will and I head over to London. We have decided to forgo any meets before the game and work on getting razor sharp in preparation for the games. This is Will's first Olympics but he is already a seasoned veteran, and we are excited about his chances going into the Olympics.
Until next time stay blessed and safe for each day is a blessing.
Head Coach and founder of Maximum Velocity Athletics.