It's Olympic Time
It's finally Olympic time -- that one extraordinary time when the best of the best compete and years of training finally pays off. I remember watching the Olympics as a child in awe. The irony of this inspiring Olympic season is that I'm usually exercising the least during the Games because I cannot break away from watching all the excitement. The television coverage is nearly seamless in transitioning between events and it's hard to force myself to turn off the TV!
My first observation from watching each competition is the significant number of athletes wearing kinesiology tape. The brightly colored tape is certainly attention-grabbing, but what do most people know about kinesiology tape? I use kinesiology tape occasionally with some of my patients, and it will be interesting to see if more patients request it after seeing so many athletes wearing it at the Olympics.
My second thought, as I watch on a high-definition television, is the incredible musculature of the athletes. As some of the gymnasts hang from the uneven or high bars, I can make out each muscle group like a textbook specimen. I cannot imagine maintaining the training and nutrition to compete at an international level. I lift weights two mornings a week and run three days each week, and there are times when I need a break from even that little amount of exercise. Obviously training for the Olympics is a little different than squeezing in a workout during a 40-plus-hour work week, but you get the idea.
Finally, watching the Olympics makes me proud of my profession. There are many physical therapists behind the scenes at the Olympics who are a big reason why many athletes stay healthy enough to compete. It can be devastating for competitors to withdraw from an event due to an injury, like Paula Radcliffe (one of my favorite runners) who will not race because of a foot injury. That's our job -- to help athletes heal, prevent injuries and educate coaches, families and athletes about the risks of continuing when an athlete is injured.
What do you think? Have you been watching the Olympics this week? What is your favorite event? Do you know anyone or have you ever provided physical therapy to an Olympian?