London 2012 – A Royal appointment

The highlights of yesterday could fill pages but being a few feet from the Queen and Prince Phillip at lunchtime was definitely one.

I also had a once in a lifetime chance to sit and chat with a former gold medalist sprinter about her life and medal winning experiences. I did do some work too, removing a foreign body from a top track cyclists eye and replacing contact lenses for a polish volley ball hero.

Not a bad day at the office!

London 2012 – ‘Lazy’ Sunday

What a great day. Perhaps it was a combination of it being a Sunday, and the sun shining but the clinic was a bit quiter for everyone.

The stats thus far are that of 199 patients in the polyclinic 120 of them were seen in the eye clinic. The slight let up meant an great opportunity to chat to the athletes. Yesterday that included one of the team of only 6 from the Federated states of Micronesia. He explained that there aren’t any concrete buildings on the islands let alone an eye care system, so he has a 4 yearly eye test on his visits to Olympic games. A lovely example of what the Olympic movement is all about. I’m all clued up on the details of trap shooting now too and was able to reassure a shooter that he had better than 6/6 vision, which he said gave him real confidence for his event.

Also got to one of the ritual athletes welcome ceremonies that happen periodically through the day in this pre-games period. This time the teams in question were Fiji ( hawiian shirt glad) , palestine and St Kitts and Nevis. A mixture of music, dancing and theatre, with a welcome from Tessa Jowell and Johnathon Edwards. Really looking forward to a chance later this week to get up close to team GB at their welcome ceremony in the village. A well timed tea break will be required!

Team GB was the answer to your trivia question. 542 athletes over 26 sports, the biggest delegation in over a century. No pressure on the medal tally then!

London 2012 – First impressions

Well if this is the Olympic eye clinic at 40% capacity then I’m very afraid!

Word has obviously spread around the early arrivers and the reception that the optometrists are sharing with the dentists is permanently packed. Few people with real problems at the moment as athletes and coaches taking advantage of having the health of their eyes checked. Although many of the south Americans we saw yesterday had glasses, few had ever had the health if their eyes assessed.

I did feel like I had undone some really good work when I refitted some contact lenses for a weightlifter to be told that she wouldn’t dream if wearing them to compete. She couldn’t focus on her event unless everything was blurred!

Hoping to find some time today to sneak into the sunshine and see one of the teams welcoming ceremonies. The New Zealand teams haka yesterday was meant to be fantastic.

Photos to follow soon!

Question of the day: Which country has most competitors at London 2012. How many competitors for bonus points!

London 2012 – the countdown begins…

The first of Gillian’s blog posts from the Olympic front-line as she volunteers in the health clinic as an optometrist during the 2012 Games.

Would love to post some pictures of my weekend in London but Olympic security is on lock down! Uniform collected. Trainers great, baseball cap not quite so much. Although I’d quite happily wear a bin bag if you put the 2012 logo on it!

My base in the health clinic is in the heart of the athlete’s village. State of the art, 5,000 sq metres armed by experts in every medical field the athletes could need. It will be converted to GP surgeries for local residents after the Games. The terrace outside the optometry department looks towards the main stadium, and I think with the wind in the right direction, I might just be able to hear the roar as another Brit wins gold.

My work starts 5 days before the games begin which will probably be some of the busiest days as 8000 athletes, and their teams are milling round the village. The dental and optical departments were the two busiest at the Beijing Games in 2008 after the physiotherapy centre. I should see some emergency work although the bulk of it is likely to be more routine eye tests as teams from developing nations accessing care they can’t get at home.

Looking forward to getting there now, and keeping you all posted.

Gillian to represent UK at the Olympics

Sort of…

 

Eighteen months ago over a quarter of a million people applied to be volunteers at the London 2012 Olympics. The numbers were whittled down over a course of interviews and in December Gillian was delighted to accept a post as optometrist for the games.

Her duties will involve working as part of a team of health professionals in the polyclinic at the heart Olympic village. She will provide acute eye and contact lens care to the athletes, their teams and spectators and general eye exams to those from developing countries who may not have access to health care at home.

Her love of all things sporty, her expertise in contact lenses, and in volunteer optometry abroad make her the ideal choice. She’s hoping they might even give her a bit of time off to watch an event or two. She’ll keep us updated here as things develop.

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