My Olympic Experience

This summer, Chelmsford Medical Centre was proud to have one of its Physiotherapists, Julie Wright, working in a professional, voluntary capacity during the Olympic Games.

“London 2012 had always been on my radar. Working so closely with sportsmen and sportswomen, I saw a unique opportunity to participate in the Games, learn new skills and share knowledge with other doctors and physiotherapists from across the country. I applied for the volunteer Gamesmaker Physiotherapist role in 2011 and was interviewed in January 2012 along with 400 others (selected from 1700 original applicants). I was successful in my interview and offered a position at Greenwich Arena working with gymnasts and basketball players.

Each Athletic Medical Team at the Arena consisted of trauma consultants and specialist nurses, sports medicine doctors and physiotherapists. The team was responsible for the athletes and coaching staff during training, in the warm up area and during competition. We were based in the medical room next to the competition arena and dealt with any injuries that occurred during competition. Our experience and skills were put to the test on numerous occasions. I worked with both male and female artistic and rhythmic gymnasts and although I didn’t know much about these disciplines when I arrived, I learnt a great deal about the sport, the equipment and the very intense training and rehearsing regimes the athletes undergo.

Once the gymnastic events were over, I stayed on at the Greenwich Arena to work alongside the basketball players and it was a completely different ball game (literally!). We suddenly went from treating tiny, agile female gymnasts to treating tall, muscular male basketball players. We needed different pieces of extra-large equipment which were big enough for the basketball athletes.

I have often been asked what I will most remember from working at the Olympics and I have managed to nail it down to three major highlights. The first was seeing the Team GB male gymnasts winning their medals (including Louis Smith of Strictly Come Dancing fame!). The second was wearing that lovely uniform and having so many people being so friendly and talking to you on the trains or in the street – that never normally happens in London. And the third was attending two spectacular events – the Closing Ceremony and the Athletes Parade down the Mall in early September. Both were incredible experiences with amazing atmospheres.

Working in a professional capacity at London 2012 was a real privilege. I will never forget the people I met and things I learnt from my Olympic fortnight.”

Julie and her colleague David Schofield are both specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapists and members of the Organisation of Chartered Physiotherapists in Private Practice (OCPPP). Julie trained at Coventry University while David graduated from The University of Queensland in Australia in 1993.

Initial physiotherapy consultations last 45 minutes and cost £50. Follow up appointments are 30 minutes and cost £40. For more information or to book your initial 45 minute assessment with either Julie or David, simply call us on 01245 253760. No medical referral is needed.

Date: 01/10/2012
By: Nicola Douglas