For young athletes with an eye on Paris 2024 or Los Angeles 2028, this summer has been a valuable learning experience.
Despite being a Games like no other, Tokyo 2020 has given athletes with their own Olympic and Paralympic dreams the chance to study how Britain and the world’s finest athletes prepare, perform and react in the glare of the Games spotlight.
We’ve asked a number of our younger members what lessons they have learnt from Tokyo, that they are intent on putting into practice as the Paris Games begin to come into view over the next few years. Here, boxer Delicious Orie tells of his experience as travelling sparring partner in Tokyo.
“The biggest thing I aimed to take away from the Tokyo Olympic experience was to be able to feel what it’s really like to be in a preparation camp for such a massive world event – both the training aspect, and the recovery side of things.
“I believed that the experience would allow me to better prepare myself for when it’s my turn to compete on the same stage, as I’d get a better idea of the training intensity and level of rest and recovery that I need to be able to go again.
“Flying into an Olympic city and witnessing the Olympic signs and banners around made me feel like, even though I wasn’t competing, my hard work is paying off and I’m doing the correct things in my sporting career to get here to help my team. This feeling is incredibly rewarding, and motivates me to continue to work hard.
“From my team-mates competing in Tokyo, I have learnt how important it is to pay full attention to every minor detail in training, as well as being able to balance this with a calm and relaxed mind. My team-mates showed focus in their preparation by perfecting their craft whilst being able to switch off mentally at times to boost physical and mental recovery.
“When they weren’t training or competing, some of my team-mates would have a go at other sports where we continue being competitive amongst ourselves but at the same time have fun doing it. Some team-mates would spend some time on their own or talk with family back at home. This taught me that rest and recovery is just as important as training – it’s all part of the preparation and lead up.
“I also learnt that there is more to a Games than just training and competing. There is an increase in media interest with an obligation to do numerous interviews before and after competitions, just as an example. I learntthat this is part of sport and is very important. It has taught me to prepare for interviews at all times and highlighted the need to be able to speak clearly, to be understood by the audience.
“The Olympic environment is another level compared to any other competition I have been in before. The sparring, training and overall physical preparation element of it all is more or less the same to what I am used to, however, the biggest difference is the team aspect. You truly feel part of one whole team and family with the other sports participating in the Olympics. The facilities provided are second to none with everything possible available for an athlete to utilise in order to prepare for competition. The Olympic set up is truly the real deal!
“My whole experience was developed further as Japan is so far away, and very different to life here in the UK. This led me to many pleasant surprises! The locals were extremely polite, the food was amazing and the high tech toilets where amongst my most memorable experiences! Overall, an amazing venue and place hosting the Olympic Games.
“The biggest thing I have taken away from my Olympic experience is that relaxation is just as important as training to aid recovery. The hard work is done before, what’s left to do just before a competition is to sharpen up mentally and physically, and just relax into the next few big days of competition.
“Being a part of such a spectacular event has only made me hungrier to strive towards that gold medal at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Living through the experience reinforced to me that there is no better feeling that to be able to represent and do your country proud.”