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Never a dull moment at Whistler

10 February 2010

It started with a visit from the doctor and ended with a birthday cake, and there was plenty in between - just another day in the life of the Australian team at Whistler Olympic Village.

Australian team doctor Peter Braun actually arrived at Whistler on Sunday afternoon, having come up from his Games base in Vancouver to check on the bobsledders, alpine skiers and biathlete Alex Almoukov, and he stayed overnight to help a couple of athletes test the progress of recovery from niggling injuries.

Meanwhile luge competitor Hannah Campbell-Pegg rose bright and early to head to Vancouver to pay a visit to Aspenwood Elementary School, which had adopted Australia as its Games team and nation. The children had learnt to sing Advance Australia Fair and Waltzing Matilda, researched and written profiles of Australian Olympians, drawn pictures of Australian landmarks and even created a Great Barrier Reef presentation.

Some athletes were training: Almoukov having his second day of skiing and shooting at the biathlon course at Whistler Olympic Park, and snowboard cross racer Steph Hickey, taking to the sunlit, snowy slopes for the third day, after coming to Whistler from the snow-challenged snowboard host location at West Vancouver.

The bobsleigh crew – Jeremy Rolleston, Chris Spring, Duncan Harvey, Duncan Pugh and Anthony Ryan – paid their first visit to the Whistler Sliding Centre, where they did some sprints and start training in and alongside the container in which the three sleds are being stored ahead of their first track-based training sessions later in the week.

Like everyone else associated with the Australian team, their thoughts were also with Astrid Loch-Wilkinson and Cecilia McIntosh, appearing before a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing in Vancouver in a last-ditch bid to claim a place in the women’s bobsleigh. The Whistler Village Manager, AOC Director of Sport Fiona de Jong, went to Vancouver to present the AOC’s case.

Not far from the CAS hearing, cross country skiers Esther Bottomley, Paul Murray and Ben Sim, having arrived from Calgary, were being outfitted with their team gear at the uniform distribution centre, the first stage of being welcomed into the Vancouver 2010 fold by familiar Australian faces.

After Almoukov returned from his training and grabbed some lunch, he accompanied alpine skiers Craig Branch and Jono Brauer on the short trip in to picturesque Whistler village to be interviewed by the Nine Network’s Tony Jones, based at the mountain venue for the duration of the Games.

While Branch and Brauer then ventured to Creekside to check on their skis, Almoukov returned to the Olympic Village just in time to welcome his cross-country friends into the Australian quarters.

Esther's Birthday Cake

At the end of a long and eventful day, many of the Aussies came together and made their way across to the dining hall around 7pm and, just as they were finishing their meals, they were pleasantly surprised to see a birthday cake appear out of nowhere, and they joined in a hearty rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to a slightly embarrassed birthday girl, Esther Bottomley.

Just another day at home at Whistler Olympic Village.

Murray Brust
Team Media Liaison - Whistler

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