with Ella Nicholas
Canoe slalom athlete
It’s all happening. The Olympic Village is incredible.
It has been my home for nearly a week now and I love every minute of it.
Ella Nicholas’ days are packed full with training sessions and physio ahead of her Olympic debut race.
Team Cook Islands consists of eight athletes, which is the biggest team we have ever had, but is absolutely miniscule in comparison with the large nations.
At the moment I am the only COK athlete who has arrived so I have been spending my down time hanging out with the other slalom paddlers.
Most nights everyone heads to the ‘globe’ – which is the athlete entertainment area with lots of pool tables, FIFA, Wii, Xbox, games, a mini cinema and loads more activities to socialize with.
During the day I head to the whitewater course for training. It is about a 40 minute bus ride away and buses run every 30 minutes.
Everywhere you go security is paramount with the army and other security personnel stationed at every entry and exit doing very intense checks of everything – rather airport style.
It does make us feel very safe though.
Training sessions on the Olympic Course still have their ups and downs, but my paddling is definitely feeling more consistent.
Most days I have two white water sessions with physio and lunch in between, so we end up staying at the course for the majority of the day.
When we get back it is dinner time in the ridiculously massive dining hall.
Every night I have a nightmare trying to decide what I feel like – it seems like the choices are endless – European, Mediterranean, American, African, Caribbean, Halal, Indian, Asian, McDonalds and last but not least the ‘Best of Britain’ section.
I am however disappointed with the lack of an Oceania section. I could have done with a nice New Zealand rack of lamb or some Puke from the islands.
Very minor complaint, mind you, as they really have covered pretty much every base.
Everything is free in the village which takes a bit to get used to but I imagine by the end I will have forgotten what paying is.
My qualification race is in only six days so the count down really is on.
Until then, there is a lot going on – the team welcoming ceremony, the opening ceremony, demonstrations for the race course, etc. I imagine the time is going to fly by.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone back in Tauranga who has supported me by reading this column and in many other ways. I hope I can do everyone back home proud.
Kia Manuia, Ella.