I have arrived in London OK and am excited to be here. The
olympic Village is pretty fun, check out some photos I posted on
facebook at the Matt Gentry Wrestling fan page for a very small
taste of London. To be honest, all my focus for the last few months
has been on my competition, so the time of the Opening Ceremonies
was in some ways a nice mental break where I can enjoy the actual
Games experience. Saturday, when competition begins it will
be back to a laser focus.
I just wanted to do a quick update, I have been getting
bombarded with well wishes, and also quite a few questions.
These are by far the most common so I thought I would answer
them all in one place.
When do you leave? A little late to answer, but July
Will you walk in the Opening Ceremonies? Just did. Only about
50% of the athletes actually walked from Team Canada because it is
so exhausting. We had to be ready at 8 pm, and returned after
1 AM and we were on our feet with no chance to rest the entire
time. It obviously isn't bad compared to what many people do
on a daily basis, but when you are trying to peak for a competition
in the coming days, a lot of athletes choose to skip it. I
don't compete for another 2 weeks though so I took part.
What were your impressions of the Opening? It was AWESOME.
Now the athletes didn't march in until the very end, so we
missed all the performances (I heard they had cows and goats?). but
just getting to walk with the whole world watching is overwhelming.
We have 2 returning Olympic medalists on our team (on the girls'
team, Carol Huynh and Tonya Verbeek) and they were put in the front
row, so we stayed right with them and got a ton of airtime on CTV!
I have had tons of facebook messages from people who saw me on TV.
Do you stay in the Olympic Village? We only stayed in the
Olympic Village until the day after the Opening, so a total of 2
nights. Now we have moved out and it is a good thing we are
moving out, the Olympic Village is BUZZING with energy and
excitement, and it is sometimes hard to focus with so much going
on. We are focusing and doing our last bit of training out in
the English countryside (more on that in another post later).
Seriously, I can hear sheep bleating and it smells vaguely
like cow pies this second.
When do you compete? On Friday, August 10 at 1 pm London time (8
hours ahead of Pacific Coast). The prelims will go about 2-3
hours and I can expect 3-4 matches. The finals begin at 6 pm
London time. The best place to watch the matches will likely
be online at a streaming service. You can either look it up
on CTV which is responsible for Team Canada coverage or themat.com
might have some information on wrestling specifically.
Do you know who you wrestle? No, we do a random draw at the time
of the weigh-in and are filled into a bracket. There are 19
wrestlers from 19 different countries competing and it is
essentially a single elimination tournament.
Are you excited? Yes. Duh.
Are you nervous? The short answer is yes, but in a good way. If
I weren't I probably a) should be nervous about not being nervous
or 2) wouldn't be human. They say that there is something
unique about every Olympics. For me, the mentality in
preparation has been very different than Beijing, and it has been
all positive. I had a lot of anxiety and pressure (from
myself) in Beijing and it kind of detracted from my experience.
After that experience and maturity, I am so much mentally
stronger, and the anxiety has been replaced with excitement.
Any shout-outs? My wife for all the sacrifices she's made for me
to train full-time, my family for their unconditional support, my
teammates for making it fun, my coaches for making me better, and
the Canadian Olympic Committee for making us feel like rock
Thanks to everyone for making this a special time. I have
been more than adequately supported in my journey.