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Physiotherapist returns from Olympics trip

24 Aug 2021 16:41:03
Brian Olympics 2021

A physiotherapist at the Trust has returned from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after a stint working with some of the top athletes in the world.

Brian Gilmore, who took the long trip to Japan to work as a Doping Control Officer, is usually a member of the Trust’s Community Hospital Admission Avoidance Service (CHAT) in UECC.

“There is an international team of Doping Control Officers who worked at the games”, said Brian. “Many of the team selected have worked at major international multisport events before. I have been fortunate enough to have previously worked at the Commonwealth Games, Euro 96, Rugby World Cups and London 2012. But Tokyo 2020 was a high point; not even all the daily PCR testing, 14 days of quarantine and eLearning put me off.”

Brian was allocated to Rowing, Kayaking, Canoeing and Triathlon events. On most shifts he worked with people from Japan, Brazil, Hungary, Thailand and Fiji.

Brian said: “Working at the finish line and being able to see how hard the athletes compete for medals was exhilarating. Chaperoning them through their cooling down period, their media commitments and even their medal ceremony was a unique experience, before escorting them into anti-doping to provide their sample.”

The Doping Control Officers collected urine and blood samples from competitors to submit to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) laboratory for analysis, often at no notice to the athlete.

Brian said: “Occasionally this would require us to wake athletes up from 6am. Giving Olympians the opportunity to provide ‘clean’ samples or even have an adverse analytical finding recorded and potentially be withdrawn from the Games is an essential service.

“My work in Locality Therapy is not too dissimilar, in a way,” said Brian. “Good customer care is a focus and we all have to work diligently within our large team to ensure our hard team work has the best outcome.

“Now I am back at work, it is great to chat with colleagues and hear what they thought of the games. We shared an experience of sport, but viewed from very different perspectives.”