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
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and potentially be withdrawn from the Games is an essential service.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.”