An honour and a privilege!
Two years ago while having lunch in our staff room my colleague and Podiatrist Ian Griffiths casually said” I am thinking of volunteering to work at the London Olympic Games”. After coming through a stringent interview process he was selected ahead of some other very experienced candidates. Last week and 2 years on I caught up with him to find out what it was like.
How did you get selected to work at the Olympics?
It was a fairly long process, with the initial application form being completed and submitted back in 2010. Then I had to attend an interview held at the Excel centre in 2011. I found out I had been successful (one of 10 podiatrists chosen from all applicants) and had 3 full days of mandatory training to attend throughout the first half of this year. Once that was completed it was just about waiting for the opening ceremony to finish and the experience to begin!
What was it like in the polyclinic?
The polyclinic was a newly built 4 storey building which in legacy will serve as a hospital for the local area. It was truly interdisciplinary with an open door policy. The Podiatry ‘department’ was on the first floor in between the Sports Physicians and the Musculoskeletal Radiologists and also along from the Physiotherapists. There was full and quick access onsite to X-Rays and MR scans, there were ice baths and several antigravity treadmills. Not to mention flat screen TVs everywhere so that no one missed too much of the action…
How did you feel about treating the world’s best athletes? Were you nervous?
I was not nervous about meeting and treating Olympians, as they are just normal people with normal anatomy. However it is fair to say they are on slightly different timelines and they have a very small window of opportunity for success so the psychology of their injury and the emotions involved can bring with them different types of pressure. And I must confess to a little bit of internal excitement with the first Team GB athlete I saw…
Did you come across any injuries you had not previously seen?
I didn’t, however it is fair to say the types of injuries were much more acute than I often see in my normal daily practice. Athletes were coming in as soon as they felt something was not quite right, whereas often in my usual clinics people will give things a while to self resolve so by the time I see them they have had the problem for several months, often longer. What I did see were athletes from lots of disciplines which I had not been exposed to before (such as Archery, Modern Pentathlon and Race walking) which was a great experience.
What does the future hold for you now that you are an Olympic medical team member?
Life has returned to normal now, and it is business as usual in my usual clinics. I made some great friends and new colleagues during the games, so perhaps future opportunities will come from that. It was such a great overall experience that I am tempted to apply for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014.
Sum up your experience…..
An honour and a privilege.
To make an appointment to see Ian please call 01277 246 400. Alternatively if you would like to know more about Ian please see:
Or to learn about what a Podiatrist does please see: