Tag: Shenzhen

Sketches from Shenzhen

Long breaks in heptathlon competition schedules are perfect opportunities to put pen to paper. Watching lines flow out from behind a pen is an almost necessary mental release after being incredibly engaged during intense competition, in preparation for events still to come.

When a nap eluded me in the middle of Day 1 at the 2011 FISU World University Games, I reclined on some mats in the starkly white multi event room somewhere deep within the stadium, and drew.

The image above depicts my lounging socked feet and my name written repeatedly in Mandarin, during attempts to memorize the symbols. I’d be surprised if it still accurately says “zhan ni fo” as I was taught most closely resembles the phonetics of my name, and not some morphed unintelligible version…

The first several images in the gallery below are from the same training/competition log: wolves accompanying some track and field technical cues and my reflections from portions of the competition. The final few images are from another notebook: my view of the village and stadium from my apartment balcony (the stadium is the funky building in the left background), a bonsai tree from the Cultural Centre, and more Mandarin symbol-writing practice.

Before I knew it, wolves appeared in my training log during a quiet moment between events.
Ears and eyes are my favourites.

Prehep focus session…and another eye.

The (slightly warped) Athlete’s Village (stadium in the left background!) and a FISU luggage tag…Start Here, Make a Difference.
A pretty bonsai tree in the Cultural Centre where we learned some Mandarin.
Zhan ni fo

The FISU Summer Universiade is the second largest sporting event in the world (next only to the Olympics) with almost 10,000 athletes from 150 countries taking part. Every single detail, from the accreditation process upon arrival, to the apartments, cafeterias, opening and closing ceremonies, and the competitions themselves culminated in an incredible experience. For a glimpse into the atmosphere in the stadium, check out a past blog post.

More FISU Adventures

Another great day!!!

Hep tomorrow…


Trackies go to a Basketball Game

It was really cool competing in the stadium last night! The lights made it as bright as day (and as hot) and the seats were surprisingly full. The sound pouring down to the track surface swelled to a movie-worthy roar whenever a Chinese athlete cleared the bar in the men’s high jump, or moved up to lead a middle distance race. I found my eyes flitting all over, from the crowds to the races to the video camera gliding by overhead and the little flock of birds restlessly hanging around the field that probably nested in the walls and whom we were keeping up past their bedtimes. In hindsight, I was likely a little tense and more in an observing mode than an attack mode. I am glad to say I was successful in fully taking in the entire experience, but as is the case with most things, a fine balance must be achieved, and will be achieved come the start of the heptathlon on Friday!

So in lieu of a long jump final tonight, I joined a group of other athletes and went to watch team Canada play basketball. We missed the single “spectator” bus from the athlete’s village so had to carve our own path…turns out we’re pretty much experts at it.

We were only gone a few hours but it felt like days…

FISU – Photos and Opening Ceremonies

I finally have some time to post some pictures! It has been a busy couple of days and I’m glad to relax in the air conditioning for the afternoon. It is incredibly hot and humid here…I thought I would be ready to handle it, given South Western Ontario’s weather stint over the last month or so, but it is instantly uncomfortable even stepping onto the balcony off of our rooms. It makes warming up a breeze, though!

I feel just about acclimated to the time zone…with the 12 hour difference I didn’t bother changing my watch, even with the existing 24h setting. It’s a strange reminder of home while still being functional here!

Like everything else, the cafeteria is a sight to see! I think there are several dining halls, but habit brings us back to the same one every time, and we have absolutely no impetus for change. From “Mediterranean” to “Asian” to “International” to “Muslim”, plus salad bars, desserts, drinks, and, yes, McDonalds, there’s always something (and by something I mean MANY things) for everyone. For some reason, the Canadian track athletes each received a $70 dollar credit for McDonalds…but without Mcflurries being served I’m not sure mine is going to get much use…

The opening ceremonies yesterday were incredible. The athletes came to the conclusion that we will be slightly jaded come the Olympic ceremonies, when we each qualify in the coming years. The experience began in our rooms with departing time announcements alternating with the 2011 Shenzhen theme song (“come on, come on!” is all I can catch…) resonating through the residence hallways. We gathered outside and were led through lines and lines of idling buses, scrambling onto the several marked “Canada”. The trip to Shenzhen harbour, where the HUGE brand new stadium is located, was long, but several times throughout the ride we were greeted with hundreds of people gathered at intersections and strung along sections of the closed roads. They all waved and cheered, and I was fortunate to get the seat at the back of the bus with the only window that opened and was able to wave my flag and shout back while taking some great video footage.

We arrived under a darkening sky and were led into some tunnels below the stadium. It is probably more accurate to say “channeled” into the tunnels since the path was lined with hundreds and hundreds of volunteers welcoming us, many asking for the Canadian pins hanging on our accreditation lanyards. We popped out into the night and waited on a huge dark ramp facing the stadium. The show began and the whole wall we faced proved to be hollow with about 300 people in led light-lined suits working panels that faced the crowd inside. A crack formed in the middle and the two sections glided apart, fully exposing the lively interior of the beast. The alphabetized list began, always longer than I expect, and the sweaty mass of athletes began to crawl forward, colour blocked sections branching off the main horde one at a time.

We inched forward, tripping over the tracks for the wall sections when we finally reached the threshold. “CANADA” was called and we were let loose to follow our flag bearer, a swimmer from the Yukon, down into the light. Our team flooded the walkway to the stage in the centre of the building amid the incredible noise and blinding lights, and we relished in the energy and enthusiasm reverberating from the packed stands. We filed down to the ground level, past cameras projecting our faces to the big screen on the wall, and were guided to our seats.

The remainder of events is a blur…the completion of the athlete’s parade, speeches, performances, and the lighting of the torch. After the extreme emotional high of entering the stadium and still off a regular sleeping pattern, the track delegation faded hard, many falling asleep on their own laps in the backless seats. After all was said and done, under glittery confetti clouds swirling down from the top of the walls the stands emptied back into the hidden tunnels and the buses swallowed the athletes and coaches back up for the return trip.

What a lovely night!

Workouts are picking up again after a couple of easier days…my legs finally feel like the invisible ankle weights have been taken off! I’m REALLY looking forward to long jump qualifying on Tuesday night…but I must keep on an even keel until then…

Zàijiàn, until next time!!!


These games are rediculous and they haven’t even started!

We arrived last night to a shiny, brand new campus, built for these games to be converted into a new university come September…and wondering where Tuesday went! It was a long day of traveling, with my only complaint being that some old mosquito bites got itchy around hour 9 of the 12 hour hop from Toronto to Beijing. The time difference is proving hard to adapt to!

Today we did a workout at the throws practice factility at a huge high school with it’s own stadium, had a team Canada track and field meeting, a quick nap, and a reception for the whole Canadian delegation at a beautiful hotel. Pictures to come soon!

Can’t wait to hit the track next week!