To represent the country is every athlete’s dream. It’s the cream of the crop. But behind every success, there are people working, supporting, and helping them achieve their ultimate goal. One of those people are the physicians.
Dr. Tina Atkinson was one of the team physicians particularly with Team Canada’s Women Hockey Team for the Beijing 2022. Despite the plans for training camps and exhibition games as early as 2019, everything changed when the pandemic arrived. Here is a sharing of Dr. Atkinson’s journey to the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
With the Covid-19 situation, World Championship games were cancelled and the team were not able to train together. Dr. Atkinson’s role in the last three years has been the usual medical and injury issues with the addition to create Covid-19 protocols. The team had to be in a bubble to be able to practice and she had to make sure everyone is safe.
“We got through the first two waves and then Omicron arrived two months before the Olympics. We were back in isolation, some recovering from COVID-19 and staying away from family over Xmas, and others isolating trying not to catch COVID-19. Our focus was on doing everything we could to not test positive in the six weeks prior to our arrival in China. As well, those who had previously tested positive needed to meet the Chinese criteria to even be able to travel”, she shared.
Two weeks before their departure to China, the team had to move in a hotel for isolation and must have negative PCR test before training again. The team became rapid test experts due to daily testing. Because of the very strict test result in China, plus the Canadian Olympic Committee, they had to have three negative test result within 96 hours.
Upon the arrival at the Vancouver airport, the team was rapid tested before leaving for Beijing. They were again tested in Beijing upon arrival as they saw first-hand the Covid protocol in China. After cleared, they were transported to the Beijing Village.
“It seemed very normal to eat in our own plexiglass cubicle next to our teammates. Watching the other sports on Chinese TV, using a burner phone for emails and WhatsApp video calls with family at home became our new normal as well. Olympic staff completed over 69,000 PCR tests per day in the closed-loop system and every day I hoped that no one on our team or staff would test positive and have to go into isolation as per the Beijing Public Health orders. As the days went by, we felt safer and worried less about getting a new COVID infection and settled into the routine of going to the rink for practice and games.”
The stress and problems during their journey didn’t stop even the Olympic games formally started. There was one of their games where their opponent’s result didn’t come in time knowing that they had some positive tests and players are in isolation. They advised their players to wear their masks throughout the game which the players followed without hesitation.
Curious about how the team finished the Olympics? Go to https://www.yourdoctors.ca/blog/healthy-living/pandemic-olympics
Reference and photo credits to https://www.yourdoctors.ca/