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Physio staff take centre stage at London games

29 March 2012 - 2:03pm

Physiotherapy staff are learning if they have been selected to work with British and international athletes during the upcoming London Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Five physiotherapy students at the University of Brighton (above) have been selected to dance at the opening ceremony on 27 July.

Many others have been picked from tens of thousands nominated for the role of torch bearers and ceremony participants.

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Lizzie Lane and Louise Curly from Coventry Physiofirst Centre have been chosen from hundreds of applicants to work with athletes. Ms Lane has been working in sports physiotherapy and with British gymnasts at Olympic and Commonwealth events for more than 20 years.

At London 2012 she will be working with the handball teams. She told her local paper: ‘It will be fantastic to be part of the games. We are going to get access to venues that people can’t even buy tickets for.’

Past experience

Ms Curly has travelled to championships around the world with rhythmic gymnasts, but this will be her first experience of an Olympic event.

CSP steward Mick Heys, who works at the Chesterfield Royal, will be a physio based at the Excel Arena and member Natalie Stephenson, who is based at Physio-logical private clinic in Hampshire, will work at the sailing events in Weymouth.

MSc rehabilitation science student Lowri Seager described it as ‘a great opportunity’.  ‘My head of year and others are all very supportive and encouraging,’ she added. Also selected were James Whatley, Rory Mee, Sam Bourgein and Cathal Smyth.

Ceremony participants

Colchester General Hospital stroke unit physiotherapist Natalie Barrett who put her name forward ‘for a laugh’ has been picked to take part in the opening and closing ceremonies.

She successfully came through two auditions which included learning a simple dance sequence and adding her individual flare to it and learning a mime.

‘I can remember watching the Beijing Olympics and thinking how amazing it would be when they came to the UK,’ Ms Barrett said.

‘I heard a piece on the radio inviting people to put their name forward to take part in the ceremonies. I only did it for a laugh but now I’m beginning to think it’s fate.’

Details of the ceremonies are being kept secret and at this stage she knows only that her duties will involve leading athletes.

Torch bearers

Meanwhile, Gemma Passmore, a specialist children's physiotherapist at Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick, Shetland, will be an Olympic torch bearer in Cardiff on 25 May.

Rob Waite, deputy physiotherapy manager at BMI The Chaucer Hospital in Canterbury, has secured a place to carry the torch when it comes to Kent in July.

He said: ‘It’s going to be so very special, I’ll be running through my local community and spotting people I know in the crowds.’

Bhanu Ramaswamy, an independent consultant physiotherapist in intermediate care, will be a torch bearer in Sheffield on 26 June.


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