Tales from the Torino Olympics

In English we refer to it as “Turin,” but people in and from Europe refer to the host city of the Winter Olympics as “Torino”.  Held in February of 2006 in northern Italy, I felt extremely honored to represent chiropractic in front of the world.

It’s an exquisite city and one exploding with charm and character.  Everything you can imagine is within reach and eyesight. From the breathtaking mountains that line the horizon, to the many Piazzas (“great buildings”) peppered throughout the town – everything has a story or whispers of some kind of historical significance.

My adventure began well before I stepped foot in ltaly. It started with a chain of emails exchanged between myself and five other chiropractors from various parts of the world’ We introduced ourselves virtually and diligently worked together to coordinate our accommodations and schedules so we could focus on more important things once we settled in.

On the day I arrived I met with the man who graciously rented me his apartment for my three-week stay. Lucky for me he was also an excellent guide and he gave me a quick overview of the city so that I would know where everything was in relation to my temporary home away from home, and how long it would take me to get from point to point. My apartment was a short five walking blocks to the park called Parco De Valentino’ where we all ventured to and from every day for work. The Armida Rowing Club, where we worked out of, was situated inside the park and is a famous center in Torino that was founded in the mid-1800s for rowing athletes. It sewed as a central hub for all the events and it was absolutely gorgeous. Visa donated over $800,000 to the center to renovate and prepare it for the Olympics, and they didn’t miss one detail. Thoughtfully, they even fully stocked the center with an abundance of food, wine, champagne and coffee. The Club also served as the central meeting center for the world’s dignitaries visiting Turino, and none of them went away hungry or thirsty.

Every day was a new adventure. One afternoon, Prince Albert of Monaco and other world representatives gathered for a luncheon to discuss future tourism and Olympic business. The World Olympian staff was extremely warm and friendly and they welcomed our chiropractic team with open arms.  They went above and beyond to accommodate our needs, even though I found out that they were receiving some challenges and mixed-messages from the Visa management staff about who was priority and who was not. I met Olympic athletes from past and present games. When we weren’t treating athletes we kept our eyes focused on the doors because we knew that at any moment someone would walk in and we would be ready to greet them and look our best. An Ortho Physician from Atlanta, GA, was always nearby and he represented the Dekalb Training center.  Another interesting thing about working in the center was that I had to be ready for a photo shoot at a moment’s notice because freelance and professional photographers alike were constantly snapping pictures in an effort to document and support future Olympics. Not to mention that The Today Show aired every day from The Piazza San Carlo between 1 and 3 PM and I was able to ham for the cameras more than once!

Security was a constant issue and taken very seriously. We wore a picture ID at all times, which allowed us entrance to the Club. I always felt safe and secure.

Medals presentation ceremony took place every evening, followed by fireworks that lit up the night. Every medals ceremony concluded with a concert by well-known performers like Bocelli, Ricky Martin, Anastasia and Whitney Houston, just to name a few.

While I thoroughly enjoyed working at the Club and treating the athletes, I also appreciated and valued my days off. I visited every museum I could find, and in the evenings I enjoyed as many theater performances as I could possibly fit into my schedule. Overall, I found every little detail about my trip to Turino rewarding and captivating, from the delicious food and exquisite wines, to the excitement generated by the Olympic competitions. Most importantly, I was proud of the contribution I made by providing excellent chiropractic care to anyone who needed me. The energy in Torino was intoxicating and something I will never forget.

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