Tim Kneale August Blog
The Rio Olympic Games 2016
The 28th of July soon arrived and myself and the rest of the GB Shooting team met at Heathrow Terminal 5 ready for our departure. There was a great atmosphere around the place as many other athletes were also flying that day.
Ed ling, Steve Seligsman, Paul Hughes, Myself. Potential Stowaway
The original plans were to fly in the GB holding camp an hour north of Rio to train before entering the village but as the competition ranges were due to be open we headed straight to the Olympic Village to get settled in and explore the surroundings. Lucky for us the shooting team had its own apartment in the Team GB high rise where the 5 of us were to live for the 2 weeks until we had all competed. The British Olympic Association had done a great job with the block providing sofas, a TV, tea/coffee facilities and also some welcome gifts of a dressing gown, Team GB mascot cuddly toy and some great posters around the rooms. It really made me feel part of something much bigger and also part of the team.
Outside they had also brought a large TV, deckchairs, a table tennis table and pool table which lots of the other teams soon became envious of. The BOA had done a great job making the place very homely and creating a relaxed environment where everyone felt comfortable.
It took me a few days to learn the layout of the village as it was so big. There was the dining hall, casual dining, the international zone and the entertainment centre, transport mall, gym, laundry and 3 exits to get to grips with. It was easy to lose time in the village as there was so much going on and lots of queues. This was great as there wasn’t a great deal of spare time to stop and think about the occasion too much.
View from Transport Mall The international zone
After a day to get sorted and over the flight it was time to get on the ranges and re-familiarise myself from the April event. Nothing had changed much since April apart from some temporary grandstands behind 2 of the layouts and a lot more cameras had arrived. As each athlete has to win their spot within shooting there was a smaller number of entries but all of a very high calibre! During training there was a little bit of gamesmanship occurring with theatrical waving to imaginery crowds after a perfect score was hit from certain individual. My philosophy has always been you can hit all the targets in training but it means nothing in reality.
During the period running up to competition we had the opportunity to attend the British House, an old villa which the BOA had hired for the period of the games for entertaining sponsors, friends and family and also for athletes to visit and celebrate post event. I attended with some of the shooters for a team photo on the steps of the villa, with Andy Murray waving the flag and Princess Anne in attendance.
British House under Christ the Redeemer With replica Olympic Torch
Opening Ceremony was 3 days before I competed so I got to attend where others didn’t want to risk a late night the day before competing. Another great experience to walk out into the stadium viewed by the World and represent the country. A fantastic but surreal atmosphere being greeted by more people cheering than live on the Isle of Man!
Andy Murray In the Stadium
The day prior to competition was just the same as any other with 5 rounds of training and an early finish. This was great and a good opportunity to work on a few minor points before competition and also the chance to get back to the village and relax before the main event. A 6 o'clock alarm call and arrival at the shooting ground for 8 was welcomed with windy, dull conditions which was very different to what we had been experiencing up to that point.
I was shooting next to the World number one, James Willet, and had Beijing gold medallist Glenn Eller also in my squad. James kicked off with a 30/30 which certainly helped focus the mind but my 28 was a good solid start. I followed this up with a 27, 29 and my own 30/30 to leave me topping the qualification table with one round to go. Unfortunately I became distracted and posted a 25, not great but still good enough to put me in the Olympic final and a chance at a medal.
The semi-final was made up of myself, Steve Scott (GBR), James Willet (AUS), Andy Lowe (GER), Fehaid Aldeehani (IOC) and Marco Innochenti (ITA). Fehaid scored 28 and Marco 27 to leave them in the gold/silver medal matches with Fehaid taking the Olympic title. Myself, Steve and James tied on 26 and had a sudden death shoot off. I hit my pair, James missed one and Steve nailed his pair also to make it a GBR v GBR bronze medal match. Unfortunately I dropped 2 targets and Steve shot a perfect 30/30 to take the Bronze medal. A great result for shooting to win 2 medals at the games and for our medal match to be shown live on BBC 1 at prime time, but also bitterly disappointing to have come so close to winning a medal at my first Olympics.
My parents had made the trip over to Rio from the Island so it was great to spend a few days with them after the event and do some sightseeing. There was also some time for a celebration of what was a great result for my first Olympic Games.
Mum and dad on SugarloafAndy Murray winning Gold
After some late nights and watching top level sports it was soon time to get ready for the closing ceremony. A damp evening did not detract from the festivities and the show put on by Rio was pretty spectacular with a carnival atmosphere and fireworks backed up by a party back in the village hosted by the BOA at the accommodation block until the early hours.
Just riding a parrot Entering the stadium
Once we had packed up and made it to the airport most of the team boarded a charter flight destined for Heathrow. It was a noisy flight with much of the celebrations being continued over the Atlantic. Upon arrival however the party soon ended as 950 identical suitcases came out at baggage collection together! There was a reception party gathered at the airport to welcome us back to the UK as the most successful GB Olympic Team ever.
950 red bagsBA Party Plane
I have a few more events in the UK but once these are over will be looking forwards to having a break and taking stock of the last 2 busy years before making plans for the next 4 years leading up to Toyko. I heard the BOA are already out there getting things ready for the Team.
Thank you for all the support over the year, I hope to see you soon.