London, England
Monday 31st December 2012
So here I sit, with 2012 hurrying out the door like the guest you wished never had to leave. It barely seems a few weeks since I ushered in the New Year at home in Edinburgh hosted by my friends Steve & Abbie (Currie) at their new house, with laughter, banter & a whole heap of great expectation. Believe me, the last 12 months haven't disappointed, with experiences at both work & play making me realise how fortunate I really am to live the life I have chosen - I almost can't fathom out how much I managed to pack into such a short space of time.

So before we all usher 2013 in with aims of building on the recent past, please bear with me whilst I indulge on a quick recap of 2012 with my top 5 experiences. I had initially intended to do these in some semblance of order but really such a ranking would be completely unnecessary (& just too damn hard!!!).

1. The Olympic Experience

Well, of course, this was what the huge clamour of this year was all about as we waited for the calendar to tick down towards the summer. Who would have thought the level of success enjoyed by Team GB would have been so phenomenal? Who would have guessed that London could have hosted such a memorable party with such style, efficiency & panache? Who would have anticipated that so many people would be so inspired by the achievements of a group of hard working collectives, that even managed to lift the spirits of a recently downcast nation?

On a personal level, as a Team GB athletics sports physiotherapist, spectator & part-time resident of London, I will remember the summer months spent on the Olympics "project" with great pride & fondness. The manner in which so many dealt with pressure, expectation, success, elation, failure & disappointment was an honour to witness & for those that didn't handle the situations quite so well, I learnt a lot from those people too. I also learnt a lot about myself, about where I excel & where I can strive to improve yet further.

Team GB 2012 Holding Camp

2. The Diamond League Series

Scattered throughout the summer & sandwiching the Olympics in between, the series of Diamond League nights that I covered around the World were a resounding highlight. Yes, the events are short, intense, very hard work & tiring but on those trips I don't have to work with those that struggle with the pressure of supporting events & can just focus on doing the best work I can, that is required by the athletes to perform.  Often the big group situations, are inevitably accompanied by distracting politics, with some always likely to make more of a drama out of things than they really are. If problems arise on the Diamond League tour, they can be dealt with quickly & efficiently, with a minimum of fuss to achieve a positive resolution...such as Lawrence (Okoye) leaving his accreditation & discus in his hotel room as the bus pulled away to the stadium in Lausanne!!!

In addition, the time spent with the coaches, athletes & managers is often far more relaxed & positive in these environments, whilst the crowds that support the events are so enthusiastic, especially in Italy, Belgium & Switzerland.

Lausanne Diamond League 2012

3. The North American Tour

After the culmination of the summer of sport, I was so fortunate to enjoy a mix of work & play during my visit to New York, Vancouver, Seattle, Maui, Oahu & San Diego. I met some great people, shared laughs with friends & family, learnt heaps about the presentation & management of tendinopathy, spent time sharing knowledge & experience with foot & ankle consultants, athletic trainers & sports physiotherapists & enjoyed the incredible beauty of the islands of Hawai'i.

I returned from the North American shores reinvigorated, relaxed & more passionate than ever about the work I do, whilst having satisfied the dream of a lifetime in reaching Maui to walk the volcanic features & swim in the breaks.

Maui Sunset

4. The Superstars Filming

Despite only lasting 3 days in the November rain, the time spent working on the filming of the Superstars production with IMG/BBC was some of the most fun I have had in my time as a sports physiotherapist. Not only was it an incredible opportunity to spend a few hours & copious laughter with such an amazing group of athletes but the fact that the stress & anxiety, that are often influencing factors at major championships, were absent ensured that everyone threw themselves into the experience without inhibition...& yet the competitive edges that set these guys apart from the also rans still shone through.

Whilst I may not have been well voiced in the exploits of several of the contenders at the start of the weekend, by the time I headed out of Bath on the Sunday evening, I had a massive respect for each one of them & will follow their careers closely from now on. In fact, as we drove back, Chrissy (Ohuruogu) & I were already hatching plans to go & watch their next fights, races & competitions.

For those of you that have missed the initial airing of the programme, can still find the recording on the BBC iPlayer facility.

2012 Superstars

5. Nick's Wedding

I was hugely honoured to be asked to be Best Man for Nick (More's) wedding. Nick & his family have been such an important part of my life since the age of 11, so it was an incredibly poignant occasion that really hit home how far we have come over the years. We are no longer kids without responsibilities...well, at least, Nick isn't!!!! A lot of my other close friends have been married in recent years & each ceremony is immensely special for a variety of reasons but the bond that has developed between Nick & I over the last 25 years obviously added another dimension to the proceedings.

The Best Man Speech was a privilege to write & although more nerve-racking than any presentation, lecture or seminar I have ever delivered, was an incredibly rewarding gift to be able to present...especially seeing as it appeared to be well received.

So now, with a fond wave goodbye, 2012 is consigned to the rich & colourful history of my life & I am ready to wholeheartedly embrace 2013. I have a feeling that this will be an incredibly challenging year, with some significant changes likely to occur over the next few months but I am excited at the progress I will make & success I will achieve if I can work hard at the opportunities that are beginning to present themselves already.

My good friend, Steve (White) sent me a typically motivational message earlier this evening & I will leave you to your celebrations with his wise words & my best wishes ringing in your ears:

"May this coming year bring us all health, joy, love, peace, happiness, laughter, success, trustworthy friends & great & forever. We've all got what it takes to accomplish whatever we set our minds to, so, let's be ourselves & welcome all new challenges; recall our past achievements; trust our judgements; have faith in our abilities; desire only the best & affirm all our strengths! Here's to a happy, healthy & successful 2013!!!!"

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