i arrived in ostia which is a suburb of rome, italy on may 6. i am here to watch the first olympic qualification tournament which is used to select 4 athletes from each weight class who will get to compete in china. some athletes, like me, have already qualified through the 2007 world championships or the continental championships. there will be 20 athletes per weight at the olympics.
i am here with my coach, slavi stanev, who came all the way from bulgaria to help me prepare for the olympics. he was in calgary working with me last summer and for 6 weeks last fall. he returned to calgary in february 2008 and will be with me until china.
my therapist, murray heber, is also here with me. he will travel with me for a good part of the next 3 months. murray has been working with me for the last few years and i wouldn't be able to train the way i do without his help.
3 other canadians are here trying to earn their tickets to china. i am glad they are here to keep me company. the canadians who don't qualify at this tournament will stay here for 2 weeks to train before the second [and last] qualification tournament in serbia. i will stay in ostia for the next 2 weeks as well. i will be training with the italian and hungarian teams. then i will compete in a tournament in italy before going to france to train for a week.