7th September 2016
Jo Butterfield's Third Rio Blog
I have now arrived in Rio after spending time in the holding camp in Belo. It’s still incredible to think I’m here. So far there has been a really good team atmosphere and bond, everyone has been having fun and the whole experience so far has been very relaxed.
It’s a lot bigger than any other Championships I’ve been to, it’s hard to explain but it’s the first time I’ve been involved in a multi-sport environment. You see loads of people in the same kit, but you don’t always know who they are. I know most of the wheelchair rugby team from my time playing in the leagues; I’ve got some good friends there so it was nice to see them.
The kit certainly helps with that whole team idea, there will always be a bit of banter between the different sports, but it creates such a great atmosphere. I love meeting new people and finding out about the different sports. When we were in Belo we had a couple of movie nights and a quiz night which brings everybody together.
I still feel like I’m in the honeymoon period of my career, and I really want to enjoy the whole experience as much as possible, but it’s not always that simple. I like the fact that I have a bit of first games naivety and I’ve not got the opportunity to compare it to London 2012. I do feel as a team we have got the best support possible around us. Paula (Dunn) and everybody have been very supportive, so that helps with your confidence. I also now however, that I am going in to the Games as the current World Champion and world record holder so I do feel a bit of pressure. I’m determined to make sure I perform the best I possibly can, and if I can do that I’ll be happy.
I’ve been fairly dominant in my sport for the last couple of years which brings me confidence. Losing isn’t something that is very familiar to me, and is going to happen to everyone eventually, but I don’t plan on doing it any time soon!
Training has been going really well out here so far, my first couple of sessions we realised I was in personal best shape, so I’m feeling good and ready to fight for the Gold medal. At the European Championships in Grosseto earlier in the year I broke the world record, and it felt effortless, so I know I’ve got what it takes.
It helps that I’m a bit of geek when it comes to training in the respect that whatever I can do, I’ll do to the best of my ability. Whether it is eating the right things, getting enough sleep or doing my gym sessions I am obsessed with doing it right in preparation for any competition.
I’m competing in both the club throw and discus here in Rio, as I did in the 2015 World Championships. All my focus is going towards the club throw at the moment, that’s my specific class and my main event. It’s nice having the discus to compete in because I really enjoy it and it represents a different challenge, but it also frustrates me as I know there is so much more there to come. At the moment I struggle with the technical side of it as holding the discus is a real challenge for me. In time I’m sure I’ll find ways to improve in the event, but it will take longer to master.
My goal for that event is to throw a season’s PB. I’ve really struggled this season trying to throw bigger distances because I’ve changed my throw slightly, which has made it better but also more inconsistent. If I can achieve that goal I will be happy, but it will depend on how everyone else performs on the day as to whether I can medal.
In terms of the team as a whole there is such a good feeling in the camp at the moment, and I know everyone is determined to perform well and make a statement. We won so many medals in Grosseto and I’m 100% confident we will break some records here. We are a very strong team and we look out for each other. Everyone is ready for it to start now and for the medals to start rolling in.
Whilst I’m out here I want to try and see as much sport as possible when I’m not competing. My competitions finish on the 14th and that’s the day when the wheelchair rugby starts, so I definitely want to catch some of that and support the guys. I’m desperate to watch Georgie Hermitage smash it as well. I made a promise to Derek Rae that I would go and watch him compete in the marathon on the last day, but that might have been influenced by the opportunity to be on Copacabana beach and sit in the sun!
I’m so excited for the competition to start now and show you all what I can do. Thanks so much for all of your support; it means the world to me.