The question and answer session has closed.
ALFRED NKUMBI asked:
How does it feel like to be part of such an event and do you feel intimidated by other athlets?
I think most of the top athletes do what they love to do. That is why they train 5-6 hours for years, they love it. Obviously you don’t go from being in no competitions to the Olympics. You work your way through the ranks, you get older and you get better.
People will always try to intimidate you to veer away from your goals, but it is important to have focus and determination.
How difficult is it for an athlete to stay focused with all the activities that goes on at an olympic games?
How did you manage to stay focussed but also handle the pressure that came with being one of few South Africans that was expected to bring back a medal?
Lastly what do you think should be a realistic medal tally this year for SA?
As an athlete you prepare your whole life for this and that is why experience is so important. At national level you have a common understanding of what is expected and the same at world champs. The Olympics is different because they hype is bigger and it becomes a special challenge. Your goals have to be clear and your focus resolute. Your coach is like the jockey and you are the horse. They control your mindset and focus.
Obviously I am not being experienced in all sports, but if we win four or five medals, that would be great. In the pool, if we in two medals, that would be very good for us.
Proudly SA boy in China wishing you guys all the best
Question:I know some of the ''superstars'' rent massive houses and apartments for family and themselves in the host cities. What''s it like staying in the Olympic village and their rooms? They look pretty basic,from what I''ve seen first hand.
The Olympic village for me is what the Olympics is about. I stayed in the Olympic Village for every Olympics I competed in. It really depends on what your goals are and how you go about reaching them. It comes down to what your temperament is and what you need to achieve your goals.
One challenge is if you are from a small country and are knocked out early on, then they can make a noise. You can stand the same risk if you hire an apartment and your neighbor decides to have a party. The key is really how flexible you are to those changes.
Sergio Short asked:
After the great win by the Proteas over England in the first test match, and the main focus of there training in the Swiss alps being mental training would you consider some of their methods used prior to the Olympics?
Good luck and know that as a nation we are already proud of you.
Thank you very much for the well wishes.
When it comes to this level, most of the top competitors are on the same physical level, fitness level and seem genetically built for their events; they all have a gift. It is the mental side that really makes the difference.
I used to visulalise a lot and still do in daily life. The team is also important, including the coach, manager and even the physiotherapist because they can spend about one to two hours of quiet time with you. All these things make a difference at the Olympics.
Jonathan Sharp asked:
How often do you train? And what does your training entail? Do you focus on stroke correction more or the power of your strokes? Good Luck and All the best, we will be cheering you on!
Although I retired, I still exercise for 1-2 hours per day. As a competitive swimmer, I tried to make every stroke I took the best possible, even if I was focusing on fitness.
What is your prediction of the gold medals that you think we will win on the pool and who are those swimmers that will win.
I don’t like to talk about gold medals because the margin between gold, silver and bronze is so small. If we can win four or five medals, that would be great. The best chances in the pool are Chad Le Clos and Cameron Van Der Bergh.
Hi Ryk - what''s the feeling like in the SA camp? I hear the swimmers aren''t too happy at the moment, and it seems a bit strange with Sascoc aiming at 12 medals when we managed 1 in Beijing. What happened to under-promise, over-deliver? What would you be happy with overall - maybe 5-6 medals?
Charlie, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a great atmosphere, especially in the swimming camp.
Hi Ryk. WHat do athletes in general do to relax but stay focused at the same time? Also is there any bonding/correspondence between athletes after each olympic games - something like an ''Ex-Olympic Athletes Club'' knowing that some friendships are formed at such events? Thanx for your time & all the best to Team South Africa :)
Nice question Ismail.
The athletes do whatever works for them. This could be reading, playing video games. One thing swimmers do is to stay completely off their legs and conserve as much energy as possible.
You are absolutely right, some friendships formed at the Olympics last a lifetime. Some stay in contact through official organisations (like their national swimming organisations) or more informally.
Hi Ryk - can you spill the beans on the ''after parties'' at the Olympic Village? Are they as debauched as they are being made out to be (personal stories not necessary!).
There is a lot of media hype that is not necessarily true. The Olympics are two and a half weeks and the swimming finishes in the first week and a half. That means that the last eight days people let off a bit of steam because they have been training for four years. So yes they have a bit of fun, but it is really dependent on the athlete and what the country allows.
Hi Ryk, is the Olympics almost the ''be all and end all'' for swimmers? A few of the other codes have their own major events (eg football), but for swimming is the Olympics massively more important than the world champs? thanks, and enjoy your time in London, lucky bugger.
Being the world champion in your event is a great honour especially in the swimming community. I think with the Olympics, the eyes of the world are more focused on swimming. I would say being an Olympic champion is just ahead of being the world champion but both are tremendous honours.
Several questions actually?
Which swimmers from your Players Academy should we look out for in future Olympics?
I don’t want to single anyone out. There is tremendous swimming talent in South Africa. The ones that will go all the way are the ones that combine talent, hardwork and have mental strength.
arrie vd linde asked:
you are a boerseun from south africa why in the world are you speaking in that american accent. be proud of who you are and speak normal south african english
Hi Arrie - ha ha - I lived in America for 12 years!
Hi Ryk - tell us about the accomodation in the Olympic Village and also about the food on offer. Thanks
Everyone eats in the same dining hall and it seats about 10 000. There is every type of food you can imagine and it is open 24 hours. I tried to eat a balanced meal but you can’t be completely stuck in a routine. The accommodation is usually apartments that are converted and sold after the games.
Hi Ryk, who are your genuine SA medal hopes for the pool?
I also see you as many great cricketers and rugby players went to Grey College, what influence did the school have on your career?
Grey College has taught me to dream, believe, be humble and to make the most of the opportunities afforded to me.