The theme for this week’s sport report? Team GB and their preparation for Rio with a special focus on Team GB hockey player Laura Unsworth
For Team GB, Rio is just around the corner. See what they’ve been doing to prepare and succeed in their long journey toward the Games and read more on what today’s featured athlete, GB hockey player Laura Unsworth, has to say about staying fit, healthy, competitive, and committed.
On August 5, 10,500 athletes from 205 countries will gather in Rio de Janeiro to kick off the world’s biggest sporting competition.
On August 7, the Women’s National Hockey Team will kick off their own opening ceremony as hockey competition begins. The team has been preparing the past 4 years for these games, and Laura Unsworth has been preparing most of her life.
The 27 year-old defender first picked up the hockey stick when she was ten years old, unaware of the game, her far-reaching abilities, and that just ten years later, she would represent Great Britain for this first time as a women’s hockey player, an accomplishment she attributes in large part to Sutton Coldfield Hockey Club and the coaching she received at the youth level.
2008 was the year Unsworth debuted her talent on a national level, but 2012 was the year she made her first Olympic appearance. The women’s hockey team defeated New Zealand to earn a bronze medal in the 2012 Games – an incredible achievement Team GB plans to build on for this year’s Olympics.
‘Winning a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics was such a memorable moment in my career, and this year heading in to Rio, the team is looking even stronger,’ Unsworth says.
The format for competition has become more challenging this year – eight games in 13 days– and the training has done the same.
‘Our training has been adapted to ensure we are physically, mentally and tactically prepared – a typical day consists of an early morning team pitch session that would last two hours where we mainly focus on our team play. Before the next session, we use this time to recover, eat, visit the physio if required, and take part in video performance analysis from previous hockey sessions and tournaments. Around midday, we catch up as a team to focus on the psychology aspect of the sport, before finishing the day by hitting the weights in the gym.’
In terms of diet, Unsworth is equally as committed:
‘When training full time, I increase my protein intake to aid muscle recovery, as well as eating enough carbohydrates to increase my energy levels for the heavy sessions.’
While we may not have two hour pitch sessions or evening weights or Olympic level competition to worry about, Unsworth possesses something we can all benefit from: discipline.
Pre-planned meals are crucial in sticking to a nutritional diet
Whether for intense training or everyday life, Unsworth says pre-planned meals are crucial in sticking to a nutritional diet. She also believes training with a partner or group is essential for working out.
‘Not only do you motivate each other along the way, but you can make it as fun, sociable and relaxed as you want – we’re always finding something to laugh about!’
My main weakness has to be brunch – I am a massive fan!
Unsworth, like every Olympic athlete, is committed to achieving tip-top health and fitness. But rest assured – she, too, indulges sometimes.
‘My main weakness has to be brunch – I am a massive fan! Living in London, you are always tempted to try out the next new trendy brunch venue and I just can’t resist at the weekend.’
She loves brunch, we love brunch. Ah, common ground.
But this August, Unsworth will be anything but common.
Unsworth will stand as a representative for Team GB and for all female athletes in the most prestigious sporting event in the world. And she couldn’t be more excited.
‘Being part of Team GB is just an unbelievable experience. It’s so exciting to compete against the top 12 teams in the world, but more importantly, we’ve been working so hard and training together as a team for the past four years that we just can’t wait to get out there.’
Keep up with Laura’s Olympic journey on Twitter.
More from Team GB:
Synchronized swimming: Katie Clark and Olivia Federici earn spot in Rio Games after placing 2nd in Rio qualifiying event, which required a top four finish. The pair are back in the pool after a two year absence, scoring 80.0333 this past weekend – their highest since returning to competition. British Swimming and the British Olympic Association will still need to determine whether Great Britain will compete in the event at all for the 2016 Games.
Diving: Diving pair Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow recently qualified for Rio in the Diving World Cup. More on that here.
Triathlon: Jodie Stimpson places 3rd at the World Triathlon Series in Abu Dhabi this past weekend, bringing her one step closer to joining fellow GB triathletes Non Stanford and Vicky Holland in Rio. Keep up with her progress here.
More from the world: Team Refugees
Rio will host a new team this year: Team of Refugee Olympic Athletes (ROA). 43 total athletes have currently been named as prospects for the team, which will be represented under the Olympic flag.
Don’t miss a Team GB moment. Track your favorite athletes on Twitter and Instagram: teamgb
For all information, tickets, and apparel, check out the Team GB Official Website.
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