After a week's holiday en-route we arrived at Seoul Airport onSunday 25th September at 19.30 with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.
After three security checks we were finally in the swimming pool and just in front of us were Nikki,Jo and Lian in the water training. We had excellent seats just behind the athletes enclosure and a little later Jo came to see us for a few momements and told us she was swimming the duet in the prelims the next day. In the Synchro Solo prelim Nikki swam extremely well andconfidently to qualify in seventh place for the finals behind Canada, USA, Japan, France,Switzerland and Russia.
Tuesday the Synchro was held in the evening. After three more security checks we are once again in the pool, but this time our seats are onestep away from outside. However we sat back to watch the duets having found out with great difficulty that we were swimming 14th.
The nervous tension developed as we sat through 13 duets, many of them of a very highstandard (Particularly the Americans in our opinion). Then video at the ready, next is Jo and Nikki. Eye glued to the viewfinder, here they come, she's grown, my god it's not Jo! The heart thumps, the blood drains away and everything goes a little out of focus. As the competition ended it became a battle to get to the other side of the pool and find out what had happened. Eventually we reached Janet and she told us Jo had slipped at the pool the previous day and damaged her back. She had been confined to bed with hourly physio, ice packs etc. Nobody could say if she would make it for the figures next day.
The next day, Wednesday we arrived at the pool where Jo was attempting a frontwalkover and it was pretty obvious that things were far from good. After practice Jo came to see us and was in quite alot of pain and extremely upset. She told us she had been advised not toswim but it was up to her. We settled to watch the figures and were surprised when she appeared. Marks disastrous, it was clear that she was struggling and could not hold positions.
After the lunch break we returned for the second set of figures and Janet reported that Jo had been withdrawn on medical advice as they were concerned she could do permanent damage. Dissapointing but in some ways a relief that the pain and suffering was over (and that's just the parents) Nikki and Lian continued to do well. Nikki finishing 13th and Lian having an excellent afternoon to move up to 25th. Yet again very impressed with Caroline Waldo, its like watching figures on video in slow motion. lt must be said it hurt to see on the scoreboard
55. SEEBURG J GBR NO SCORE
To summarise is to say it was an unforgettable experience. Being part of it. Meeting Andrea Holland Jo's ex-coach and ex-Reading Royal and now Swiss National Coach. The Canadian and American Parents, the Japanese, French and so many others. Walking around Seoul and rubbing shoulders with the elite of the worlds sportsmen and women. The wonderful Korean people who tried so hard to overcome the vast barriers of language and culture. The incredible security, but all done with a smile and incredible tolerance. The absolutely marvellous Opening and Closing Ceremony that we are all sure will remain in everybodys memory always. But most of all the competitors, four years terribly hard work that has culminated in the largest ever gathering of athletes and nations in history and provided a spectacular that no film or TV company or any other media could themselves create an equal.
We were proud to be there.
New Olympic Groupies
Ena & Max Seeburg