In this week's player blog presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Tommy Fleetwood shares both his excitement and his experience so far ahead of his first round at the Olympic Games.
It’s fair to say my Olympic excitement levels are at fever pitch. It’s difficult to describe it properly, but I have this amazing buzz going on in my stomach all the time. There’s a ridiculous level of energy and excitement around the Athlete’s Village, and you get sucked into that pretty quickly once you get here. I definitely had no choice in the matter. I am totally immersed in the Olympic vibe!
The coolest thing about all of this adrenaline-fuelled excitement and energy is that you are sharing it with everyone around you. It’s not about me or any individual. There’s an incredible wave of positive inspiration constantly washing over you and you want to transmit all your own good vibes to everyone you meet. Everyone is here with their own story. I kind of want everyone to succeed because there are so many people here who have committed so much to try and peak for what would be the pinnacle of any sporting achievement. It’s utterly intoxicating!
I am hoping that writing this blog will help me bring a different perspective to this incredible experience. It’s certainly unique, and possibly a once-in-a-lifetime situation, so taking a bit of time to take in everything that is going around me feels like the right thing to do. (It might calm me down a bit as well!) I have been keeping a journal for a few years now and it’s become something I enjoy doing and get a lot out of. It’s not really a diary, more just collections of thoughts and accounts of conversations and interactions I have with people which I think are important.
Just about every conversation or interaction I have had since I arrived in Tokyo has felt important. It’s quite overwhelming to be surrounded by hundreds of people who are all tremendously excited, nervous and primed to peak physically and mentally in the next couple of weeks. It’s interesting to see how people act. Everyone is basically really happy, but then you also have this kind of a spectrum of intensity which ranges from over-excitement for loads of people who are just ecstatic about being at the Olympics and making it to the ultimate event for their sport, to the people who are incredibly focussed on what has been a five-year journey to win a gold medal and literally nothing else matters to them.
There’s certainly a different level of importance to the Olympics because they take place every four years. I was laughing the other day about how we golfers had to wait two years to play The Open at Royal St George’s a couple of weeks ago and it felt like an eternity! In a normal four-year Olympic cycle, we will have contested 16 Major Championships and two Ryder Cups between two Olympic Games. Winning any of those golf events is an extremely difficult thing to achieve – it just goes to show how special and rare an achievement it is to win an Olympic medal. The Olympics is such a defining moment in the careers of every athlete in Tokyo and it is an absolute privilege to be a part of it.
Being a part of Team GB is just so cool. We have our own Team area called the GB Lodge which is a 15 minute bus ride from the Athlete’s Village. We have our own gym and dining area there and there are places to watch TV and relax. Everyone is able to mingle there, meet people and have a chat. It has been great to meet so many different athletes, trainers and psychologists to talk about different sports. Everyone is madly passionate about their own area of expertise but also really interested to learn about different approaches and strategies so there is a brilliant atmosphere amongst the team. The atmosphere in the GB Lodge was incredible on Monday night after winning three Golds and a Silver medal yesterday. There’s a Medal board in one of the Team areas where all the names of our winners are on display and every time a name gets added there is a huge sense of satisfaction and achievement for everyone associated with Team GB. It a very special thing to be part of.
The biggest contribution I can make to the Team is obviously on the golf course and I am looking forward to getting started tomorrow. It’s been an amazing few days of soaking it all in and meeting so many great people, but I also need to focus on the job in hand which is getting into contention to try and win a medal. We have a great venue and a golf course that demands good shots to make a score. It looks like a very fair test and a good set up which is what the competition deserves.
It’s going to be such an honour to play golf for Great Britain, especially as I have one of my best mates caddieing for me, too. Me and Fino have been like schoolkids since we left our families on Friday! I’m playing with Shane Lowry and Patrick Reed tomorrow morning which is a great draw with two guys I know very well and who I know will be just as passionate as I am about representing their countries! My Team GB golf partner Mr Paul Casey is playing with Justin Thomas and Joaquim Nieman in round one.
The Olympics adventure begins! Great send off this morning from our families - me and @FinoEFC absolutely buzzing to get to Tokyo and represent 🇬🇧! It’s such an honour to be a part of TeamGB and I will do everything I can to try and bring home a medal! #Olympics #Golf #TeamGB pic.twitter.com/I3ha0Wkpc1— Tommy Fleetwood (@TommyFleetwood1) July 23, 2021
I’m finding sources of inspiration everywhere I turn, but the biggest one so far happened yesterday when I had my own little taste of Gold and Silver. So many cool things have happened here, but the best was yesterday when I was doing some media interviews. I was waiting to do an interview and Matty Lee came into the same waiting area with his Gold Medal. (He won Gold with Tom Daly in the synchronised diving for any non-GB fans out there!) He came over to me smiling and said ‘do you want to feel it?’ I said to him ‘how did it feel when you won?’ and he was so passionate about describing it all. The look in his eyes and the emotion in his voice as he spoke are something I’ll never forget. It’s hard to grasp how important the Olympics is to people unless you are as lucky as I was to meet Matty and see exactly what it meant to him. It was so powerful.
Then we turned around and Lauren Williams is standing next to us with her Taekwondo Silver Medal! It felt great to have a little moment with two of Team GB’s medal winners and it was another source of massive inspiration to want to try and contribute something to the Team.
One thing I will NOT be contributing to the Team is a hairdryer. As much as this news may shock the world, I feel compelled to reveal that a man with my specific brand of hairstyle does not travel with a hairdryer. The reason I am sharing this little known fact is that people keep asking if they can borrow my hairdryer! It all started the day after we got here. I got a message from our Team GB golf physio asking of he could borrow my hairdryer. (Anyone who knows the great Nigel Tilley will understand that the man has a serious grooming routine to uphold) I had to break the news to Nige that I am without hairdryer, much to his disappointment. Anyway, the next day I get a phone call from another Nigel. This time it’s the Team GB Golf Captain, Nigel Edwards, who says to me in his beautiful Welsh accent: “Tommy, this is a bit of a strange one, but I don’t suppose you have a hairdryer that one of the girls could borrow as she’s forgotten hers…” So, just to be clear to anyone who is thinking of asking, I do not have a hairdryer with me!
I think that’s about it from me. I was hoping that writing all of this stuff down would have a calming effect, but I think it’s just made me even more enthusiastic about the Olympic experience because I’ve been thinking about it so much! Feels like I’ll be staying at the fever pitch end of the excitement scale for a few more days…