Greg Redman likens working with an elite athlete to fine tuning a Formula One race car.
Next month in Rio, the 43-year-old Kelowna physiotherapist will use all the tools at his disposal to keep 11 of Canada’s Olympians in peak running condition.
In his sixth Olympic Games working for Canada’s medical team, Redman will be attentive to the needs of golfers Brooke Henderson, Graham Delaet and David Hearn, Olympic champion kayaker Adam Van Koeverden, and world champion kayaker, Mark De Jonge.
Redman worked at his first Olympics for Canada in 2004 in Athens, Greece, and has been hooked ever since.
“It’s very addicting working with such high level athletes,” said Redman, who operates Wave Physiotherapy in Kelowna. “When they’re at that high of a level and everything is so emotional, you can get some really high highs…you get sucked in.
“It’s like watching the Olympics on TV and getting excited to watch them compete, except instead of two weeks, you’ve invested eight to 10 years of your life with the athletes,” he added. “It’s even more heartwrenching when they don’t succeed, although it’s even more exciting when they do.”
Redman’s understanding of elite athletes stems partially from his own background as a national canoe/kayak team member, and he has completed eight marathons as well as Ironman Canada.
In addition to running his business in Kelowna, the Queen’s and SFU graduate is the head physiotherapist for Golf Canada, Canoe/ Kayak Canada and Canada Freestyle Ski.
In Rio, Redman’s expertise will be put to use in providing daily support and maintenance for Canada’s athletes.
“There’s obviously the injury part, you hope that never happens, that’s insurance part of the job. Your major role is tweaking and adjustment, making fine adjustments, like a Formula One car,” said Redman, a native of South Africa who moved to Kelowna from Calgary in 2008. “They go at high speeds and work themselves so much, they need regular attention. That’s what we’re there to provide.”
As for the political, economic and health concerns surrounding the games in Rio, Redman said none have been a deterrent in his decision to work for Canada at his sixth Olympics.
“I think almost every Olympics I’ve been to has a story or a controversy surrounding it, whether it was Beijing, China or in Athens, sometimes those stories are exaggerated,” he said. “There are certainly some concerns in Brazil, but once the athletes are there, the stories and the focus will be back on them, their races and their events. I’m looking forward to this as much as any Olympics I’ve been to.”
Redman leaves for Rio on Aug. 9.