The Commonwealth Games are fast approaching, with Birmingham 2022’s Opening Ceremony taking place tomorrow (Thursday 28th July). To celebrate these home games, we are highlighting the work being done by EIS (English Institute of Sport) practitioners as part of Team England – and today we’re featuring Lucy Wainwright, Senior Performance Nutritionist, who tells us about her involvement.
Lucy Wainwright knows what it takes to compete at a major games, having been part of the Team GB Canoeing squad at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. Now she is supporting Team England’s athletes in her role as Performance Nutritionist, helping fuel their drive for medals at Birmingham 2022.
Part of the EIS since 2013, Wainwright’s focus up to now has been on Triathlon, supporting Team GB’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes remotely for Rio 2016 and then on the ground at Tokyo 2020. And so these Commonwealth Games represent the chance for her to take on a wider, multi-sport role for the first time at a major games.
“For me this was an opportunity to support a wider team and get experience of working with a range of sports at Games time,” Wainwright said. “I’ve had experience, as an athlete in a multi sports village environment prior to being a practitioner, but this is my first time in a Team England role supporting multiple sports.”
As well as her experience as an elite athlete herself, Wainwright is able to draw on her years with the EIS, which operates as a collaborative network, with its practitioners and performance support services offering their collective expertise to athletes and sports.
Wainwright said: “I worked closely with the Elite Athlete Centre previously, as we used the EAC in our preparations for Tokyo. Good connections and relationships with the chefs and other practitioners is important to support the athletes across a range of sports.”
In the weeks and months leading up to Birmingham 2022’s Opening Ceremony, a lot of Wainwright’s work has focused on the Team England Immersion Camp in Loughborough. The role has also involved working with teams that are staying outside the main Games villages, working with the chefs to ensure the menus meet the athletes’ needs.
“My work has been involved with setting up the menus and working with the chefs at the Elite Athletes Centre, checking in with them on a regular basis and getting menus set for teams there, making sure that we can meet all the different athletes and teams’ requirements,” she explained.
“I go into the athletes’ villages on Saturday [23rd July] and spend some time there just going around the different venues, just to check the set-ups there, and support the teams arriving at the villages and hotels.
“A lot of the catering is out of our control, so some of it is managing expectations around what’s provided and just trying to support sports in terms of finding solutions to any challenges they might have.”
The challenges and hard work will no doubt be worth it, and Wainwright is “really excited” to be involved in these home games – supporting behind the scenes and then enjoying the sport as a spectator with her family.
“For me it’s an opportunity to have a wider impact and support athletes, which is my passion – to do everything we can to support them, to be able to deliver their best at a home games.
“Just to be involved with that and play a small part in that is exciting – that’s why I do it.”
Click here to visit the Birmingham 2022 website.