St. John's chiropractor heads for Tokyo Olympic games after delayed start due to pandemic

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Janice Drover of St. John's is heading to the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.  (Submitted by Janice Drover - image credit)
Janice Drover of St. John's is heading to the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. (Submitted by Janice Drover - image credit)
Submitted by Janice Drover
Submitted by Janice Drover

It was a long road to get there, but Janice Drover of St. John's is preparing for the experience of a lifetime by taking part in the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan near the end of July.

Drover, a chiropractor with experience on the national sports circuit, cracked Canada's medical team for the Olympics in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the global sporting event had been delayed by a year.

"It's kind of overwhelming. I'm in this stage of running lists of what's to go and what needs to get done before I leave," Drover told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.

"It's still a little bit surreal. I think when I hit that Air Canada flight and land in Tokyo it'll all become very real, very quick."

But things at this year's Olympics are undoubtedly different, Drover said, pointing to rules and regulations that've changed compared to a normal Olympic year. Organizing COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, she said, also poses a challenge.

Among all else is what she and her colleagues will be able to actually do while in Tokyo. She can't go sightseeing on days off, she said: Once she's inside the athlete's village, that's where she will stay for the duration of the games.

Submitted by Janice Drover
Submitted by Janice Drover

"Everything we thought the Olympics were going to be going into 2020 is a completely different reality for 2021," she said.

"COVID has changed the world and it has changed how everything operates."

A busy schedule

But medical staff will be kept busy.

Drover and the Canadian medical team will assist in the sporting events they are assigned to, and will be allowed inside those venues. Outside of events, the medical team will also run a daily clinic.

"I help other teams that come that may not have chiropractors with them or need a little extra help," Drover said.

For downtime, Drover said the conversations among her and her peers has been "funny."

Submitted by Janice Drover
Submitted by Janice Drover

They're deciding who will bring a deck of cards, a cribbage board and Scrabble — anything for entertainment while they're trapped inside the village, barred from going out for dinner or exploring the city.

Drover says it's a list of creature comforts from home just to make things more comfortable.

On top of that is the hard work — conversations about the athletes they'll be working with and making sure everyone is getting their testing and vaccinations sorted out ahead of time.

But for Drover, it's all worth it.

"It's definitely going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Drover.

"I'm really excited to also be there and see the athletes that I've worked up through the games with. I've had athletes that I've seen through the Commonwealth Games, the Pan Am Games and now to see them reach the pinnacle of their sporting career, to be in the background to support them, I'm very excited to do that."

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