Team work makes the dream work | Amanda's Blog
Published 8 August 2016 (AEDT) | Author Amanda Main
Amanda Main - Grant Nel's fiancé (diving)
In any individual sport, the athlete stands alone at the start line. They appear as if it is only them up there about to compete but in reality there are a number of people who have helped to get them to that point.
When I first started dating Grant I didn’t realise how important my role would be in his journey. I always wanted him to succeed but it wasn’t until after Commonwealth Games in 2014 that I realised we really need to be working towards the same goal.
Although he is the one doing four and a half somersaults with no splash, we are both committed to doing all the small things right to optimise his training and recovery.
Since we have both been living in Adelaide together, I feel like I have taken on the role of Grant Nel’s magic fairy. This might sound like an odd role but it has been a key part of making sure that Grant could make the Olympic team. Essentially the magic fairy tip-toes around doing all the background work so that Grant’s performance looks seamless. I think the top three responsibilities of a magic fairy of an elite athlete are:
1. Plan, plan, plan: this is anything from having a stocked fridge of chocolate milk and yoghurt for Grant’s recovery to coordinating our schedules so we can actually spend some time together. We do a meal plan every weekend and do one big shop for the week so we don’t have to make a trip to the supermarket every night. Grant loves cooking, and it’s even better when all the ingredients are just magically in the fridge (and defrosted) ready to be used.
2. Provide continual positive reinforcement and encouragement: for almost two years now I have been putting up post it notes and pictures of Rio around our house so that the Olympic dream is constantly being reinforced. We have them in almost every room. I also give Grant good luck presents and cards/notes before every competition telling him how amazing he is going to do.
I think the biggest sign of encouragement was when I booked my flights to the Rio Olympic Games three months before trials even took place (don’t worry I didn’t tell him). My Mum and I had decided we were going to the Games, my whole attitude through the good and the bad training sessions was "you are going to the Games."
3. Keep everyone in the loop: Grant isn’t the greatest at passing on information so whenever there are travel plans being made or important dates to keep free, that information needs to magically be shared with his family and friends. I think in the lead up to the Olympic trials I spoke to Grant’s dad at least twice per day for a month just keeping him updated with his progress and competition arrangements.
The success of an athlete not only comes down to their talent, work ethic and dedication but it also comes down to their support crew. Grant has had an amazing team working behind the scenes to get him ready for the Games and they are all so proud to see him on that team.
Michel Larouche has been pivotal to Grant’s success and while it was tough to make the decision to move to Adelaide so Grant could train with Michel, he wouldn’t be where his is today without him.
To keep up to date with all of Grant’s Rio journey follow him on Instagram @grantnel88 or myself @amanda.main26