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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olympic swim team reading Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey has sold 31 million copies in 37 countries so far and has set a record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, even surpassing the Harry Potter series.  No one is more surprised by its success than British author Erika Leonard who writes under the pseudonym of E.L. James.  She writes about her mid-life crises and all her fantasies are in the books.  It is the first book of a trilogy that centres around the relationship between a college graduate and a young businessman, Christian Grey.  It's the Lady Chatterley's Lover of the twenty first century because of its explicit erotic sex scenes.

Olympic officials are placing great emphasis on relaxation at the London games and most of the women's swim team are reading Fifty Shades of Grey.  "We are all talking about it" Alicia Coutts said.  She is already on the second book and can't put it down.  "Normally when I race I watch a series on my laptop, but I'm just so into this book, I haven't even got my DVDs out" she said.

With all the excitement, getting to sleep is a big problem for some athletes.  James Magnussen said after his disastrous relay swim in the freestyle relay "I didn't sleep for a couple of days leading up to the event and the morning of my race, my hands were shaking and my heart was beating out of my chest."

In past Olympics, if athletes had trouble sleeping, a doctor would prescribe Stilnox, but after Grant Hackett admitted that he became dependent on the drug when introduced to it at the Olympics, officials decided to ban it for the London games.  Instead, emphasis has been placed on relaxation techniques and athletes are issued with DVDs and CDs and psychologists are on hand to help.

"We made sure this time that we had things like this because of the Stilnox issue" Olympic Committee deputy chef de mission Kitty Chillder said.  "If something does happen at 2am and they are still awake, they have an arsenal next to their bed."  A few athletes, and no swimmers, had requested the much milder sleeping pill Temazepan, which is available through team doctors.

So could James Magnussen's poor performance in the relay be due to lack of sleep?  Head swim coach Leigh Nugent said whatever medication was used to help improve his sleep before his later turnabout swims was nobody's business except his coach, Brant Best and team doctor, Michael Makdissi.

Magnussen's performance in the 100m freestyle was outstanding, missing out on gold by just 1/100th second.  "I knew Nathan Adrian was sticking with me, I knew it came down to that touch and I thought I got a pretty good one" he said.