Olympic sailor Andrew Lewis spent Christmas Day at the Miguel Couto Municipal Hospital in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, where he is recovering from corrective surgery performed on Monday on his jaw and left leg.
A team of specialists performed the procedures which were said to be crucial following injuries he sustained in a freak accident on December 12, in which he suffered a bruised left lung.
His father and businessman David Lewis has been at his side since his accident which occurred outside his short stay apartment in Rio. At the time of the incident the athlete was participating in an Olympic 2016 training camp. Lewis had been hospitalised for the past two weeks.
He told the T&T Guardian, while in recovery, he was getting himself in the “correct state of mind,” to compete in Rio.
“All the professionals have told me that I will be walking within a month; running within two months; and sailing with two-and-a-half to three months. This does leave me enough time to continue preparing for the Games. I am in the right state of mind. I will be competing in Rio, 2016 and I will do my best for T&T. I don’t have an exact date as to when I will be returning to T&T, but I am guessing it will be within the next ten days,” he said.
Lewis, 26, continued, “I would like to let everybody (in T&T) know that Andrew Lewis is their 2016 Olympic sailor and I look forward to representing the red, white and black. T&T, I love you and thank you very much for all your support. I will see you’ll soon on the beautiful island.”
Lewis said there were no pastelles, ham or black cake on the hospital menu for him on Christmas day, however, only liquid meals, at least for now. On November 13, he travelled from T&T to Brazil to begin training in Rio for the Olympics.
While it was not his first time to Brazil, it was his first time to the city of Rio. On arrival, he declared Rio his second home. He described the city–the temperature, the culture and the people–as bringing together elements that mirrored T&T. And, despite the language and currency differences, Lewis could not believe the level of comfort he enjoyed.
In the Olympic city, Lewis had the unique honour of training with the Dutch National team in mid-November.
“This is a very unusual situation as most teams don’t allow other people to join their groups or have access to the things that I had access too. But moments like that I had to grab them; run with them; make the best of it! I was training with two-time Olympian Rutger Van Schaardenburg (and) former world champion Nicholas Heiner,” he said.
Lewis noted that athletes from around the world were in Rio training since last year, because they needed to understand the venue, which took time, be it the wind factors, as well as the currents.
His first trip lasted eleven days, before the athlete returned to T&T, on break with plans to return to camp from December 7-15. While there, he was to participate in an Olympic test event this month-end. That was before his accident.
“I have always envisioned myself achieving the things I want to achieve and being in the places I want to be and accessing the things I want to access. But what I am seeing out here is beyond belief to me. The level of equipment, the level of organisation these other teams have is beyond anything T&T has ever seen. They have spares for every single thing. They have containers for storage and fantastic accommodation; everything from head to toe. These are the things I need to see. These are things I need to be around,” Lewis said.
He continued, “Yes! These things cost a lot of money and I am accessing a lot of these facilities and equipment at a very low cost, due to my talent, which is what, got me to where I am today. But T&T needs to really realise that (while) I might be a one man team out here, travelling the world, if I want to do what I want to do, I need to get the proper equipment. I need to have access to the proper coaching. I need to have access to the proper facilities. That’s what the top guys have.”
“I feel Brazil is the chance for me to shine, the chance for me to show the world I could really do something special representing our sweet island, our beautiful island of T&T amongst these monster countries. I believe I can do something special and execute when the day comes,” he said.