England’s Rugby Sevens player, Dan Bibby, has recently qualified for Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics, making him a two-time Olympian. Playing for England as well as Team GB, Dan has been busy training for the upcoming Olympics, set to take place during July 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Michelmersh is proud to be supporters of Dan Bibby, watching his career go from strength to strength over the years. From playing for England’s rugby team to qualifying for the Olympics twice, Michelmersh spoke to Dan to find out what’s on the horizon for his sporting career…
“Michelmersh has been an incredible support to me and my family for many years now and I will forever be grateful for that. However, in terms of Sevens I think it probably will be my last tournament. The travel and commitment is challenging when I have a young family at home and my wife is working full-time. It’s just not the right balance for me anymore. Although I love sevens and I feel I’m still physically up there with the best, the travel is just taking its toll. I’ll still be playing rugby at some level, but where I’m playing, I’m not yet sure. It would also be pretty cool to end such a long Sevens career with a gold medal!”
Bibby has been prepping for the upcoming Olympics, describing his training as ‘tough’. “Training camp has been some of the most competitive rugby I’ve played my whole career, and because there was only a limited amount of time we have to prep before Tokyo, every session counts. We’ve had some good warm-up competitions against Ireland, and recently went over to LA for a tournament playing a few other Olympic teams such as Argentina, USA and South Korea.
Obviously with COVID it has been a different type of ‘tough’. There’s a lot of rules that apply to us that aren’t the same as the general public, like only being able to spend 45 minutes together for meals times and masks on even outside until we are on the training pitch. I can imagine the rules will be even stricter at the Tokyo Olympics, so it’s something we have to get used to. With all that said, it’s worth it, because if someone tests positive, it’s a minimum of 17 days until you’re allowed to train again, meaning that if anyone gets COVID, then they are probably out of the Olympics!”
The Tokyo Olympics were set to take place in 2020, however, due to the pandemic, it has been rescheduled to 2021. Dan explains what he’s looking forward to the most about the 2021 Olympics,
“I’m excited to just be playing again. What with everything that has gone on in the past year, I’m definitely not going to take anything for granted. There will be crowds there, which has been a rarity for most sports this year, so will be pretty motivating to hear the Japanese fans shouting against us as we are playing Japan on the opening day!”
Debuting his first Olympic appearance in 2016, Dan will be taking a few reminders with him this time. “Just enjoy every moment. Not only competing, but the little things in the village, a sing song on the bus to the games. Those little moments are the best memories”.
Last time we spoke to Dan, he had just announced his engagement, however Dan has started a family since.
“Yeah, he’s not so little anymore! He’s 2 next month. It’s been carnage if I’m honest, no one warned me that 2 kids is 20 times harder than 1! They’re both brilliant though, and becoming good friends which is so heart-warming to see when they’re sat on the couch together cuddling under a blanket watching a film. Mind you, that only lats a few minutes before they’re sword fighting each other!
“It’s been a challenge as I went from full-time rugby player to a full-time dad last year, which during lockdown was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Trying to keep fit and training on my own during lockdown whilst looking after two kids and two dogs, all whilst my wife was working full time, was certainly harder than any training camp I’ve done! But I wouldn’t change it for the world – I got to spend 12 months watching my boys grow up and stayed fit enough to get in the GB training squad.”
“Like I said, with the travel involved in Sevens I can be away for over 3 weeks at a time, and it’s just too hard for my wife, and the kids really miss me and I miss them. Now, putting everything towards being the best for the Olympics, but I know it’s only temporary and I believe I’m modelling to them that if they have a passion that means something, then sometimes you have to sacrifice to get it.”
Training for the Olympics is hard enough, especially during a pandemic. Michelmersh asked Dan what has kept him motivated to keep training throughout the last few of years.
“When I got made redundant, I spoke to my wife and said that I still wanted to make it to the Olympics. I made a deal with myself (and Kate) that I’d look after the kids, and any spare time id dedicate to training. Then if the call ever came for an Olympic contract, I’d done everything to be in the best place ready to go, and if the call never came, then I could live with myself knowing I’d given it everything and there was nothing else I could have done. There were dark times, freezing cold training in the garage or on a waterlogged local park, but it’s all been worth it to get me to this point.”
Supporting Dan and his sporting career, Michelmersh is thrilled Dan will be competing in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
“Michelmersh have been an incredible support to me and my family. They have allowed me to live comfortably whilst living in London supporting a young family. Their support meant I could fuel myself properly with quality food, and given I travelled a lot, it meant my wife could afford the proper care for the kids so she could continue working. When I was supported with the car, it meant travel to and from training was not only in style but easy, no car sharing between me and my wife and the long trips down to training camp in Loughborough meant I was safe and comfortable. The team at Michelmersh have been amazing and I’ll always be grateful for their support to myself my family and my career.”
Michelmersh wishes Dan and Team GB the best of luck at the Olympics which will commence between 23rd July and 8th August 2021.