With his London Summer Games experience about half complete, Clay Sniteman alternates between the professional and the fan as he talks about his Olympic moment.
Sniteman, an elite physical therapist who works throughout the year on the Association of Tennis Professionals training staff, has been hard at work during the past week helping keep the 2012 Olympic tennis players in tip-top shape at the Wimbledon venue.
But the Top of Utah man, who is owner of and therapist at Sundance Physical Therapy in Ogden, has found a new amazing experience to share with his family and friends: the Opening Ceremony on Friday at Olympic Stadium in London.
“The Opening Ceremony was an unbelievable experience. What a production,” Sniteman said via phone Tuesday night between a couple of long days working on the training staff at Wimbledon.
“I wish my wife had been here to experience this. The whole atmosphere was amazing,” he said.
“I’ve seen the opening ceremonies on TV before, but to take it all in was something I will never forget. As a group, we were talking about how great it was to see 10,000 amazing athletes out on the field at the same time.”
Just a few weeks ago, Sniteman was at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for Wimbledon, where everyone traditionally wears white.
Not so this week.
“Here, they had pink and purple backdrops for the matches. The athletes were all wearing their own nation’s colors. It was Wimbledon, but it was a different environment,” Sniteman said.
During tennis days, Sniteman works with all the different tennis players, as they warm up and warm down, wait out rain delays, experience pulled and pained muscles. There is as much work for him before matches as after matches.
“We have to be ready for anything,” Sniteman said. “You definitely want to be prepared.”
Away from the tennis venue, Sniteman has encountered numerous memorable moments.
“It’s been a treat to see all the other athletes, from boxing to swimming,” he said.
“The energy late Monday night at the beach volleyball was unbelievable, with the crowd really into it. I hope to get to a U.S. men’s basketball game before I leave, but that’s one of the harder tickets to get.”
Sniteman has seen few traffic challenges as he travels from his hotel close to Wimbledon into London and to Olympic Village. London was already among his favorite cities.
Trading pins among the athletes and fans is as big a deal as in previous Olympics, he added.
Along with the memories of Olympic competition, Sniteman knows he’ll return home a better health care professional.
“You take all these experiences with you, techniques I learned from other specialists, as well as new treatments. When I work with Weber State athletes and folks in the community, I can offer other techniques that will help their specific needs,” he said. The U.S. Open will be his next big ATP event.
When the Olympic medal matches conclude Sunday, Sniteman will pack up and head for home.
And he’ll be bringing home a suitcase full of London Olympics memories.