"It's been incredible and really fun," says Dr. Blackham, who specializes in internal medicine and sports medicine, with a unique practice in nonsurgical sports medicine. "I'm in the USA House, which is right along Copacabana beach. If you watch the Today Show, the USA House is located in a busy area about a block away from where the show is filmed."
What exactly are you doing? "If an athlete gets sick near the beach area, they'll come to see me. However, many of the big teams travel with doctors so my primary responsibility is treating the executives and the United States Olympic Committee members staying in hotels along the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. At the USA House, athletes can hangout here, eat American food, and socialize with other US athletes, corporate sponsors, and Olympic sponsors. The majority of the athletes I've seen come in to visit with their families or show off their medals. There are also events here every night that are invitation only for corporate executives or donors."
Have you met anyone interesting? "One of the great things about being here is I've met a lot of people. I've met athletes from many of the sports and a lot of people higher up in the US Olympic Committee. It's been a lot of fun. I've met US physicians and also Brazilian physicians at the hospital that we coordinate with. It's been neat to work with people internationally."
How did you get this gig? "I did a physician rotation at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs last August. You go for a couple weeks and work with training staff and other volunteers. As a result of that, the US Olympic Committee asked if I would come to Rio."
What is the atmosphere like? "I think the US press did a good job at trying to scare people before the games began. This experience has been really well organized. Everything you've read about in the paper and all the horror stories haven't happened. I haven't even seen a mosquito."
Have you watched any of the games? "Both the men's and women's cycling started close to where I'm located. When my wife and three out of my four kids comes to visit [they arrived on Saturday] we're going to watch beach volleyball, track and field, the marathon, and a few other events next week."