Dover couple thrilled to be part of Olympic experience

DOVER — As physical therapists, George Edelman and his wife, Julie Gorman, are there to do a job.

But that doesn’t mean the Dover couple still can’t be impressed by the level of athlete they’re working with.

Both Edelman and Gorman were competitive swimmers in their own right.

So working with the training staff for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials is a little bit of a dream come true.

Swimming-Edelmans-Phelps

Photo courtesy of George Edelman George Edelman and wife Julie Gorman (left) pose with U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps and his fiancee Nicole Johnson at an Olympic Gala in April. At right is Gorman’s mother, Brooke Gorman.

“If you’re a golfer and you could be with Tiger Woods in his prime at The Masters — and be there all day, every day to listen to what he’s thinking — that was our experience,” said Edelman.

“We had Ryan Lochte on one table and Michael Phelps on another. They were like five feet from each other after they just competed in the 200 IM. Phelps got first and Lochte got second. And to be there right there after the event, it was just really thrilling.”

This was the Edelmans’ second time helping staff the Olympic trials. Clearly, the experience is still just as exciting for them.

The Edelmans, who own Edelman Spine and Orthopaedic Physical Therapy in Dover, just returned from the event where the U.S. team for the Rio Summer Olympic Games was determined. The trials were held in Omaha, Neb.

“It’s just exciting,” said Gorman, an All-American swimmer in college. “My dad once told me that every American should pick their sport and go see a (Olympic) trial. The atmosphere is different.

“It’s inspiring. You hear all the stories. Some of them are really positive and some of them are heartbreaking.”

The Edelmans are well aware that, of the hundreds of swimmers involved in a meet like that, only 52 make the U.S. team. Just the top two finishers in each event go to the Olympics.

With so much at stake for each swimmer, the Edelmans want to do everything they can to put them at their physical peak.

For instance, Lochte — a five-time Olympic gold-medal winner — pulled a muscle on the first day of the trials. But he was able to work through the injury and earn his spot on the team in the 200 IM.

“You’re under the gun to do everything you can to help somebody recover and be at their best when they’re standing on the block,” said Edelman.

Edelman said he’s always been acutely aware of the third-place finisher in the finals. They’re the ones who probably feel the disappointment the most.

In this year’s meet, Matt Grevers, a record-holder in the 100 backstroke, had to settle for a third-place finish in his event.

“They’ve spent their entire life preparing for that and then they don’t get to that goal,” said Edelman. “And they recognize that they’re not being judged as a person but judged by that race. There’s some that handle it very well — they’re champions.”

The Edelmans don’t expect to attend next month’s Olympics, although Gorman is an alternative if another physical therapist can’t make it.

There’s a small army of physical therapy staffers who work with the U.S. swim team during the course of the whole Olympic process.

The Edelmans are just proud to have played their small part.

“It’s a passion we share so that is always a lot of fun,” Gorman said about she and her husband. “Us being able to provide that one component of the whole picture. … we just want to help get them at their best.”

In their Dover office, the Edelmans display some photos and momentos from their experiences with the U.S. team and other swimmers. They’ve worked with USA Swimming for 16 years.

“It’s a lot of fun walking down memory lane of all the events we’ve worked at,” said Edelman. “Sharing those experiences with our patients is definitely rewarding.”

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or walter@newszap.com.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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