By JIM KERNAGHAN -- Free Press Sports Columnist
It's unofficial, but London chiropractor Don Millar can lay claim to the first record of the Sydney Olympics.
With a dazzling display of speed and science, Millar went from a dead stop to Olympic status in just a day.
It's a status, incidentally, that his field hopes to gain officially in Sydney. But more on that in a minute.
On a Monday, Millar was told there was no chance he'd be going. The next morning, when two American chiropractors pulled out, he was called at his Colborne Street office and told he would be going.
He burst from the blocks, acquiring airline tickets, visitor's visa, temporary licence to practise in Australia, malpractice insurance, travel insurance, accreditation photos, billeting forms and a myriad other details required before setting off to go halfway around the world.
Millar will be part of FICS, the International Federation of Sports Chiropractors, whose mandate it is to treat athletes from countries who don't have a chiropractor. The Canadian team has its own.
"Obviously, it's a thrill," said Millar, who left for Australia last Friday. "But there was a lot of rushing around to be done."
He found his French and Spanish helpful when he was attached to the Pan American Games in Winnipeg last year.
The world association of chiropractors point out that their services are in demand at the Pan Ams, Commonwealth Games and various other major multi-sport games, and hope to be recognized by the International Olympic Committee after Sydney.
As such, they have no quarters in the Olympic Village. Instead, they are on call.
Millar said his Pan Am experience was that no particular sport had more complaints than others, although he noted a tremendous incidence of serious lower back pain among synchronized swimmers.
"Overall, lower back is No. 1, neck No. 2 and shoulder No. 3" in complaints.
Millar attended to the complete gamut of sports at the Pan Ams, including an extremely busy afternoon when the entire Costa Rica soccer team came in.
Not recognized by the IOC, the sports chiropractors going to Australia are on the hook for their air fare and accommodations. They're hoping to provide statistical evidence of their value to the IOC after the Sydney Games.
GRAPPLING WITH THE RULES
Former Olympic, Pan American Games and Western wrestling coach Josip Mrkoci is prepared to grapple with Olympic wrestlers if he has to.
The London realtor is a member of the technical staff for the Sydney tournament and one of his duties is to make sure the right wrestlers are in the right place, including the trip to the medal podium.
That's when he might have to go after them. Or their shirts.
"Part of the protocol is to make certain they don't have advertising on them. I've seen it done. They take off their warmup suits and they've got a T-shirt with a sponsor's ad."
Mrkoci, who coached at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, was executive director of Australian wrestling from 1984 through 1987. He was coach when Ray Takahashi, the current Western coach, won a Pan Am gold medal in 1983.
He'll be working with his daughter Lara, 19, who is part of the wrestling results staff at Sydney.