Monday, June 16, 2008


All aboard! There's room for a few more.

We've had a week to digest the Worlds results, and see the Olympic Team named. With the advent of athlete blogs over the past few years, we've been able to follow the preparation of our top elites (and an army of age-groupers) to an unprecedented degree. I can attest to the fact that the next generation of Canadian triathletes are avid consumers of the triathlete blogosphere - they are the first group of developing triathletes to have such incredible access to such incredible role models.

With access comes criticism however, and we've seen a lot of that in the last week too. It seems to have calmed down, but from my comfy armchair, well removed from the fray, it looked like a vocal minority fueled the chatter about the selection process. I know there are many more people out there who admire and support these athletes, and can't wait to cheer them on in Beijing. If that describes you, get on the bus, visit their websites, and leave a comment to let them know you're behind them. These athletes are fantastic role models and ambassadors, and the embodiment of hard work and dedication. A simple vote of confidence or a quick comment of encouragement goes a long way, and a positive training environment always brings out the best in athletes. You can find the websites of the 2008 Beijing Team at the following links:

On a similar note, I wanted to recognize the incredible character of the athletes who didn't make the team. In a world where international calibre athletes in some sports are paid like movie stars (and behave accordingly), the conduct and dedication of these athletes should be recognized:

Kirsten Sweetland: Kirsten was interviewed literally 10 seconds after crossing the finish line, in obvious pain and clearly disappointed with the race. She had every opportunity to talk about her broken foot, or the cold conditions, or a host of other things that kept her from delivering the performance she was capable of. Holding back tears, she simply said "I gave myself every opportunity to come top 8" and left it at that. Amazing.

Brent McMahon: Brent raced near the front all day, and poured his heart out on the run, producing his best ever finish at worlds (17th), only 0:28" behind the top 8 finish he was looking for. The 2004 Olympian was clearly disappointed with not making the Beijing team, but still made sure to congratulate and support the selected athletes in post-race press.

Kyle Jones: Kyle's race seemed to unravel in the swim, when he lost his neoprene swim cap, and suffered in the cold water. He was still in contention out of the swim, but was so cold he needed help unzipping his wetsuit, and watched his chances of Olympic selection evaporate as he struggled in T1. Coming off the bike 5 minutes down on the leaders, he could have packed it in, but he pounded out a solid run anyways, and took the time to write the following on his blog:

"I have many more World Cup races this year and I will continue to strive for the podium.

For any juniors, U23s, or other aspiring Canadian Olympians out there…please don’t get discouraged about this decision. I have no idea what the qualification criteria will be in four years time but whatever it is, just do it. Train hard, train smart, and go after whatever they throw at us! Let’s make sure no spots are left to discretion."

Congrats to all athletes, and best of luck this season.

All aboard. Next stop, Beijing. 

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