Saturday, December 20, 2008

Top 20 Canadian moments of 2008


Thanks to Craig Taylor for the image

This article was in the National Post paper this morning:

Top 20 Canadian moments of 2008
Sean Fitz-Gerald, Bruce Arthur, Joe O’Connor and Daniel Nugent-Bowman, National Post
Published: Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nobody finishes second like Canadians finish second. If they gave out a gold medal for a second-place finish in 2008, Canada would probably have won, unless another country edged it out a few metres from the finish line.

Cutting to the section about Simon:

>>>>

1. A silver stretch run

As the heat suffused his skin, as pain burned in his body, Simon Whitfield was watching the men's triathlon run away from him at the Beijing Olympics.

He had been in a similar position eight years before, and then, the little lean man from Kingston, Ont., had tapped some secret reserve of will and sprinted past everybody for the gold. Then, it felt like a miracle. Of course, then, he was 25.

This time, though, he was falling away from three younger men, including the top two triathletes in the world. The gap reached 40 feet or so with about a kilometre remaining. Whitfield's coach, Joel Filliol, thought to himself that after everything, it just wasn't going to happen.

"Normally," he would say, "when you get dropped, that's it."

Except that eight years after Sydney - eight long years of training, of racing, of getting married and starting a family, of pondering retirement - there was one miracle left. Whitfield threw his visor aside, and he reached for whatever was left, and three words flashed in his mind: Sing like Kreek.

And Whitfield closed the gap. He thought of Canadian rower Adam Kreek bellowing the Canadian anthem on the podium a few days earlier, and he emptied himself of will. And with 100 metres to go, our boy was alone in front as in the crowd, his coaches were screaming out, "Sing like Kreek!" And for a moment under a Chinese sun, anything was possible.

It was not enough, of course. Jan Frodeno of Germany had a little more, and he kicked past Whitfield to finish five seconds ahead, and Whitfield earned a silver. But what a silver it was.

"That's got to be the best race of his career," Filliol would say. "All things considered, that's got to be the best."

Yes, it was.

>>>>

Read the full Top Twenty Canadian moments of 2008 here

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kona Photos


IMG_7757.JPG, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.

I posted some photos I took in both Kona and Arizona on my Flickr pages, enjoy!


(3-4 of the AZ pics weren't taken by me, but were good ones of Rappstar...)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Jordan Rapp @ Ironman Arizona #2


Jordan's first 'real' Ironman was this year in Arizona where he had a solid 3rd place, kicking onto the podium with the following splits: 55:03/4:32:42/3:02:33 8:35:04
This was a reasonable performance, not totally representative of where he was at preparation wise, but a step toward learning how to race a new distance effectively and lay it all down on the course.

With the Olympics in August and his role as a team mate and training partner for the Canadian National team here in Victoria, we planned the middle of the season to include some halfs and olympic non-drafting races then a 2 week break while he cheered his mates on in Beijing. Ironman Arizona #2 was a nice fit post Beijing to ramp up the training again over 2.5 months and finish with another go at the same course. Although he trained on his own in Los Angeles in the fall, rather than with the team in victoria, we kept the same short course, raise the ceiling, training style and pushed through a few 'shake the rust off' races like Dallas Lifetime Fitness and Jamaica.

I was fortunate enough to be able to make the trip down to Tempe and support Jordan's race and I am glad I did, as nothing makes me more proud that to see an athlete leave it all on the course and race with guts like Jordan did last weekend. He swam a level up from his April debut, much more like the level he's shown in the pool this year, and paying off the trials of miles in the water, to start the bike solidly within the second bunch. Onto the bike he got rolling like he does, and with good conditions, he patiently made his way within 2 mins of the leaders, posting the fastest split of the day. Finally on the run, he got a bit excited on the first lap to catch Lieto and Doe very early, and then learnt what it is like to lead an Ironman. Its a different game once you get a sniff of the win, and then it became a real race. Unfortunately the fast early pace and the swift legs of Raelert coming off his 2nd place in Clearwater meant the pass around mile 20 was definitive, but to his credit Jordan worked through a pretty rough patch for about 5 miles and pulled back within 20 secs of Lieto to finish up on the podium again. The way he raced and competing with a surprisingly high quality of field made it a very pleasing progression, in his maiden year at the Ironman distance. A new overall PB and improved splits in each discipline was the result of a lot of hard work and discipline in getting the job done since April: 50:28/4:26:12/2:58:43 8:19:45

Lots of upside for Jordan to continue to improve and now learning how to win is the next step.

Read Jordan's report here: http://blog.rappstar.com/2008/11/426-to-tempe.html

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

a quote

'We tend to celebrate risk only after it has led to great things, which means we rarely celebrate the risk-takers who haven't yet been rewarded for their efforts. The paradox here is that we are often unwilling to embrace ambition and originality until it is safe to do so - in short, we're unwilling to take risks ourselves."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sports Excellence Series


First, a reminder that Simon and I are speaking at the Sports Excellence Series in Victoria tomorrow, Thursday November 13th at 6pm. Details are a few posts down in this blog.

Here is an article related to the series: here

I was in Calgary all last week for 2 days of Triathlon Canada meetings, 1.5 days of the Road to Excellence Olympic conference, and 1.5 days of the Sport Leadership conference. All in all a very productive week and a valuable learning experience. I was also fortunate enough to be asked to speak on Triathlon Canada's altitude training program along with legendary athletics coaches Jack Daniels and Wynn Gmitroski.

At the conference there was also the Petro-Canada Sport Leadership Awards - which I was lucky enough to receive, in the company of the top coaches in Canada. Here is a list of the recipients: here, the triathlon canada story: here, and finally a Times Colonist story on the 9 coaches from Vancouver Island:

Island coaches to receive awards
Cleve Dheensaw, Times Colonist


Published: Friday, November 07, 2008
They were the silent architects of the Island's remarkable Summer Olympics and Paralympics success in Beijing, but not able to climb the podium.
Read the article here

Another item: the prize purse of the 2009 Hy-Vee triatlon has been announced here Nice to see the race paying very deep. Kudos to Hy-Vee and the organizers for making that a reality.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Evans takes the title



Congrats to Tom Evans for his second Ironman win of the year, and a new course record and personal best overall time at Ironman Florida, along with a new bike course record at sub 4:20, all at 40 years old. I've had the privilege of working with Tom since early 2004, and his 4 Ironman wins and several other podium performances are among my proudest coaching accomplishments. Tom has continued to get stronger over the years and has raced with patience, and experience to execute some world class Ironman performances, including his two wins this year, which are probably his best performances of his career.

This past year we made some small adjustments based on feedback from the past few years. We felt we were close to the optimal formula for Tom, but were coming up short for the second Ironman of the year. Some tweaks in workload and timing, and also a renewed focus on the fundamentals has paid off with another world class race in Florida to add to his win at Ironman Coeur d'alene in June, and also qualifying for Kona 09, which will be his only Ironman next year.

Well done Tom! You are an inspiration to those who continue to consistently put in the work over the years and show that you can keep improving with age and experience!

From IronmanLive.com

Evans takes the title
In a time of 8:07:59, Canada's Tom Evans has just moments ago shattered the Ford Ironman Florida course record. Carrying one of the largest Canadian flags in existance, the Penticton, BC local is currently retracing his steps up the finish chute thanking all the supporters lining the stands and streets surrounding the finish area.

Speaking with Mike Reilly, Evans spoke of his plan to hold back on the bike and blaze the run, but with the opportunity to bike with Torbjorn Sindballe and put time on him was to good to refuse. Stopping his watch mid-sentence, he realized he had broken 3 hours on the run.

Keeping a steady run, he decided to get home at a safe pace, and not risk the win from his vantage point.

Mike Reilly also pointed out Evans is the first Ironman champion over the age of 40, which is an amazing feat, consider this makes title number two for 2008. And not to mention, this win gets Evans a confirmed slot to the Ford Ironman World Championship. A slot he has mentioned he intends to take.

Breaking the course record, and breaking his own record, it's been quite a day for the 2008 Ford Ironman Florida champion, Tom Evans

Friday, October 31, 2008

Interview with John Cook

The Canadian Athletics Coaches Centre has a series of excellent audio interviews including the latest with American athletics coach John Cook, who coaches Shalane Flanagan in the 5000 metres and 10,000 metres and Shannon Rowbery and Erin Donahue in the 1500 metres.

John tells it like it is, and doesn't hold back on the ups and downs of the US Trials system, the USATF holding camp in China and the Beijing Games. Good stuff, and worth the 50 mins or so.

Link to audio page here

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Taking Applications

To give this its own post - if you want to be part of a winning culture, whether in ITU, non-drafting, or long distance, Canadian, American or otherwise, I am considering new applications for my squad. Train with the best to race with the best. Email me at info @ joelfilliol.com for details.

This video and the last one demonstrate the ATTITUDE required :-)



Thanks to Andrew for the video link.

"No Apologies"

Australian National Performance Director Bill Davoren has announced his resignation from Triathlon Australia, to take a position with an AFL team as head of physical conditioning. It was well known that Bill would be leaving TA at the end of 2008, but this announcement makes it official.

At times Bill faced criticism internally in Australia, but he stuck to his vision despite the naysayers and was a key driver of Australian Triathlon's international success the last 4 + years. I have a lot of respect for Bill, his coaching and his leadership.

"I also leave with no apologies to anyone for the way I have done my job. I was given a task to do and I did that task. I recognise that some of you may have found that challenging, but change nor striving to be the best is ever easy. "

Read Bill's letter here: Triathlon Australia

Best of luck to him in his new career.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"I want Winners...."

...People who WANT TO WIN"



This video is about a team sport, but I'm sure we can think of ways it can apply to an individual sport like triathlon, especially when talking representing your country.

Its also a good advertisement for what I am looking for at TEAM BAMF. I'm taking applications for 2009 - email me at info @ joelfilliol.com for details.

I meant to post some thoughts on Kona. Its a bit late now, all the analysis has been done and done. Chrissie was completely dominant and other than the flat looked in control the whole day. The euro Iron women proved their record times earlier this year were legit with solid performances in Kona. Probably the race of the day for the women was Linsey Corbin with a real breakthrough to come 5th. On mens side, Crowie looked patient and in control. We saw him get gapped from Timo and Cameron on the Alii section of the run after the turn around, but he slowly made his way back on and eventually into the lead. A couple of missed opportunities for Cameron and Llanos to take it, but its tough to put it all together and Crowie was able to get it done on the run under pressure. All in all I had a great time watching the race and always learn something seeing the action live.

I'm now back in Penticton, BC, where I'll be until the annual Sport Leadership Conference, to be held in Calgary AB next week. We are rolling in a week of meetings including Triathlon Canada meetings, the SPIN - Sport Innovation Summit, the Road to Excellence Olympic meetings and the Sport Leadership conference (coaches, administrators and sport leaders) into a full week.
I've also been asked to present along with a panel to discussion on how we've used altitude training. The lead presenter is Jack Daniels, and athletics coach Wynn Gmitroski, both of whom have significantly influenced the way I've thought about and implemented our altitude program.

edit: added this news article link: Two-time Olympic medallist Whitfield promotes teamwork in sport, business

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sports Excellence Speakers Series in Victoria

An update on Kona is coming soon, however here is some info on a series of talks in Victoria, one of which I'll be speaking at:

Canadian Sports Centre Pacific, the National Coaching Institute of BC and Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence are proud to present the Sports Excellence Speakers Series.

Join Olympian and Paralympian athletes and coaches for an evening of sports excellence. World class athletes and coaches will be presenting and answering questions on their Olympic and Paralympic journey through the last four years leading to the 2008 Games in Beijing. Presentations will focus on training and coaching philosophies, keys to world class preparations and personal learnings in the pursuit of sports excellence. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to hear from Canada’s best about their Olympic and Paralympic experiences.

Location: Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence - 4371 Interurban Road, Victoria, BC
Room: 329A/329B
Time: 6 – 8 pm

October 16th - Paralympic Gold Medalist Michelle Stilwell
Athletics - Wheelchair Athletics Coach Peter Lawless
Register Now - Olympian and 2007 World Championship Silver Medalist Gary Reed
- National team Track and Field Coach Wynn Gmitroski

October 30th - Olympic Rowing Silver Medalist David Calder
Rowing/ - Rowing National Team Coach Terry Paul
Swimming - Olympic Swimming Bronze Medalist Ryan Cochrane
Register Now - Swimming Canada Coach Randy Bennett

November 13th - Cycling Time Trial World Championship Silver Medalist Svein Tuft
Cycling/ - National Cycling Team Coach Houshang Amiri
Triathlon - Beijing Triathlon Silver Medalist Simon Whitfield
Register Now - National Triathlon Team Coach Joel Filliol

Session Fee: $20.00

Enrollment Limited – Be sure to register early. Registration Deadline: 1 day prior to session.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Road Trippin


Flagstaff backdrop, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.

I've done a few road trips in my time... mostly for training camps in southern locations. Ontario to Florida a bunch of times, Ontario to Texas, and now living in the west, Victoria to Palm Desert, Tucson, and Flagstaff Arizona for camps. This time, there was no training camp at the destination, at least not one of my camps, so I set off on the road trip to spend some time on my own, get away from the usual routine and check out some favorite training destinations and also some new ones along the way.

I started out in Penticton, BC. Its one of my favorite places for training and I place I could see living one day. I was able to catch up with Tom Evans, as well as Jill Savege and Jordan Rapp before they head south for the winter. There are many great roads with long climbs, a variety of trails for running and riding the dirt bike, and lakes for swimming. I didn't get up to Apex, but there are some nice runs up there at a moderate altitude, not to mention a solid climb on the way up.

Next stop, the tri mecca of Boulder, CO. I'd heard a lot about Boulder of course, but had never been there. While in town I took in a few of the classic running trails around the Rez, the wonderland lake trails, and magnolia road up over 8000'. All great stuff. I did some rides over the the Lee Hill road and out to Lyons, and even a couple swims (rare for me), to check out the pools. Overall I really liked Boulder and can see why so many endurance athletes call this place home. Easy access to great training right out the door and a great endurance/outdoor sports community.

After Boulder I drove down to Las Cruces, NM, and joined the Paulo, Jonnyo and the PS Triathlon crew who were doing a training camp. Great weather (too hot for Napoleon however), and great company got me out the door for a real training camp, with swims, bikes and runs most days. Very different from Boulder, but a good location for winter camps, and a great swimming facility with Danny running the NMSU pool.

My next stop was supposed to be Las Vegas for the Interbike Show. I decided to spent a night in Flagstaff on the way, and once I got to Flag, and did a run on one of my favorite routes out the urban trail and up sinclair wash, I bailed on vegas and instead spend the week in Flag doing my caveman training camp. I'm glad I did, as I had a great week exploring some trails I wasn't able to do last time we were here with the amount of snow that was still up in the hills. I rode my cross bike over shultz pass, did the bagel run, got a tour from local legend Paul Brinkman, and did an epic run in the trails behind the airport where I just followed my nose and eventually found the car. I also got a chance with catch up with Jack Daniels again. Jack acts as the director of the High Altitude Training Centre in Flagstaff. I've been meeting with Jack a few times over the last couple years as part of a mentorship project with the COC and he's had some valuable insight into training and also some great stories. Torbjorn Sinballe was also in town training prior to departing for Kona. I had a great chat over dinner with Torbjorn, Canadian expat Rob Krar and Paul. We traded ideas about training/racing in heat, altitude, and similarities between the Danish and Canadian high performance training systems and approaches.

Finally I am now back in Penticton, and will head over to Kona in a few days. I am looking forward to going to Kona this year purely as a spectator and observer. I am staying with Shawn Frack of Nunn, and his wife Tracy Robertson (and fellow Canuck), who is racing pro for the first time, and also the infamous duo "The Sergio" and "Jonnyo" Should be a great time. We are right next to Lava Java, so anyone who wants to shoot the shit about training, racing, coaching, etc, drop me a note.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

'Coach Reflections On Beijing' talk in Ontario

I've been asked to speak at the Coaches Association of Ontario's 'Coach Reflections on Beijing' event on October 26th. Its really an honor to speak at the same event as two of the giants of Canadian coaching: Mike Spracklen and Pierre Lafontaine. Both men have had a significant influence on my own coaching. Such is their influence in Canadian sport, that without even knowing either one personally, just listening to them speak and seeing them walk the talk of high performance inspires me to raise my game.

I just hope I can be a "riveting" speaker - its a bit daunting to put together a hour long presentation, but I am looking forward to sharing my experiences of Beijing both with the preparation and the competitions.

Here are the details of the event:

Coach Reflections On Beijing: Conquering the Wall

Take your coaching to new heights and listen as Olympic coaches returning back to Canada share lessons learned from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Moderated by Sheilagh Croxon, Olympic Coach, Synchronized Swimming and Chair of the Coaches Association of Ontario, our list of riveting speakers include:

Joel Filliol, Triathlon,
Pierre Lafontaine, Swimming
Mike Spracklen, Rowing

http://www.coachesontario.ca/content/view/416/270

In partnership with the CN Tower, the event takes place on Sunday, October 26, 2008 from 9am-4pm at the Maple Leaf Theatre - CN Tower. The cost is $65 or $50 if you're a CAO Member and includes a light lunch, as well as an opportunity to ascend the CN tower at the end of the presentations.

Seats are limited, and registration is filling up quickly! To secure your sport, visit https://www.karelo.com/enter_res.php?&BID=154#Ev6498 to register.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Beijing: The Men


Closing Ceremony, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.

Someone recently pointed out that I hadn't yet posted my thoughts on the mens race. The performances we saw from Simon and Colin really did the talking from my perspective. There isn't a lot to add that hasn't been said in any number of interviews, but I'll add some of my observations here.

After the competitions were completed the team moved from the Jundu villas into the Olympic Village. We had a great time checking out the other events and soaking up the Olympic experience. I saw athletics a couple of times, along with diving and mountain biking. The closing ceremonies were great and we partook in a visit or two to the village McDs. Good times. Overall impressions of the Beijing Games were very good, organization was smooth and the venues were fantastic. A tough act to follow for London.

So onto the mens race... The swim was a more tactical swim, similar to what we saw in the women's race. No great separations in the water and a large main pack out together. Colin and Simon were out in fine position, mid pack and didn't have to chase very long to crest the first time up the hill at the front of the bunch. Our team tactics were discussed plenty in the Canadian media and it was no secret to the other teams what our strategy would be. So Colin went to the front during those crucial first few laps and controlled the race by chasing down any gaps and keeping the momentum up as needed. Early on during the bike I was nervous that a break might get away as my impressions were that it seemed pretty active at the front as different athletes tested out the pack. Colin did a great job keeping the situation under control and Simon also stayed near the front to keep and eye on things as needed. We really wanted to make sure he got the chance to run with the main favorites out of T2 and that strategy along with the dynamics of the race, the conditions, and the course benefited all the favorites in a similar way, although knowing that we had options to use if needed no doubt saved some level of energy for Simon. When the break of three got away near the end of the ride, that was the perfect group to gain a small gap, and the boys just monitored for counter attacks at that point. Colin led Simon into T2 in fine position and mission #1 was accomplished.

Early on in the run the pack was a good size, with the big boys perhaps waiting to start their charge given the heat, and not wanting to risk hitting the pace too earl, then blowing with so much on the line. Although I haven't seen the TV coverage of the race yet, one defining moment came with Rana lifting the pace on the hill on the second lap. That seemed to really separate the bunch and gave a preview of who might have the legs for a medal on the day. Up until that point we hadn't seen Javier's usual charge and Rana's move seemed to be the ideal opportunity, however it never came and the group was down to the select 5-6 for the final 2 laps.

A question I've been asked frequently is whether I was thought Simon was done for, when he kept having to close small gaps that would open to the front 3-5, and of course the answer is yes it was worrying. With the hot conditions and level of competition you don't usually see athletes claw back on after being gapped, even if just small gaps, but Simon was able to come back on each time and keep himself in the hunt. Coming into the final straight, I was in my usual position just before the final water stop. I was screaming as loud as I could for him to give everything to get back on, loud enough that all the spectators and officials around that area were staring at me....

Finally the visor with thrown off and the long kick started. After he sped past where I was standing I hoofed it over the bridge and down to the finish area so I didn't even get to see a lot of the final action, but I wasn't really in a state to analyze what was happening as the energy and emotion of the moment was right there, everything we had worked at for 4 years was coming down to this opportunity over the next 60 seconds. Seeing pictures later it took Simon much of the back straight to charge back on and make contact. From there a short pause and he went around keeping the momentum going. A number of people commented that they thought he went too early, and I can only say that he gave so much to get back on that maintaining the rhythm and flow of the push seemed to be the best option at the time. Who knows really what might have been, as we've seen some awesome kicks from Bevan, and Frodo was a bit of an unknown. The kick totally spread out the final four and only a huge charge by Frodeno in the final 50m saw the gold slip away.

The emotion at the finish was overwhelming... over the years I'd imagined what sort of response I might have to achieving such a huge goal, but I wasn't really prepared when it actually happened and seeing our team chiro Rob caused a few tears to come flowing out...

There was some irony in Simon being out-kicked by a German this time, given he out kicked Vukovic in Sydney, but Frodo was ready for the opportunity and took it with a fantastic race and well timed finish. He was perhaps a bit of a sleeper, but he did have six world cup podiums coming into Beijing. Beven has been so consistent the last few years and now is a two time Olympic medalist, and finally Javier finishing in fourth speaks to the quality of the podium on the day. I said it many times before the race, but we truly felt that there were 10-12 guys who had legitimate chances at a medal on the day and a well executed race could have meant any result in the top 10. Anyone who wanted to medal needed a number of the right things to happen on the day and be ready for the opportunities when and if they presented themselves, and if needed to create those opportunities. To come into the race with the pressure of being a true medal contender, with that pressure and expectations, dealing with those factors along with the ups and downs of training, recovery and preparation in the months leading into the race and then being able to make the right decisions in the race at the right times, made achieving a medal performance a fantastic victory for Simon, for Colin and for the entire support team that believed in the process and goal all along.

I could not have been more proud of the performances of Colin and Simon as a team, and of the efforts Simon made on the day to come back on each time he was gapped, and give himself every opportunity with that final charge back into medal position. As a coach, you can only hope that all the training, and everything that you do to prepare and support an athlete in the months and years leading up to a race like the games can prepare an athlete to be ready for the opportunity when its there. All I could ask is that an athlete gives everything they have on the day, and to do so with all the pressure and everything on the line made the challenges and sacrifices that go into an Olympic campaign all worth it. It was not even just the result of the medal itself, but the way it was won, racing with courage, and heart, and that is what seemed to resonate with so many people across Canada and the world even. The mens triathlon was apparently the highest rated Olympic event on CBC and to be able to play a role in that performance was a fantastic experience for me.

So where to from here? I am taking my first real holiday in a long time... currently on a road trip through the Canada/US with stops in Penticton, Boulder, Las Cruces, Flagstaff, and Las Vegas, where I'll check out the Interbike show before heading back to Vic, then over to Kona for Ironman. Whether I re-sign with Triathlon Canada or go in a different direction is still up in the air. With success comes many options and there is interest from other federations, and also significant potential to re-enter the private world. So over the coming weeks and months I will evaluate all my options and decide where my next focus will be. I'm fortunate to have had success in a number of areas within the triathlon scene and am in a position to decide the next steps based on what I will enjoy the most, and what kinds of challenges I am most excited about.

Finally I want to thank everyone who believed in me, and supported me through the process to get to this point. Sport isn't an easy business, and I wouldn't have had the success I've had without great people around me.

In the meantime, I'll try to post some more original content when I am so inspired or when I have something newsworthy to post about.

Cheers

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Colin Jenkins on FloTrack


Simon, Colin Medal Pics, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.

Colin Jenkins

Christopher Kelsall
September 8, 2008

(c) Christopher Kelsall - 2008 - All Rights Reserved.

You may remember Colin Jenkins, the Canadian triathlete who celebrated finishing the Beijing Olympics Triathlon more than any other athlete did. He was joyously demonstrative running down the home stretch, motioning to the crowd to cheer more as he ambled in - and cheer they did! Yet Colin was finishing dead last.

Considering this, you may wonder why he was celebrating so much. For those of you who may not follow triathlon very closely, Colin was celebrating because he had just done his job as instructed, to the letter. Like in hockey, he scored an assist helping fellow Canadian, Simon Whitfield score an Olympic Games silver medal, mere seconds from gold.

Read the rest on FloTrack

Monday, September 8, 2008

Colin Jenkin's Olympic Special Cervelo SLC-SL


Bike Course RIde Day 2, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.


Colin Jenkin's Olympic Special Cervelo SLC-SL new

Written by: Jordan Rapp
Date: Fri Sep 05 2008

Slowtwitch: Light weight was obviously a primary focus on the bike, can you explain why you felt weight would be a major factor during this race?

I thought that weight would be a major factor in the Olympics because we had to climb a substantial hill six times during the bike portion. Knowing how World Cup style racing works, most of the attacks would come from the climb, and it would be very important to be able to respond to these attacks and get to the top of the hill with spending the least amount of energy. At the race in Athens, the climb on that course played a big role in the outcome of the race, so I wanted to be prepared for people trying to do the same thing in Beijing.

Read the rest at Slowtwitch.com

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Simon's final Globe and Mail blog


CBC Studios, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.

Whitfield: What a journey

Well that chapter is over, what a journey.

Four years ago Coach Joel and I set the goal to get back on the podium at the Olympic Games after what can only be described as a what-doesn't-break-you-only- makes-you-stronger experience in Athens.

Read the rest at The Globe and Mail

Friday, August 29, 2008

Beijing: The Women


The Crash, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.

On race morning for the women I was up early again after a decent sleep. I did my usual run on the course to prep for the day (same loop every single morning over the bike course plus a bit). One positive aspect of arriving in Beijing closer to the race with the jet lag timing was being able to go to bed early and get up early. With a 10am start being a bit earlier than the athletes are used to (especially the men) its important to get food in and digestion happening, so the body needs to be awake for all the to happen efficiently.

With all three women ready to leave the villa about 7.45 we made our way to the race course. The road from the Jundu villas to the race venue was shut down expect for official vehicles so we opted to walk the 10 mins or so. In the Jundu parking lot some athletes were gathering for what looked like an official bus to the venue but it didn't look organized enough so we stuck with the plan of walking. Of course the bus eventually arrived at the venue about 30 secs before we did...

Getting through the security to the race venue went smoothly and the women set about their race preparation and warm up routines. One difference with major races like the Olympics is the pre race start formalities take a lot longer and they like to give themselves extra time so they can start at the exact time given the live TV, so the athletes had to have all their warm up done 30 mins before the start and then were held in a waiting area until they were marched out to the pontoon. Not a big change but the warm up routines have to be adjusted to accommodate.

Onto the pontoon, we had Kathy and Lauren on the right side, near a number of the top 10 ranked athletes, and Carolyn closer to the left side. The start went off and I was able to walk alongside for the first 200m before arriving at the swim exit and being blocked by the media areas. Lauren and Kathy both had good starts and I could clearly pick them out of the group closer to me. I could see Kathy was on Haskins' hip and moving well. Lauren was stuck on Vanessa's hip after a great dive and start. I couldn't see Carolyn on the other side of the field, so I was hoping she got going cleanly. I was able to take some nice photos with the zoom lens of the start sequence - check out my flickr page for more pics of the race.

After the women passed the swim exit I couldn't see much so it was a wait until they finished the full one lap swim to figure out what was happening. When the group came around the last turn before the exit it was clear that the swim hadn't spread out very much. I had expected a faster swim that might set up for a break early on the bike, perhaps from the americans among others but a huge pack of women exited together including Kathy in the top 8, which was an excellent swim for her and Lauren just 14 secs back, and at the tail of the front group, a great swim for her as well. There were a few more swimmers just off the back of the first group before the main second bunch came in over a minute back including Carolyn. Not a bad gap to the first swimmers in terms of time for a non-wetsuit swim, but still work to be done, so the chase was on.

As the riders came back towards the exit to the dam after the transition the first swim pack had actually spread out a lot more than it appeared coming out of the water. The big favorites were still together including heavy medal favorites Fernandes and Snowsill, but the back of the front pack was strung out by the quick early pace. Lauren was just a few seconds off the main first bunch so it was going to be all on for the first lap to get up there. I could see Spirig riding up behind her which I knew could be a back up plan as well if she didn't latch onto the first bunch. Kathy was in good position to make it up the first climb in the front group.

As a coach at a race venue there is really not a lot of coaching going on. Really I am there for the just in case support before the race and after the race, and to observe first hand, as often you see different things in person that if you follow online or even on TV. Sure often coaches are yelling encouragement or technical cues at the athletes but you can't rely on any message getting through given the speeds and crowd noise, not mention the often glazed over eyes of the athletes as they are focusing on what's in front of them, so you hope that the preparation you've done allows the athletes to make the right decisions out on the course in terms of tactics and strategy.

My spectating strategy was to stand near the entrance/exit to the dam to see the athletes going around that corner and along the front of the stands, and then run back over to the athletes recovery tent where there was a TV with the live feed so I could see the rest of the race unfold. Fortunately the athlete tent also was air conditioned and had free mini-snickers bars and coke....

After the first lap of the bike I could see Kathy in great position in the front bunch. Lauren was in the next group but within 10-20 secs, close enough that the gap could be closed with Spirig taking some big pulls. Carolyn came through in the next group about a minute back. The following laps the front bunch remained basically the same but Spirig simply rode off the front of the chase group dragging Ide from Japan with her in a very impressive piece of riding. With Spirig gone the momentum of the chase group was lost. Lauren took some solid pulls but was battling Spirig again who was now pulling the front group farther away. Eventually the second and third packs merged and settled about a minute back. With two laps to go out of the six, I was standing in my usual spot as the pack came up the spillway in the dam to the front straight away when "the" crash happened. I was snapping a few photos as it happened right in front of me. The course narrows before making the final turn onto the straight and one athlete touched wheels with another in front and down she went. I watched Lauren, as if in slow motion, have no where to go, ride overtop of the crashed athletes and go over the handle bars. The artificial surface of the course made things a bit worse as instead of sliding along the pavement they came to a dead stop right away, leading to some nice road rash. Lauren ended up bracing her fall with her arms outstretched and landed on her elbow. As soon as it happened I rushed over and tried to see if she could continue. It was obvious she was in quite a bit of pain and when it was clear should couldn't grip her hand or straighten her arm I knew she couldn't continue. She was very disappointed but it wouldn't have been safe to keep riding. There was lots of medical support as the medical area was right in that spot and soon enough Lauren was off the hospital in the ambulance.

Back to the race, the first group continued to gain on the chase bunch. Coming off the bike it was somewhere around 90 secs but the majority of the main contenders were all there in the front. Onto the run, Snowsill simply ran away from everyone in a display of absolute dominance that was very impressive to watch. To be able to do that with all the pressure in the world on her was just awesome. Fernandes never got going with Snowsill so was left of battle for the silver. For a while it looked like she would be challenged, but eventually found her legs and got some distance to 3rd. The battle for bronze was great with Bennett and Moffatt have a go at each other and Ide from Japan not for behind having an outstanding race. Eventually Moffy got clear and Bennett and Ida went back and forth before Bennett was able to dig in for 4th. With Snowsill, Fernandes and Moffy being the medals we had a very worthy podium of the most consistent performers of the last couple of years. There were no major surprises in the top 10 but Ide and Ryf rose to the occasion with big performances on the day.

As far as the Canadians, neither Kathy nor Carolyn seemed to really find their legs on the run. Kathy did everything right until the run but right from the beginning she didn't look light on her feet. The chase on the bike was always going to take a toll for Carolyn, but she's been in that position before. We saw some nice running from both women earlier in the year, but both struggled to get moving at that level today. Either from the heat, the efforts from the bike, or the expectations and pressure of competing at the Olympic games, its hard to say for sure. Being able to put it all together on the day you want it most is not easy and there are so many factors that go into a performance, which is what makes the podium so impressive in the Olympics.

With Lauren's crash the disappointment was also that she simply didn't get to show her run in the hot conditions which she usually excels in. Lauren had a challenging year with injuries and I was really impressed by how she was able to overcome those obstacles and arriving in Beijing fit and ready to go. Her swim was one of her best at a championship race and a few seconds more there or in the first lap of the bike might have made all the difference, but to not get a chance to show what she had on the run was frustrating.

All in all, although I didn't go into the race expecting to have a medal, I thought if things went right we could have top 16 performances and if everything clicked we might have a top 8 or two. So it was disappointing to come out of the race without anyone in the top 20. We have some work to do with our womens program leading into London, and there will be a hard look at where we are at in the coming months.

My major impressions of the race were Snowsill's dominance under all the pressure and the lack of any significant tactics on the swim and bike. There was a number of athletes whose strengths suited making the bike more tactical and who might have been able to get away had they taken the risk. Tactics like we saw in the womens race in Vancouver for instance. However doing it at the games is another thing all together with everything on the line. Much like in athletics, the higher stakes at championship races often means athletes are less willing to take risks and tend to conserve until closer to the end. The conditions also played a role with the course and the heat, but I can't help but feel that there were some missed opportunities.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back in Vic


At the CBC studios, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.

Will post thoughts on the races in the next coming days. For now here are a couple articles:

Olympics turn ratings to pure gold for CBC
Viewership up 15 per cent over 2004 Games; 2.574 million watch Whitfield's silver triathlon finish


From my hometown newpaper in Cornwall Ontario:
City native Filliol shares in Olympic medal victory
Coached silver medalist Simon Whitfield to victory

And some props from Randy Starkman of the Toronto Star:
Canadian coaches stand out among the best in the world

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

National Post Article


"This was a story of possibility. If we fund our athletes, if we are innovative, if we do not bow to the nattering chorus, if we are talented, and if we are brave enough to commit our whole selves to winning knowing how much more crushing it will be should we fail, then Canada can compete with anybody. Then Canada can win."
- Bruce Arthur, National Post August 19, 2008

http://www.nationalpost.com/sports/beijing-games/story.html?id=734442

My thoughts on the races are coming - I'm going to enjoy the Olympic experience for the next few days.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beijing Day 4


Team Canada, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.

The clouds rolled back in for day 4 here in Beijing today, but it was still relatively cool temperature wise. I went out for a run first thing again (4 days in a row - woohoo :-), and didn't see too many people out this time. The early morning runs (which Kim pointed out are actually the same time as I usually run at home, 5pm pacific) have been great to get onto the time zone.

Training wise it was a pretty smooth and simple day with the women doing their pre race routines including morning run with strides, short activation swim in the pool and a bike spin with accelerations, while the guys did a ride around the reservoir early and then the pool swim at the same time as the women. We had 8 athletes swimming in the pool today with 5 different workouts going on, all in 3 lanes.

Today we watched the mens eight rowers dominate and "crush the dreams" of the other teams - awesome performance and an inspiration to the women who are racing tomorrow to really go for it, and leave everything on the course. Going into the Olympics as a gold medal favorite is a whole other experience than "making the team" and just being happy to be there. Seeing the rowers execute under that pressure was a real highlight and what it is all about. Canada is on the medal board now after a great weekend with some excellent performances in rowing, wrestling and a great swim from Ryan Cochrane of Victoria finishing with the bronze medal in the 1500m.

Before dinner Tom, Gabor and I took the womens bikes to the race venue, where they were inspected for logos and handlebars (there are strict logo rules in the Olympics for equipment, in the case of bikes, only one manufacturer logo per side). They'll pick the bikes up race morning before the warm up and finally placing them in the transition.

The few days we've been here have flown by and its time for the women to have their go. They are ready and looking forward to giving everything they have tomorrow. Send them good vibes!

Beijing Day 3


Cold Tub Shots, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.

Our third day in Beijing was another beautiful day, with the sun shining on clear blue skies. I am told that the pollution index the last two days was near the lowest in a few years. The rain that passed through a couple of days ago has cooled the temperatures off from what most were expecting. We prepared a number of cooling methods to deal with the heat post training but haven't needed to use many of them yet. We're prepared if we need them but so far have been fine. We had this great bug ice tub provided by the COC sitting the lobby of the villa so we decided to pump it up and put it to use anyway. After the battery unit supplied with the tub failed, Gabor, Tom and Rob took turns pumping it up with a bike pump. That took a while... Meanwhile to fill the tub with ice the hotel was charging us ~$8 per grocery sized bag... lets just say it took more than 10 bags to bring the temp to the right spec...

Training wise yesterday was similar to the previous day. Most of the team did a run in the early am, had breakfast then went off to the course for the cycle, followed by another swim on the course. All the athletes were at this session as it was the last official swim training session before the venue is closed on Sunday for rehearsals. It was interesting to see all the athletes in various states: some looking nervous, some tired, some joking around, others very serious. A couple of the favorites looking like they may be having issues... we'll see soon enough!

At the end of the swim training triathlon Legend Greg Welch was on site working for Oakley, giving his sponsored athletes fresh specs for the race. Country colored frames like Aussie green and yellow, and of course red and white for Canada. Greg was kind enough to give the coach a pair too, thanks Greg!

The next activity was the race briefing. The briefing content is all pretty much the same as you get at any ITU World cup, plus after the managers meeting I gave our troops the need to know info. There was definitely some energy among the athletes as the briefing means that the race is really almost here. Also at the briefing the pontoon draw was held. The ITU has done away with this at world cups now as it takes too long, but for the Olympics for TV purposes they still use it. This time the top ten athletes drew blind, followed by the rest of the field drawing publicly, and revealing the top ten once all the selections are made. The mens side lined up mostly left to right and the women right to left, interestingly. The pontoon selection can make a difference depending who an athlete starts beside (faster or slower for instance) and where they are relative to the fastest swimmers in the field. But mostly its a lot of drama compared to its actual importance.

At the briefing the ITU announced the replacement of a few athletes, with Nadia Cortassa out and replaced by another Italian woman, as well as Hendrick Devilliers and Dmitry Gaag also out, but replaced by a Hungarian and Ukrainian. No official reasons were given for the mens replacements.

Also at the briefing Les McDonald announced that the ITU has secured a new multi-million dollar sponsor to replace the BG group which pulled out of triathlon earlier this year. Its supposed to be revealed on Tuesday after the mens race... stay tuned...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Beijing Day 2


Swim Course Training Day 1, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.


It was a beautiful day in Beijing today. The skies were blue and clear, revealing the spectacular venue where the triathlon will be held. Check out my flickr page for the latest pics. We started the day early with another jog on the bike course. I got in another 50 mins to yesterdays 56 mins - I'm feeling a bit more fit than last year when I could barely make it around one lap of the bike course from the villa (about 8km). Last year Rob H had to practically escort me back to the villa as I'm sure it looked like I was going to die. This year I debated doing another lap or two, but then thought I'd better conserve energy for the remainder of the day.


Our main activities today were a bike ride and a swim on the race course. Since this was the first official training we had to go through the security check point prior to gaining entry to the swim course and transition areas. Fortunately everyone got through without any trouble including Kyle and Kirsten who were able to get in a swim on the Olympic course. The bike ride went smoothly with Gabor on hand just in case any adjustments were needed.


The swim went well with the crew doing about a lap and a half of the course including some mini sets to tune up. Its a unique swim course compared to many of the races on the ITU circuit with one 1500m lap rather than two laps. Its 560m to the first buoy which gives some time for things to spread out, instead of the mad dash to the first buoy which is often the case. Its still be a dash alright, but slightly less hectic that usual.


After the swim the athletes did their CBC interviews with Barrie and then headed back to the villa for some R&R. Tomorrow will be another similar day, with the last official course training before the local organizers shut down the course on Sunday for rehearsals prior to the womens event on Monday.


Tom and I headed off to the Managers meeting as well today. No surprises - basically the same meeting as we've experienced dozens of times, with everything taking a little longer due to the levels of organization surrounding the Olympic games.


Our full team is now here at the villa with Carolyn arriving from Korea this afternoon. The team looks great and the energy is very good. All in all things have gone pretty smoothly so far (it sure helps having excellent food to keep the spirits high).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beijing Day 1

The second wave of the Canadian triathlon team arrived in Beijing yesterday, including myself, team massage therapist Kim Ward, Doc Steve Keeler, athletes Lauren Groves, Kathy Tremblay, Paul Tichelaar, and team alternate Kirsten Sweetland. The travel and arrival at the airport went pretty smoothly, with plenty of volunteers eager to assist. Lauren and Paul had to head over to the Olympic Village to fix an accreditation issue, but made it back to the villa not long after the rest of us arrived. They were pretty excited seeing all the international athletes for their short stay in the village and mentioned that the food was pretty good...

The travel up our accommodation went smoothly and everything looks great here at the Villa. We are between the Italian cycling team and the Portuguese triathlon team. The French and Japanese teams are here as well, with many of the teams opting to stay here within walking distance of the race course. The Jundu hotel is also the ITU hotel for officials so the place has the feel of a regular world cup, with all the familiar faces from the World Cup circuit.

The first wave of the team, including the team leader Tom Patrick, mechanic Gabor Herner, chef Cosmo means and assistant coach Phil Bertrand did a great job setting up the place before we arrived. The villas have been renovated since we were here last year, no doubt with the amount it costs to stay here they could afford to clean the place up for us and the other teams staying here. The Jundu hotel and villas is a bit of a bizarre place. I get the feeling it must be pretty dead here most of the year. The compound and hotel are enormous and its mostly empty, even for the games. I'll take a few more photos of the area in the next few days to post on my flickr page.

Seems everyone slept well last night and was up this morning ready for the final preparations before the races next Monday and Tuesday. The athletes did a jog this morning before heading over to the pool here at the hotel. They have an indoor 25m pool which is handy being right on the hotel grounds. Today were we the only ones swimming at the pool, most teams were likely at the first open water training practice this morning.

I went for a run with a loop of the bike course also this morning. There was a bike course tour scheduled for 10am, but at even at 7.30 there was a plethora of volunteers out around the course, perhaps practicing for when the cyclists eventually come through. The volunteers are very keen to help with anything and there is more than enough to line most of the course cheering for the athletes out training. No doubt they were impressed with my pace this morning given the clapping and cheering as a shuffled by... :-)

Our afternoon cycling session got rained out by a torrential downpour that flooded many of the roads. Paul went out just before it started to darken and he was back in a hurry when the rain started, unfortunately getting his new Olympic Cervelo dirty... Good thing we packed a few trainers as the rain has been coming down for a couple hours now.

The final team members arrive this afternoon, including athletes Colin Jenkins and Simon Whitfield, team alternate Kyle Jones and Chiro Rob Hawsagawa. Tomorrow we are going out for a ride on the bike course and the open water swim. With the race start at 10am for both the men and women we'll be getting most of our training done in the mornings. Thinking we might have a bit of free time in the afternoons we set up a sling-box to watch the Canadian CBC Olympic feeds, and I brought my Nintendo Wii for some entertainment. However when setting up the Wii today, I forgot to check if the power brick was a dual voltage (most are), and judging by the loud "pop" and ensuing burning smell, I quickly figured out it was not... ouch.

Here are few of the latest news items:

Simon Whifield on his way to Beijing in search of gold
Sharie Epp, Times Colonist

Published: Wednesday, August 13, 2008
With kisses for partner Jennie Sprigings and 13-month-old Pippa, a big smile, and a wave good-bye, Simon Whitfield walked through the departure gate of Victoria International Airport on his way to Beijing Wednesday.
More

OUR OLYMPIANS: Lauren Groves
Fellow Kingstonian athlete inspired woman's interest in triathlon

Posted By JANE SWITZER FOR THE WHIG-STANDARD

Fifteenth in a series profiling Kingston's contributions to the Canadian Olympic team.
Lauren Groves' athletic accomplishments come from a combination of hard work and persistence, but not necessarily genetics.
More


Knox column: More than medals make Olympians
Jack Knox, Times Colonist

Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So, there I was wobbling downhill on my bike, the twin laws of gravity and incompetence bringing me ever closer to Ryder Hesjedal's back wheel, when this imaginary headline popped into my head: "Times Colonist writer crashes into Olympic cyclist, crushes Canada's dreams."
More


Where are the medals?
Sun columnist Terry Jones looks back at the wait Canada's endured at prior Summer Games

By TERRY JONES, Sun Media

The woman who has been described as “the Wal-Mart greeter” at Canada House, the first person a medal-winning athlete sees before coming into contact with the other 30 volunteers at the venue where our nation celebrates medal victories with family, friends and fans, hasn't seen anybody show up with a medal around their neck yet.
More


Olympic athletes look for strategies to fight smog and heat
August 09, 2008

JOHN KERNAGHAN
THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR
(Aug 9, 2008)

Environmental fears hung over these Olympics like toxic storm clouds.
Would these be the seriously and literally dirty Games, as opposed to other merely drug-dirty Games?
More

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Latest news articles

Lauren's super little system
Victoria athlete packs pill that's said to ease stress and boost endurance

Paul Luke, The Province
Published: Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic athletes groaning under the weight of overstuffed suitcases may envy Victoria's Lauren Groves when she arrives in Beijing this week for the triathlon.
Groves will be lighter on her feet than rival triathletes who have crammed dozens of bottles of vitamins and minerals in their bags to see them through their gruelling event.
Groves, 26, avoided supplement angst by finding pretty much everything she wants in a new product called 7systems.

more at The Province

Turn the spotlight to the athletes

Times Colonist
Published: Friday, August 08, 2008

The Games of the XXIX Olympiad officially open today in Beijing. For the next 17 days, it's time to place the focus where it belongs -- on the athletes. They have trained years for this opportunity to test themselves against the best in the world. Through hard work and sacrifice, they earned that chance and deserve their moment to shine.
That's certainly what Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France had in mind when he spearheaded the advent of the modern games in the late 19th century.

More at the Times Colonist

Simon Whitfield defies heat, hills, and smog in Beijing

By Jeff Paterson
To give you an idea of just how far the sport of triathlon has advanced in a relatively short time, Victoria’s Simon Whitfield can only laugh at the suggestion that the performance that was good enough to earn him the sport’s first ever Olympic gold medal in Sydney, back in 2000, could garner a similar result in Beijing this month.

“Our sport has evolved so much, with different players coming in and taking the level up,” Whitfield told the national media on a pre-Olympic conference call, fondly reliving his greatest achievement.

More at Straight.com

Colin Jenkins Special Edition


Colin Jenkins Special Edition, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.

New article from Jenkins on Slowtwitch:

Cervelo Presents The Road To Beijing: Part 5

Written by: Colin Jenkins
Date: Sat Aug 09 2008

The Olympics were kicked off this morning with the Opening Ceremonies to open the 2008 Summer Olympic Games! I was able to catch a little bit of the spectacular show on my computer before I was off to swim practice here in Victoria. Yes that is right, I am still in Canada when the Games have already started. We are actually do not leave for Beijing until the 13th when we fly FIRST CLASS to Beijing from Vancouver.

Read the rest on ST

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Photo of the Day


Observatory Action Aug 6, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Latest News Articles


Colin has a message, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.



Whitfield eyes return to glory
2000 Olympic champ has firm belief in abilities

Cleve Dheensaw, Victoria Times Colonist; Canwest News Service
Published: 2:02 am

VICTORIA - In 2000, Simon Whitfield sprinted to the finish line in the shadow of the Sydney Opera House. It seems he has been trying to run out of it ever since.
The moment that has come to define him is both boon and curse. Ever since winning the inaugural gold medal in the men's triathlon at the 2000 Summer Olympics, Simon Whitfield has had to live up to being Simon Whitfield.

More at Canada.com


Road to Excellence looks ahead to 2012

Posted By DONNA SPENCER, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Posted 5 hours ago

WITHIN FIVE DAYS OF BREAKING A bone in his foot, diver Alexandre Despatie was on a plane to Boston to see rehabilitation specialist.

When Canada's triathletes, including Kingston native Simon Whitfield, arrive in Beijing next week, they'll have a house to themselves a few metres from a training pool and less than a kilometre from the Olympic course at the Ming Tombs Reservoir.

The men's gymnastics team has been to China each of the last two years to train at the Olympic venue and compete against the host Chinese.

Canada's top medal hopefuls at the 2008 Summer Games, which open Friday, got a sports psychologist when they needed it and had their massage and physiotherapy sessions paid for.

All of the above cost money and it doesn't come from a magic ATM.

More at the Kingston Whig-Standard


Swim, bike, run and be Mr. Support

Triathlete Tichelaar is entering the best summer of his life, even if he might be Whitfield's caddy
By TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

BEIJING -- As the Olympic Games get set to begin here, Paul Tichelaar remained at home preparing.

For his wedding.

And the Olympics.

Three weeks after he competes here, the Edmonton triathlete returns home to be wed to Lindsay Acheson.

More at the Edmonton Sun


Bill Davoren's Olympic Games Preview

Wednesday, 06 August 2008

With the Olympics just around the corner, we asked Australia's Head Triathlon coach, Bill Davoren, for his views on how both races might unfold. Bill also gives us an individual look at the whole Australian team. While the team is split at the moment, with Densham, Kahlefeldt and Davoren in France and the rest of the group in Australia with their medical and coaching team, the group comes together later this week to make their final preparations to vie for an elusive gold medal.

More at First Off the Bike


'Systematic doping'

5:01 PM Tue, Aug 05, 2008
Andy Friedlander

That's the term used by Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the IOC's medical commission, regarding the case of seven female Russian track and field athletes suspended last week by track's governing body, the IAAF. Five of the athletes were on the Russian Olympic roster, including middle distance star Yelena Soboleva, considered by many the favorite in the 1,500 meters on Beijing.

More on the Dallas News Olympic Blog


All-out war in the water
Murray loves many things about triathlon, but the swimming low blows are not one of them

By DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

To Carolyn Murray, it's not about being next to other competitors during the swimming portion of a triathon that's an issue.

It's having them on top of her, kicking and punching in order to gain an advantage that's a problem.

Especially since she's had to train hard in order to become a world-class swimmer.

"There are moments where you want to stop and say 'OK girls, lets just settle down and swim,' " Murray said. "It's not a problem just having people close by, it's because they're beating you up and trying to slow you down that's a bit frustrating. It's the same for everyone and I really just try to keep moving. But I find that if you retaliate, you're just going to get it back worse.

"There are certain athletes that are more aggressive than others and I try not to start beside them," she added. "But there is not much you can do, you just have to keep your head down and keep swimming."

More at the Edmonton Sun

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More News Articles

The original content is coming! :-)

Being Simon Whitfield

Cleve Dheensaw, Canwest News Service
Published: Sunday, August 03, 2008

He sprinted to gold in the first Olympic men's triathlon.
Refocused and rejuvenated, he heads to Beijing ready to swim, bike and run for the podium
Simon Whitfield

Born: May 16, 1975, Kingston, Ont.
Home town: Kingston, Ont.
Residence: Victoria
Height: Five foot nine
Weight: 154 pounds
On team since: 1994
Career Highlights:
- 2000 Olympic champion, becoming the first male triathlete to win a gold medal in triathlon at the Olympic Games.

More at the Ottawa Citizen


Cervelo Cycles a major player in Tour de France, Olympics

Successful riders like billboards for the Canadian company

Posted By BY DONNA SPENCER, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Posted 1 month ago

Some of the fastest legs in the world will pedal Canadian- made bikes in both the Tour de France and at the Olympic Games this summer.

This is the sixth year of the Tour that the bottoms of the multi-national Team CSC will be on bikes designed by Toronto's Cervelo Cycles.

The 95th Tour de France opens Saturday in Brest, France. The 21- stage, 3,500-kilometre race ends July 27 in Paris.

CSC Saxo Bank includes previous stage winners Fabian Cancellera of Spain, Jens Voigt of Germany and perennial contender Carlos Sastre of Spain.

The Canadian men's triathlon team -- Paul Tichelaar, Colin Jenkins and gold medallist Simon Whitfield -- will be on Cervelo bikes in the Olympic Games. World champion Javier Gomez of Spain will also be on a Cervelo in Beijing.

More from the Canadian Press


Canadians bring several compelling plot lines to Beijing

John MacKinnon, Canwest News Service
Published: Sunday, August 03, 2008

BEIJING - Finally, Olympic competition may be about the journey, after all, not the destination.
Yes, yes, all athletes want to perform on the day and win, if possible. Or at least, win a medal.
But if getting there isn't half the fun, it sure makes for some compelling plot lines.

I arrived in Beijing having followed significant parts of the Olympic journey of a wide swath of Canadians over the last several years, and virtually all those from Edmonton.
It will be hugely compelling to see how these stories turn out.

More at the Vancouver Sun


BEIJING OLYMPICS PREVIEW: PART 2 OF 6: CANADA'S CHANCES: DESPITE THE COMPETITION, THERE'S OPTIMISM THAT CANADA'S DOWNWARD SPIRAL OF OLYMPIC MEDALS WILL END

Buoyant athletes sense a turnaround

JAMES CHRISTIE
August 4, 2008
Canada's athletes came out of the Athens Olympic Games looking like Napoleon's bedraggled soldiers returning from Russia.

Canada brought home 12 medals, the smallest take of hardware since the scandal-darkened days of Seoul in 1988. The country was shut out in the marquee sports of track and swimming. The first whitewash in the Olympic pool in half a century was followed by a mutiny against coach Dave Johnson. The performance continued a downward spiral in Summer Olympic success, from 22 medals at Atlanta in 1996 to 14 at Sydney in 2000.

More at the Globe and Mail

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Some news items and original content coming

So some people have suggested to me that blogs are supposed to have original content... My plan starting this blog was to track the various news articles about the athletes I work with in the build up to the games, which has provided plenty of content to keep me busy with updates. However, there will be a few opportunities in the coming weeks to provide some original perspective and commentary on the final days leading into the Beijing games, as well as during the games. The endurance world keeps moving after the games, so I'll keep this going as we move into the fall season and beyond.

Anyway, here are a few recent articles:

Colin Jenkins' CBC Olympic blogs here

In his element out of the elements

Triathlon team forego athletes village for mansion and fresh air


Canwest News Service
Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Victoria triathlete Simon Whitfield won't be with the Canadian team when it marches into the Olympic stadium for the 2008 Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing on Aug. 8.
Whitfield will be watching them on television at a Victoria bike shop with training mates, friends and family, and a big order of Chinese takeout.

"We've already organized it to be at the bike shop with some Chinese food," Whitfield, who won the 2000 Olympic gold medal and finished 11th in Athens four years ago, said Tuesday.

More at canada.com

Brown bagging it in Beijing

HAYLEY MICK
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
July 30, 2008 at 9:23 AM EDT

Forget the Peking duck. When the Beijing Olympics kick off next week, Canadian athletes will be dining on quinoa and summer vegetable salad, baked salmon and organic chickpeas - dished out by premier Canadian chefs imported to the Games.

For the first time, the Canadian Olympic Committee has hired two chefs who will cater low-fat meals at a Canadian performance centre. Some teams, such as Canada's triathletes, have also packed personal cooks, while other teams will dine in hotels outside the athletes' village on tailor-made Western menus hammered out through delicate negotiations with Chinese kitchen staff.

More at Globe and Mail.com


Whitfield still has eyes on the big prize

Eric Koreen, National Post
Published: Tuesday, July 29, 2008

After an 11th-place finish in Athens, triathlete Simon Whitfield will try to climb back to the podium this August in Beijing.
In 2000, Simon Whitfield completed the triathlon of his life, winning the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics as a 25-year-old underdog.

Eight years later, Whitfield thinks that racer would have his lunch handed to him in the upcoming Beijing games.

"I think I couldn't swim, bike or run with myself if you could ghost-race yourself from eight years ago," Whitfield, the Victoria resident born in Kingston, Ont., said during a conference call on Tuesday. "I couldn't compete back then.

More at the National Post


Whitfield likes his start position in Beijing

Gary Kingston, Vancouver Sun
Published: Tuesday, July 29, 2008

As athletes go, Simon Whitfield isn't particularly superstitious, but the Victoria triathlete isn't above latching on to what he believes will be good omens.
Nearly a year ago, the new licence plate he picked up just happened to read 001 FPL, which Whitfield quickly interpreted as reading first place. Now, he's learned that he's drawn the No. 16 position in the transition area at the Beijing Olympics.
"That's my birthdate, that's got to be good luck," Whitfield said Tuesday on a conference all with Canadian reporters.

More at the Vancouver Sun

Whitfield: My brakes must be rubbing

Well it's been a couple years since I turned in one of "those" races. To sum it up I was looking down at my brakes about halfway through the bike and thinking they must be rubbing on the rim because I can't possibly feel this bad. It's disappointing to come all the way to New York City and DNF a race I've won in the past. But that's racing.

More at the Globe and Mail

BONUS
Here is a real whopper of a story and here

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jordan Rapp's Felt DA

Jordan Rapp's Felt DA

Written by: Herbert Krabel
Date: Mon Jul 28 2008

Today we are taking a closer look at the Felt DA of Jordan Rapp for our series "the bikes of the pros." Jordan has posted some of the fastest bike splits in a few races he has entered and we wanted to know more about his setup.

More on ST

Just remember... its NOT about the bike :-) (really. I am serious.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sydney Olympics revisited

247.com has a retrospective look at the Sydney Olympic Games, of course with a Brit slant, but worth a read:

Sydney Olympics revisited
Posted by: Annie Emmerson

Posted on: Wednesday 23rd July 2008

Eight years ago triathlon made its Olympic debut in Sydney, and since then it has become one of the fastest growing participation sports Great Britain has ever seen. In our Beijing Bound series, Annie Emmerson takes a look back at the sport's history, the 2000 Olympic course, the British team and the athletes that won the first ever Olympic triathlon medals.

More at Tri247.com

Thursday, July 17, 2008

BBQ with Greg Lemond

Thanks to Kevin of the GearWest bike shop Yesterday we went to a BBQ at a fund raiser for a local school district that Greg Lemond was supporting. After doing a group ride with the Gear West tri club, we headed over for some food and were able to chat with Greg for a while. Greg was my cycling hero when I was racing, and it was great to meet him and hear some of his stories.

Years have changed Whitfield but his desire for an Olympic medal remains

Years have changed Whitfield but his desire for an Olympic medal remains

Jim Morris, THE CANADIAN PRESS

There have been changes in his sport and dramatic shifts in his personal life, but a constant remains buried inside triathlete Simon Whitfield.

He wants to win a medal at this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing. The method of how he gets back on the podium may be different, but the desire remains the same.

"I'm a competitive bugger," Whitfield said recently, huffing over his cellphone while he rode his bicycle training in Victoria. "The way things are going I am on track to be very competitive, not just podium, but to possibly win.

"Of course that's the goal. That would be an extraordinary thing to do."

It will be an older, wiser Whitfield that will compete in the 1.5-kilometre swim, 40-kilometre bike race and 10-kilometre run at the Ming Tomb Reservoir in the Changping District of northern Beijing on Aug. 19.

The kid who won a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Games has matured into a husband and father. With the responsibilities of maturity have come the security of family and an understanding of what is important in the world.

"I was a wide-eyed kid when I went to Sydney," said Whitfield, who turned 33 in May. "I had an amazing race on that one day and caught that Olympic fire.

"Now I'm a father. I'm trying to help run a training group, trying to be involved in helping Triathlon Canada grow. I have a lot more responsibilities. At times that feels like a bit of a burden and at times that's very rewarding.

"I think life is just a little more complicated now. But with (daughter) Pippa and (wife) Jennie, it's a lot more rewarding."

More at Canadaeast.com

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dr Jones 10th in Hungary ITU World Cup

Whitfield turns in a record-breaking run


Podium Presentation, originally uploaded by jfilliol1.



Whitfield turns in a record-breaking run

Simon Whitfield will be in Beijing for the Summer Games, as will women's winner Emma Snowsill.

By JACKIE FRIEDMAN, Star Tribune
Last update: July 12, 2008 - 9:55 PM

MEN'S WINNER simon whitfield (1:48:01) women's winner emma snowsill (1:58:04)

Simon Whitfield and Emma Snowsill, winners of the men's and women's elite division of the Life Time Fitness Triathlon, stood on the podium Saturday, their $60,000 winnings in hand.

Greg Bennett, who came in third, lunged onto the stage and toward the top finishers. He gave Snowsill a congratulatory kiss on the cheek -- then offered the same to Whitfield, who outright denied it, before patting Bennett on the back, smiling with appreciation.

Whitfield broke Bennett's course record, finishing in 1 hour, 48 minutes and 1 second. Snowsill finished in 1:58:04 for a series-record third Life Time victory.

More at the Star-Tribune.com