Saturday, March 8, 2008
Simon Whitfield interview
Posted by: Annie Emmerson
Posted on: Friday 7th March 2008
In Sydney 2000, a young and talented Canadian triathlete by the name of Simon Whitfield stood on the start line at triathlon's Olympic debut. He was fit and strong, but certainly not tipped as a favourite to take Gold. One hour, forty-eight minutes and twenty-four seconds later his life was to change forever as he became the first ever male triathlete to win a Gold medal in triathlon at the Olympic games. Complacency and a breakdown in team unity saw him finish in a somewhat disappointing 11th place in the 2004 Athens Olympics, but Beijing is going to be very different, with his team back to full strength and focus, and a much improved swim, Simon's desire to win Gold is as strong as ever.
AE What thoughts run through your mind when you stand on the startline at the Olympic Games?
SW In Sydney I was just a kid; smiling, loving the experience and feeling so fortunate to be racing at the Olympic Games with this internal feeling that I had a chance to surprise some people. In Athens it was completely different; our team (coach, manager, staff, athletes) had completely come apart and I take a fair amount of responsibility for that. We simply imploded and arrived at the games with low morale and lacking that sense of camaraderie, especially compared to Sydney. We had complicated everything and lost sight of the joy of racing and competing. I'm very excited about Beijing, our team is so happy to be together and supportive of each other. We'll play guitar hero the day before the race, eat dinner together (and do the dishes together) and everyone brings such fantastic energy, from our massage guru, Kim, and her great smile, to our Hungarian mechanic and his monster hands (and big laugh), to our soft-spoken Chiro, who's all about doing the shitty jobs and doing whatever it takes to get it done, and finally, our chef named Cosmo Memo, who is a dude, with a mohawk and the greatest food ever. Oh yeah and coach Joel, he's OK.
Gee, thanks... i tell ya, coaching can be a thankless job ;-)
at 4:57 AM