Its amazing how just the other day , Lindsey Parry and myself were sitting down at lunch in Pretoria talking about what It would take for me to qualify for London . At that point it seemed a bit far fetched .
Soon after a win at African Championships in Mauritius I knew things were heading in the right direction.
This then set me up for a start in Sydney World Triathlon series event #1 . Obtaining a start in Sydney was a huge success for me, and then things went a step better by getting 2nd place at the event behind Steffen Justus . With a great block of training in Wollongong-Australia I headed for San Diego the 2nd event in the world Tri Series .
Still not 100% certain I was going to the games, even after the biggest win of my career, I headed into San Diego with my best possible performance in mind .
Soon San Diego came and went, and I knew after this great event that I was going to get selected for the South African team to race in the London Olympics .
Only really getting the go ahead +-2months before the games , and getting sick for 2 weeks in this period really made me nervous in how my performance would be.
Moving from Germany “Sickland” to Vitoria-Spain was the smartest move of my season, and training went very well once-again with thanks to Jamie turner and the NSW-triathlon team 🙂
Hamburg was my biggest and most amazing showing this year, and I feel like my preperation towards London could not have gone any better .
Many people don’t realize that my goal was to get to London and then take it from there, as qualifying was an achievement its own!
Staying in the Olympic Village should be a post on its own, but Ill keep the negative banter to a minimum 😉
Moving to the olympic Village on the 2nd August to get my bicycle through bike check in, was a long time to spend in the village…..
With my race on the 7th August and 5 days to the event, I settled in at the village and went about my normal pre race week training .
Hyde Park was the venue , which was some 1 hour bus drive away from the village and running and cycling in the village was far from ideal. After my staying at the village on the night of the opening ceremony I was 100% certain I didnt want to stay there before my race on the 7th August . Things didnt go smoothly, cycling and running was not really “Great” as one needed to run around in circles on tar and there were many cars and people getting in the way all the time .
Heading back to Spain I tried my best to get out of the Village, and the response came “ If you dont stay in the village , you will not be alowed to compete” . I found this illogical and power hungry , and this left negative thoughts in my mind leading up to the games .
I have come to realize, that people,congestion and a nightmare getting to places is not my kind of thing and is a true waste of time and effort….. This is how my pre race prep felt and took place.
Also staying in the Village , sleeping was very hard due to some athletes being finished with their events and partying it up while some of us still needed to rest .
In the village I never really felt happy or comfortable as I like my own space with piece and quiet and training must be away from everyone and everything… I guess staying on a farm makes staying in a zoo a bit difficult .
I realized that there was nothing I could do, and got on with training and prep for the race . Come race day, my bicycle had been check multiple times along with every other piece of equipment I would race with on the day .
The 7th came was soon apon me, and my pre race day swim,ride and run throughs went very well . I was mentally, physically ready for my race and was going to give it every ounce of energy I had to make my country and myself proud!
With a nice start time of 11:30 , and the water temp 19,7 wetsuits would be used 🙂 I dont normally get very happy before a swim, but the chance of having a better swim was a good thought.
With Richard Varga breaking the tension in the athletes lounge by sitting on a plastic container “Like I was” and it breaking underneath him, it was a good start to the event.
A,Browlnee , J,Brownlee and J,Gomez the favourites for the event and myself ranked 19th , we headed down to the pontoon for the line up .. I was very nervous , as all my hard work for the season had been for this one race!
Starting on the left was a good choice and I had a great swim till the 1st bouy. The swim was a 1500m 1 looper which is a bit harder than a 2x750m loops , but I prefer 1loop. We rounded the 1st part of the swim and everyone was swimming as hard as they could go! We started to head back towards the pontoon and I felt composed and my stroke felt very good 🙂
As we passed the side of the pontoon I started to realize that we were slowing down, and I looked up to see that we were FAR behind and the 4 guys in front of me had dropped out of the slip of the swimmers in front of them .
This I have noticed Is something I will need to work on in my open water swimming, I need to know where I am in the swim bunch and what is going on near the front of the bunch.
I decided to do something brave, and I forced my way through the swimmers in front of me and was practially sprinting for 500-600meters and I finally managed to close the 20m gap that the guys had let open up .
Out the water we sprinted and with 1min plus seconds back , I knew that we were in big trouble . I then had the fastest transition 1 of the day and was on my bike putting the hammer down to try and catch the group in front of us .
On the bike we were working well together but I noticed that all the favourites and some very strong bikers were in the front pack and we were not closing the gap during the race . I was giving it everything I had , and some athletes in our bunch “no names will be mentioned” were not rolling through and this made the guys working 4-5 suffer for about 4-5laps of the bike course .
Our bunch was then caught by the chasing group with some strong riders and they soon came through to help us out a bit.
With strong bikers and guys motivated we closed the gap a bit by 15sec on one lap but then it grew again to the front group to 1min30 by the end of the bike .
I knew that on the bike , my race for a medal was very much over, and that I would most likely catch a few of the back markers of the front pack on the run .
Off the hardest bike of my life , I “bolted” out the transition again for the run course . With Steffan Justus , Mario Mola and a big chanse group right behind me, I knew that this was my biggest race of my life, and even though things hadent gone to plan I would still give it my all and catch as many people as I could .
I felt smooth and good on the run, and caught about 5 guys that had a 1min30 gap over us on the run. With around 500meters to go I knew that Steffan Justus was coming for me and managed to pass me in the final 300metrs to the line . I didnt my best to keep on his feet and told myself you have more and you can stay with him, but I was giving it everything !
I finished in 17th which I am happy and not so happy with . This was quite a weird event, and I find that from the swim I was already in big trouble .
I have been working very hard the past 3 years on my swim, and I expected quite a lot from myself after a good racing season so far.
Progression and moving on is taking place now in Spain, and even though I didnt get a medal or even a top 10 , it was the most amazing thing I have ever been part of ! The Olympics has many Do’s and Dont’s but through all the bull there Is something amazing about all of the best athletes in the world staying together and enjoying in each others success and defeats .
The olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a small kid back on the farm in Durbanville South Africa , and I really cant say thank you enough to my parents for all their years of guidence love and support . They have been to hundereds of my South African events , many internaional events and they have made me who I am today 🙂
My main Sponsor BSG has giving me the opportunity to unlock my potential and accelerating my performance
locally and internationally since 2010.
To everyone who has messaged me with kind words and to everyone who believes in me , I thank you to.
I believe that with some more guidence and swim stroke work, in Rio 2016 I can medal 🙂
Over and out