By Merryn Sherwood on 17/02/11 at 11:49 pm
It’s been a busy week for Triathlon in cyberspace, with retirements, comebacks, season starts and London the major flavour. Here, in convenient bite sized pieces, is your guide to what the world has been talking about when it comes to Tri.
The London 2012 Games officially released its schedule this week with Triathlon to be held on Saturday August 4 (women’s) and Tuesday August 7 (men’s). Helen Jenkins, twice a bronze medallist at the London leg of the Dextro Energy ITU World Championship Series and 06 British champ, already has London on her mind.
“I quite often imagine Hyde Park when I’m running. It’s always in my mind if I’m struggling in a session – ‘come on, think of Hyde Park, get through this.’ It’s a great venue – the crowd makes it great – and it’ll be good this year to get out of the park and go down the streets we’re actually going to cycle on for the Olympics. Everyone talks about 2012 as though we’re already going, but I’ve got to meet the criteria and get selected first, and I’ve got to beat some other strong girls to do it.”
And Formula 1 champ Jenson Button (GBR) reveals he’s a true triathlon fan.
“I think there’s a lot to look forward to in 2012 — I think London will be a spectacular backdrop for the Olympics. For me, the event I’ll be most looking forward to seeing is the triathlon. Outside of Formula One, it’s my favourite event — you need to be properly fit to compete at Olympic level, and I think it’ll be a great event,” Button said.
But the Brits have one athlete who isn’t aiming for London. Former European age-group champion and World Cup event winner Olly Freeman has announced his retirement, to take up a place at Clare College Cambridge that has been held open for him for seven years, and also travel to Nepal.
“I want to experience a lifestyle that is the antithesis of western culture,” Freeman said. “I love mountains, but until I raced in Kitzbuhel this summer I’d never been to the mountains, I’ve never been skiing. I’m looking forward to doing different things, but, of course, the athletes preparing for 2012 will have my full support.”
So that makes one retirement, and one comeback. In this story broken by Australian journalist Amanda Lulham, dual Hawaii Ironman champion Chris McCormack says he’s making a comeback to the Olympic distance – with an aim to win an Olympic medal.
“It the one thing in my career I regret, not making an Olympics,’’ McCormack revealed. “This is my last shot. The door swings shut after this. I don’t know if I am fast enough anymore to win but I’d love to be there to help an Australian win a medal.’‘
‘Macca’, who is now 38, was an world Olympic distance champion and multiple World Cup winner before he started chasing Ironman titles, and is currently now setting up a plan to chase the points needed to qualify for London. Whatever happens, it’s sure to be a busy year in his household with wife Emma Jane due to give birth to the couple’s third child in May.
And a host of ITU stars began their 2011 seasons this past weekend. Aussies Brad Kalhefeldt and Emma Moffat, two-time ITU World Champion, were victorious at the Australian National Sprint Championships in Geelong. Moffatt cruised to the win by a comfortable margin over Canadian Kirsten Sweetland while Kahlefeldt edged out Frenchman Laurent Vidal for victory in the men’s field.
Over in New Zealand, Kiwis Bevan Docherty and Kris Gemmel start their 2011 seasons with a sprint battle against each other in Takapuna that lived up to all the hype. Docherty came out on top this time, pulling ahead in the final stretch to take gold. In the women’s race, Vicky Holland upset home favourite Andrea Hewitt to take the women’s title.