Olympic Odyssey: The Warm Up

Olympic Odyssey: The Warm Up

By ITU Admin on 17/08/08 at 12:00 am

Former World Number one Chris Hill takes us to Beijing through the athletes eyes

Some of the athletes racing in the Beijing Olympic Games triathlon tested out the Ming Tomb Reservoir course in an official training session on Friday. Heres some news from the day.

Its official, Canadas Paul Tichelaar is set to run his own race in the mens triathlon in Beijing on Tuesday. It was thought Tichelaar might have to work for compatriot Simon Whitfield due to his ninth place at the Vancouver world championships earlier in the year.

Steady heads prevailed for the Canadians and Tichelaar, who is a top-five contender in his own right, is now allowed to compete with full autonomy in the race. Simon and Colin Jenkins are going to work as a team, he said, but I am allowed to do my own race.

And on his preparation he said: My preparation has been consistent all year. I have had no injuries or setbacks and done some pretty solid workouts. Everything has gone to plan, nothing amazing, nothing depressing, kind of steady as she goes.

Australian Emma Snowsill looked her ever-composed self. She took in laps of the bike course as a group with her Australian teammates having travelled 40 minutes from the athletes village. She was philosophical about her race scheduled for Monday. 

You cannot control anyone else, you just have to run your own race and react to how the race is unfolding in front of you. We have raced here before in conditions much hotter, smoggy and even more humid than it is now, she said.

Asked about her preferred weather condition for the race, Snowsill said: Id like it hot on Monday. I think everybody would be praying for no rain but you have to roll with the punches and deal with whatever cards are being dealt that day. I dont think there is any pressure other than my own.

Ukrainian athlete Volodymyr Polikarpenko is usually on fire in the heat and Beijing is set to be no different. Polikarpenko won the Hungarian world cup in 2003 and has placed second, third, fourth and fifth on the traditionally hot course there.

Basically I like hot weather, he said before his swim warm up at the Ming Tomb Reservoir. My favourite races are Brazil, Mexico and Hungary, so this heat is normal for me. But everybody is ready for the weather so it will be a very interesting race. 

On his preparation he said: My preparation, like every Olympics, has been at a high level. I have done training camps instead of a lot of racing, so it is a different preparation. But it has been hard to be in a training camp without my wife and sons. Its has been training, training, training, but finally were here.

Swedens only competitor Lisa Norden is feeling pretty cool about the warm conditions having done some of her lead-up work in Japan: Japan was really hot so coming in here two days ago made it feel really cool. We have done a lot of heat adaptation so I have a strategy for Monday and how to handle it.

Is her form as good as it was at the start of the year when she was on a world cup podium placing spree?  It should be better because I have done loads and loads of training over the summer, she said. In training I am running heaps better, and in general, it is better than earlier in the year. The question is whether I can get it out in the race. That is always the hard task. 

Spaniard Javier Gomez is the favourite for the mens race and though it would be easier to downplay the race in an attempt to remove some of the pressure of expectation, he is not going to take that path.

I am excited, he said. This is something special. The Olympic Games is not just another race, it is something different. I am happy with my preparation, so lets see on Tuesday how the race goes. I am confident and happy to be here.

On his preparation he said: Everything in my preparation was well. I was training pretty well in South Korea the last three weeks and I am fine. I think the humidity in our training camp in Korea was higher than Beijing, but I think I have got used to it now.

German athlete and 2007 world champion Daniel Unger also added the finishing touches to his Beijing preparation in South Korea along with his German teammates.  He goes into Tuesdays race keyed up, and as one of the athletes to watch.

Its so big. I have heard so much about the Olympic Games, he said, but to be here its amazing. Its really exciting. I just want to enjoy the whole time here, and of course, the race is so important. The inspiration of the Olympic Games is great.

On his preparation he said: Most my preparation was done in Germany.  However, the last ten days we were on Jeju Island in Korea. We arrived yesterday and I think everything is fine.

New Zealander Sam Warriner, an athlete to watch out for in the womens race on Monday, was in high spirits talking about her Olympic preparation. She seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed her preparation so far.

I have really enjoyed the process, she said. I have really enjoyed the journey of watching it and I am looking forward to doing well on Monday.

And on her preparation she said: At the end of the day I am just so pleased with what I have achieved now. Sometimes I look back and think wow I am at my second Olympics. I have done everything I can. Sometimes I have done sessions so hard that I have felt sick afterward. So, I have had a great build up.

Click here for the Olympic Odyssey archive and more Beijing news

Former World Number one Chris Hill brings his unique elite athlete perspective in weekly Olympic columns to ITUs website, triathlon.org.  He competed on the ITU World Cup circuit, winning three titles and ten medals in total.  He was crowned the overall World Cup series champion in 2001.  That same year he was silver medalist at the ITU World Championships in Edmonton, Canada.  Watch for Chris Hills column, Olympic Odyssey every week on triathlon.org.

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