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ITU President Marisol Casado opened the first ITU World Triathlon Series pre-race press conference of 2012 at Dextro Energy Triathlon Sydney, with Helen Jenkins, Brendan Sexton, Emma Snowsill, Simon Whitfield, Emma Moffatt and Bevan Docherty in attendance.
Ms Casado welcomed everyone, stating, “It is a very exciting for me to be up here again with these athletes again, it makes me quite emotional, because I think everybody understands that for us Sydney is a very very special place, it is where we made our debut in the Olympic Games.” That greeting set the focus for the press, with the Olympics, preparation, qualification and how to handle pressure all topics discussed.
On her win in London last year, and how it might be different this year:
“Last year to win on the Hyde Park course it was my main aim for the year, so to actually achieve my goal at a home event was amazing. I think the pressure was on for that race, but it’s going to be nothing compared to this year and all these races are just leading up to the build up for August.”
On her preparation for London last year:
“I wasn’t feeling great for a few days before the race and some of that might have been the pressure I put on myself, but I remember doing the warm up on the day of the race and feeling terrible, but then the race got started and the adrenaline took over and I managed to get out a good performance.”
On whether Olympic selection has been in the back of his mind:
“Basically I just approached this year the same as last year, I learnt a lot from last year when my results started to fade towards the end, I just basically prepared this year so I can keep building throughout the year rather than peaking early on. I’ve obviously come here, this is a priority race for me, being in Australia and being part of the World Series, so it’s basically just copied from last year but with an emphasis on later in the year.”
On her ability to race well at big races:
“It’s probably something that I haven’t really consciously thought of, it’s just been brought about my circumstance. I like to race when I can and I like to put everything on the line when it comes to it, I never really think about in particular, being a big race performer so to speak. But I enjoy the adrenaline of racing and I enjoy the big races. And I see each of these races becoming more and more important in the lead up to an important year. I’m just looking forward to putting my best foot forward on Saturday.”
On the lead in to Beijing:
“You tend to put more expectations on yourself than anything and I never felt that Vanessa (Fernandes) and I were the only two on that start line, I think everyone on that start line in Beijing was a potential winner and I had a potential opportunity like everyone else. I think the same goes for every race and for another Olympics. If I’m there on the start line then all I want to know is that i’ve put my best foot forward, left no stone unturned, wanting to give my give my best performance.”
On his history in Australia:
“Certainly, it was a big move for me as a 17-year-old to move to Australia and go to boarding school here and when I come back it’s very nostalgic, I see a lot old friends and a lot of places that I visited as a kid. Being down at the Opera House I will probably take some time to reflect on that, it will probably be my last race here so I will probably take that in. As for where this sport has gone in those 12 years, it’s incredible, I can’t say enough about what the ITU has done and the level of competition, I’m honoured to just still be part of it.”
On how her Olympic pre-selection affected her preparation:
“I guess for everyone August is the main aim this year, but I would still like to have some good races so I am approaching Sydney like any other world series race, it’s still a World Championship up for grabs at the end of this year so these races are still important.”
On how the Sydney race this weekend will affect his Olympic preparation:
“I guess, my personal success in the past was based on early qualification, it kind of sucks for me that I haven’t qualified early enough and I firmly believe that if you qualify early and you have a decent build up then the real race is in August. So I’ve pretty much openly said to everyone that this isn’t a focus, this race for me, everything is sort of heading towards August, but in saying that I’d still like to beat Simon this weekend. That’s probably one of my main goals.”
On the advantage of experience:
“It’s a funny sport, I’m constantly learning about the sport day in day out, but I think the sport has grown harder and faster and personally I think i’m a better athlete than I was in 2004, but it’s just about evolving over the years and confidence is certainly an important part of that final one percent, the difference between finishing on the podium or finishing in that lucky fourth position. It really helps to have experience.
“There is a lot of fantastic athletes out there, but one thing going for the likes of Simon and myself that we know how to put it together on the day, we might have struggled over the last few years with these younger guys coming through, but in saying that we know what it takes and I still think we have a very good chance of showing these younger guys what it’s all about.”
Photo: Barry Alsop / Eyes Wide Open Images
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