Relay Sprint Triathlon. Check.

Again, as part of my ‘Things’ to do, I’ve committed myself to complete a full sprint triathlon. Eeek. In practice for this, I decided I’d do a relay sprint the weekend gone by. I did the cycle element, my sister did the run and my cousin did the swim.

 

We headed off to Rosses Point in County Sligo on Sunday morning. As you can see above, it’s quite the scenic spot.

The event started at 9 am on Sunday morning. The sky was grey and dark as I woke in the morning and it was quite windy. Nerves were high. But all went relatively well in the end. As our first relay sprint, we had hoped to finish in 1 hr 20 mins, but we finished in 1 hr 28 mins, which isn’t all that bad considering. I did the cycle in 45:32, which I was happy enough with.

I’m not sure how I feel about completing a full triathlon. I think I must be nuts? But it’s a challenge and it’s one I would really like to succeed at. I’m going to try my hardest to train and put in the effort to aim to do it towards the beginning of next year’s triathlon season. Swimming will be my downfall. I used to be quite a strong swimmer. But over the years, I’ve become more wary of water for various reasons and I’m not sure I can build up the courage to swim 750 meters in the sea. I don’t like to get out of my depth in the water anymore, once I can touch the bottom I feel pretty secure, but I’m very nervous in the sea or lakes. I do think it’s a matter of overcoming this fear and training to get back to the strong swimmer I used to be. Therefore hitting two birds with one stone – I also need to overcome one fear as part of the ‘Things’! 😉

I’ve put my training program together. It’s an 11 week program. Hoping to complete this twice before the tri season begins, so I will be well fit for my first ever full sprint triathlon. I’ll keep you updated on my progress!

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And the award for bad sportsmanship goes to….the USA. Again.

Before I start writing this post, I must point out, I do not wish to offend anyone. I am not anti-American. I am not pro-Chinese. I am not a communist. I have no affiliations to either country. I am not suggesting Michael Phelps has used doping in the past. I think Phelps is a phenomenal athlete. I believe in freedom of speech and I just wish to point out the facts as I see them.

Ye Shiwen, a young 16 year old Chinese girl has seen amazing triumphs in London 2012. She won Gold in the 400m individual medley (4:28:43), setting a new world record in doing so. She set an Olympic record in the 200m individual medley semi final (2:06:39), which althougbh superb, it should be noted is almost 3 seconds slower than the world record set in Rome in 2009. Her win has been described as “disturbing” by the Executive Director of the World Swimming Coaches Association. I call it ‘disturbing’ that a man of his stature and position can throw around unfounded accusations like this at such a time.

 

The controversy arose as (1) Ye Shiwen beat an American to Gold in the 400m final and (2) Ye Shiwen had swam her final 50m 0.17 seconds (only 0.17 seconds) faster than American Ryan Lochte did his final 50m in, although it should be noted, she still finished 23 seconds slower than Lochte did.

As I said above, I admire Michael Phelps as an athlete. Clearly he is half man, half fish. He has been absolutely phenomenal in the world of swimming. He lives by the motto “eat, sleep, swim” and I believe it’s hard work and determination that has got him to where he is today. I don’t believe for a second that he’s ever been involved in doping. But please let me point out the facts.

Phelps won 6 gold and 2 bronze medals in Athens 2004, setting 3 Olympic and 2 World Records in doing so. He continued, and actually surpassed, this success in Beijing 2008, winning 8 gold medals, setting 7 World and 1 Olympic Record in the process. Phelps won more medals than any other athlete in either of those games and has won the most gold medals won by any athlete at a single Olympic Games.

I never ever heard a single mention of doping when he was in the process of winning all those medals and setting all those records. No other country accused him of doping. They graciously accepted his win and accepted the fact he is an exceptional athlete. They accepted his talent and his success.

But it seems any time an athlete from any country, other than the USA of course, performs exceptionally well in the Olympic games, and probably most notedly beats an American in the process, the Americans immediately raise suspicions of doping.

Michael Phelps is probably acknowledged as the most exceptional male swimmer in modern day history. Why is so hard to believe that perhaps Ye Shiwen is/will be the most exceptional female swimmer in modern history?

Chinese athletes undergo an extremely strict training regime. That’s why they are so exceptional, like the Soviet Union athletes were in their day. Potential champions are identified at a very young age. Teachers are on the lookout for natural sporting ability and are obligated to report it when found. Young potential champions are removed from school, taken from their homes and their parents and placed into rigorous and extreme training camps where they study, train and sleep in preparation for major sporting events. They are programmed to win. Ye Shiwen has been training since the age of 6. It beggars belief that people will try to take away from the hard work and commitment she has given to swimming for the last 10 years of her life.

It seems to me, as long as the Americans are winning, there’s no problem. There’s no question of doping. There’s no accusations of cheating. I think it’s extremely bad sportsmanship. Swimming is not the only sport where American’s call foul play: Show Jumping, Gymnastics, Athletics…I could go on.

The Olympics is about three values: Excellence, Respect and Value. Seems to me, the Americans abide by none of those values.