Last week, in one big breath, Canada saw one of its very best athletes, diver Alexandre Despatie, retire, and an equally great champion, speed skater Jeremy Wotherspoon, announce his comeback. It was a remarkable juxtaposition; Despatie leaving the arena because he knows it’s the end, Wotherspoon jumping back in because he doesn’t want it to be. Continue reading
“So, you must be really ramping up your training now that the Olympics are coming, right? You must be working hard these days?”
Throughout my career, I was asked this question frequently in the months leading up to an Olympic Games and came to expect it every four years. But the first time I heard it, I distinctly recall staring blankly back at the interested individual, blinking slowly, incomprehensibly. Ramping up my training? After a moment or two of peculiar silence, I found my words and replied awkwardly, “Uh, well, we train really hard all the time actually, so mostly just doing the same as usual.” This was met with an equal degree of incomprehension, a shrug and, “Uh, okay, well, good luck!” Continue reading
They say old habits die hard, but these days, as my life and I continue to evolve, I beg to differ. Having been beholden to the endless gritty details of high performance for so many years, one would think that it would be hard to drop the many habits ingrained in me over two decades. Not so. Continue reading
When I close my eyes and drift among the long history of all the races I’ve ever done, a very small handful shines through more brightly than the rest. I swiftly and easily recall the feeling of those rare moments, as it is forever carved into my bones and coursing through my muscles. Continue reading
I don’t know legendary rowing coach Mike Spracklen, but I certainly know of him. I’ve long heard the fabled stories about how tough and demanding he is, that he can be blunt and harsh and unforgiving, that he pushes you to the brink of your own sanity and then pulls you back. I’ve heard all of that, and I’ve also heard about the medals his athletes have won. He coached my childhood idol Silken Laumen and she was pretty damn good too.
After achieving a breakout world best performance, one of the most difficult things for an athlete to do is repeat that performance – it is far easier to reach the top than it is to stay there.