Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Simon Whitfield tops awesome, if there was a word to top that. I've been following his blog since 2006 and over that time, you get a picture of a down-to-earth, hard working and impressive athlete with a sense of humour and humility. He won gold for Canada - in surprising fashion -- eight years ago in Sydney. He didn't medal in Athens and apologized to the nation. But what most didn't realize in between 2000 Olympics and now is that he had built an amazing resume with tonnes of wins. He's the real deal, a legend of the sport, not a flash in the pan.

I'm not a triathlete. I can't even imagine adding two sports to my one (running). But I do identify with the pain they must feel pounding the pavement after swimming and cycling at the paces and the heat. In the Olympics earlier today (last night) I was so happy that CBC was playing most of the race. The run was just fantastic. So many times, Simon seemed to be dropping back from the lead pack but he reeled them in again. Then with a kilometre to go, he seemed too far back that the three ahead of him would escape with the three medals. He was out of the picture frame. Then he took off his hat, and started to work. Amazingly, he clawed back and the four of them were running for their lives in the last 600 metres or so. R. and I were yelling at the TV set. He took the lead, turned the corner and held it only for a bit longer, but finished strongly, and happily, in second place.


From Bruce Arthur, sports columnist for my newspaper:

But in his mind, Whitfield kept repeating one thing: Sing like Kreek.

Few athletes endure what triathletes suffer -- more than anything, triathlon is about eating barrelfuls of pain. And Whitfield began to close. Whitfield ate the pain, and spat it out. And in his mind, he kept repeating, sing like Kreek.

"I didn't think he was coming back," said his coach, Joel Filliol. "Normally that doesn't happen -- when you get dropped, that's it."

Except that in the final 200 metres in the shadow of the magnificent Mings Tomb Reservoir northwest of Beijing, Whitfield kicked as he had on that magic-filled day in Sydney, and took the lead. Thanks to a supreme act of will, everything was in front of him. It was all possible. And he kept saying it: Sing like Kreek. Sing like Kreek. In the stands, triathlon officials and his coach were screaming those words, too. Sing like Kreek! Sing like Kreek!

The rest here.

Kreek, by the way, is Adam Kreek, one of the men's eight rowers who won the gold a few days ago. He belted out our national anthem as the flag was raising.

Video: CBC's on demand page is here (you can search Triathalon or Men's eights


Arcane said...

yeah great race! I still haven't seen the gold medal presentation for the men's 8. I've been hoping someone would post it on youtube so i could see it before it got pulled but no luck so far.

Sonia said...

Totally breath taking finish!! We were so sure he was done while he was saving himself... wow!

yumke said...

Here it is