That Green and Gold Feeling
Photo Cred: Witsup.com
By Head Coach Em Quinn
For many athletes, regardless of the sport you participate in, representing your country is the pinnacle of success, it is what drives the early mornings, the late nights, the lack of social life and often the low bank accounts. In many sports, this opportunity exists only for the elite, the top of the game individuals who are those athletes dominate the on the world scene. One very unique attribute to the sport of triathlon is it’s nature of racing, whether you are Gwen Jorgensen or Alistair Brownlee, Mirinda Carfare or Jan Frodeno, Holly Lawrence or Sebastian Kienle, no matter what distance you are choosing to compete over, the elite and the age group athletes all race on the same course. We all face the same challenges on course, brave the same weather conditions or tackle the same technical descent. One other unique and simply awesome aspect of this sport is that every year the International Triathlon Union in conjunction with the hosting country holds the World Triathlon Series Grand Final, for age group athletes this race is also known as the ITU Age Group World Championships and offers the sprint and Olympic distance style of racing (there are also Long Course ITU World Championships held each year).
Now this is where things get even more exciting, in 2018 the Gold Coast will be the host city of the championships meaning that you have the opportunity to represent your country on home soil and slide into your very own green and gold suit (yep, it even has your name on it :)). Below are some of the reasons why I think this opportunity is simply too good not to strive for.
At the age of 21, I was fortunate enough to be selected to represent Australia over the sprint distance at the World Championships on the Gold Coast Australia. Having only been involved in the sport for 2 years I was very sceptical as to whether I would be the team. I still remember opening the email that informed me of the news, I was just over the moon, I jumped straight on the 2XU website with Mum’s credit card and ordered every piece of green and gold apparel there was on offer (nope I am not joking). I thought, I am likely only ever going to make the team once so I must have everything! Little did I know that my love and passion for triathlon would only grow over my mid to late 20’s and as I write this today I am very honoured to have represented Australia in six ITU World Triathlon World Championships, all over the world and placed as high as 6th place in Beijing, China in 2011.
For me, this yearly venture was the reward for lots of hard training, it was the opportunity to mix it up with the best age group athletes from across the globe but even more importantly it was an opportunity to do something I loved doing alongside others who shared the same passion and strived for the same goals. I have made friendships from these events that will last a life time, I have had many sensational races on the world stage and some not so sensational races and I have been so very fortunate enough to wear the green and gold and run with an Australia flag down the finish shoot, memories which when I look back on now were some of the best times of my life :)
So if you have ever dared to have that dream, or contemplated “what if”, then stop and start making your thoughts into a reality! 2018 will be one of the most competitive years to try and make the team, however there are some important factors to consider for those aiming to have a crack at selection:
As I like to say to those I coach, why not? Why not strive for something that today may seem unachievable but tomorrow can become a reality. I have no doubt that for those who do decide to aim for selection and are successful, that you will absolutely have one of the best experiences imaginable in the triathlon world. You will meet athletes from around the world who will undoubtedly make you laugh, push yourself to the limits and inspire you to be the best version of you when lining up on that start line in September 2018. And then once the racing is done, you will experience one of the best after parties ever to have graced triathlon, sadly this blog leaves me no more room to elaborate on those stories from the past 7 years :)
Happy training, happy planning and happy racing.
“In order to succeed we must first believe that we can” – Nikos Kazantzakis