July 23, 2008

Update on Beijing

We won't be seeing Kathryn at the Olympics this year. I think she explains it best - here's excerpts from her 13th post ...

I finish that stage, barely, and the final two days of the race. Every day there is a chance for points. Every day there is a fight to the finish line. Every day I try. But I come up short. The points cut-off date approaches, and since I don't have the 45 it would take to rank me among the top 100 cyclists in the world, I won't be an Olympian in 2008. And that is that.

Though it is nearly impossible to describe precisely the emotion that comes with the ending of my quest, the best I can do is this: fulfilled emptiness. I have emptied myself physically and emotionally into my goal. I left it all on the line.

No one, myself included, should be able to make an Olympic team with less than two years of experience. If that starts happening, we need a new Olympics. Maybe 20 years ago a few "fringe" sports had so few competitors it was "easier" to qualify for the Olympics. But not today. There is not one sport on the Olympic roster that is easy -- trust me, I've tried them all.

So, whether my readers have been rooting for me or against me, let there be one thing everybody can agree on about this quest: The Olympics are no joke. The Games are stronger than ever. I was a professional athlete going into this project, and I'm twice as strong now -- head, heart and body -- as when I started, so I can attest to the fact that the athletes who are going to Beijing deserve to be going, and those who did not qualify can hold their heads high knowing they competed against the very best.

Two words -class and dignity.

Coaches out there should be taking notes from her 13th post, because there are enough psychology-of-competition nuggets to get you through Regionals to Nationals and beyond.

I'll still be catching some of the Olympics (I've got my money on the fireworks in the Opening Ceremonies) but it won't be the same without the former showgirl there.

Well done, Kathryn.

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