Last evening I watched the men’s Olympic Triathlon via NBC's live, on line broadcast and found it absolutely terrific and moving. There were no announcers, just the sound of the athletes and the cheering of the spectators. I could hear the motorcycle with the cameraman which, in my view, added to the spectacle. As the cyclists increased their speeds the noise of the wind and the revving of the motorcycle engine became more pronounced.
The venue was awesome as well. To see the swimmers pushing through glass like water, with Chinese architecture in the background really painted a picture of old versus new.
The transition area was amazing. It seemed to be covered in blue carpet with each athlete’s space carefully labeled and laid out. I can only dream of encountering such a fine transition area at my races.
After making a quick T1/T2 change the racers headed out and around a half circle of flowers ( Wendy can probably provide more details on this point) and rode (and later ran) past the cheering crowds before turning onto the roads.
As with all things in these China-based Olympics it seems that nothing was left to chance. There were troops of flag laden young girls who performed their intricate maneuvers in unison as the cameras panned them for a few seconds during each lap. The entire route was trimmed and green and the course, while technical, was immaculate.
And then there was the finish. The Americans had faded and my hopes rested with Canada’s amazing Simon Whitfield. He ran in the lead pack until what looked like the last few hundred meters. Then he began to fade. My voice was hoarse as I did my best to cheer him on. Then he made a surge and passed everyone. However the German athlete was able to reel him in and passed him to take the gold medal. Whitfield finished approximately five seconds back for the silver medal.
Whitfield’s performance was amazing and inspiring. He seemed to dig deep in a final attempt to out sprint and outlast his competition. Canada has a truly phenomenal athlete in Mr. Whitfield and I will be looking forward to reading his race recap.
In conclusion, I cannot think of a better way to watch the Olympic Triathlon event. No announcers, no commercials, no up close and personals – just one solid, awesome, inspiring race.