Liz Blatchford has decided to move away from ITU racing and pursue longer distances after missing out on 3 Olympics now. But it appears that the most recent non-selection stung the most.
Slowtwitch: Well, good to have you with us.
Liz: Thanks, always great to be chatting with slowtwitch. You always seem to find an interesting angle to a story.
ST: Have you had a chance to calm down and carry on since the announcement of the Olympic team?
Liz: Somewhat, some days! It has been difficult to say the least. Of course I considered non-selection before it happened but I didn’t expect to be so messed up by it. Here in the UK there are constant reminders so I am actually looking forward to getting out of here. Quite simply getting on with training, as something “automatic” has been the best way forward.
ST: Had they announced that Jodie Stimpson would get the 3rd spot, how would you have felt?
Liz: That’s a good question and to be honest I still would have been extremely disappointed but I would have been more satisfied had they given the spot to an athlete who had raced hard and was simply a better athlete than I. Jodie is a tough athlete and I hope she can also move forward from this and stay focused to make the games in 2016. We have spoken a bit over these past few weeks, going through similar emotions, which has been good.
ST: There has been quite a bit of heated discussion about the domestique topic.
Liz: Hasn’t there just! And I have made my opinions on the matter public since the team was announced – not a fan! I never have agreed with it but before selection, (since ours is a discretionary selection policy), I could not openly speak my true thoughts on the topic if I wanted any chance at being selected.
ST: The British Triathlon Federation rulebook contains a couple interesting paragraphs along those lines including but not limited to this one:
"21.7 Triathlon, duathlon and aquathlon events are individual endurance events. Any teamwork that provides an unfair advantage over other competitors is expressly forbidden, unless the event is a team-based competition where cooperating with and assisting each other is part of the event. "
Were you aware of this rule? Because it somehow appears the selectors did not read the rulebook closely.
Liz: Wow thanks for bringing that to my attention! I have always been aware of the ethos of triathlon and even the Olympic Games for that matter… This really shows that by selecting domestiques our federation has gone against its own rulebook and ethos of our sport. Quite sad..
I fear what message this sends to developing athletes? Do they aim to be the best triathlete they can be or just a swimmer/biker? At the end of the day Al and Jonny Brownlee and Helen Jenkins can do the job without any help as they have shown time and time again.
ST: Have you had any words with the selectors about this topic?
Liz: Three of us rejects asked for a review of the selection, which went back to the same selection panel plus 2 “independents”. This went nowhere and the whole process was very one sided in my opinion. I did look into legally appealing, but in the end made the decision to move forward and release myself from the disappointment. I have also declined to take a reserve spot, not out of anything petty. I was offered reserve for the outright spot (they have a different domestique reserve), but if Helen was to get injured then she would likely run on any injury she physically could or become a domestique herself. Basically my chances of getting the call up where much slimmer than a team of 3 racing for themselves and it meant I couldn’t get on with the races I wanted to.
ST: Some other countries would most likely be delighted to have you on their squad.
Liz: Maybe they would and that is the bitter - sweet thing about Olympics, a huge range of talents. But for me after 11 years of ITU and missing 3 Olympic games its time to move forward and make new goals. Plus I need to feed my dog and buy new surfboards!
ST: So what is next?
Liz: In the immediate future ill go back to race Liverpool 5i50 this weekend followed by New York 5i50. HyVee/Des Moines is a big goal for this year and some 70.3s to finish the season. Then I will be taking a 3-week holiday in Bali, YES! I’m going to work on my surfing and tube time. Haha, then 2013 could see an Ironman at some stage. Gulp!!
ST: Will you watch the Olympic Triathlon live?
Liz: Only on the TV from Boulder. I considered staying in the UK to watch etc but ultimately need to get back racing myself.
ST: Is your non-drafting bike cleaned up and ready?
Liz: Sure is, little beauty! I’m lucky to be on a new Blue Triad SL for 2012, thanks to the guys at Multisport Distribution and All3motion in the UK. And it is kitted out with Shimano Di2, Dura ace wheels, Pro Missile bars and my ISM Adamo TT.
ST: How much time have you spent on that TT bike?
Liz: I spent some time on a Triad last year, so jumping back on my new bike in the last few weeks wasn’t too foreign. I got a retul fit done with John Denis from All3motion so my setup was spot on from the first ride. I then raced Klagenfurt 5i50 on it a few weeks ago and have been on it almost every day since.
ST: Talk about your sponsors:
Liz: Love to. Ok, so in my corner I have - Enlighten Software - they make software to help companies optimize their operational performance, Scody apparel who make my awesome custom race suits, Volosport management – a new sports management company headed up by the wonderful hardworking Glen Duggan, All3motion swim, bike and run analysis in the UK, ZipVit sports nutrition – have to say yummiest and best nutrition I’ve ever had, Blue Bikes, Shimano, Louis Garneau helmets and shoes, Oakley, ISM saddles and Blueseventy wetsuits. I’m really quite spoilt! Can’t thank these guys enough.
ST: Anything else we should know?
Liz: Just that I am so grateful to my family, friends and lots of my fellow athletes who have sent their support over the past few weeks. I have a wonderful husband, Glen, who is my rock and I couldn’t do this without him. He is also getting pretty handy with race filming and editing, a bit of a hobby of his whilst we are on the road. And I can’t go a day without chocolate. Tried, failed!