Our family had an excellent Christmas together. We spent it in Mexico. The highlight (beyond training in the sun and playing beach volleyball all day) was running into a number of athletes. In particular, I met Simon Lessing who if I recall correctly won triathlon World Champs an unheard of number of times (5?) and his wife, who's name escaped me but who went to the Olympics 4 times! She's a runner and raced the 10,000m to the marathon. Bet they make some fit babies. Haha. I also ran into Mark Tewksbury and his partner Rob. It was kinda random as they were roaming the beach and I was just sitting with my family watching the waves. It was out of context for both of us. And we had a great chat.
What makes it really cool (and surreal) is that he was recently selected as the Chef d'Mission for London 2012, which I am working really hard to qualify for. I hope that was a piece of good karma! Over Christmas, I received an email from David Armour who is the President of the Canadian Olympic Foundation. It showcased the new Red Mitten campaign, and in a form letter assuming that I am a typical Canadian who loves sport and not an athlete, it asked for financial support, or at least that I buy a pair of these mittens. I do own a pair for the record and love the memories they hold as I wore them in Vancouver during the Games, with some of my closest friends. The email left me with quite a bad taste in my mouth though. I found out a couple weeks ago that those gloves, priced at 10$, deliver roughly 0.30$ to athletes. That’s sure a lot of money lost in transit. Adam Kreek (gold medal 8 man rower from Beijing) put it best – less money to the suits, more to the spandex. The icing on the cake is that I don’t receive any money from the COC. So as pitiful as that 0.30$ per pair is, none of it reaches me. Pentathlon isn’t important to them… I felt a bit insulted that they’d actually ask me for money. Salt on the wound? Well, that’s what form letters tend to do, so no biggie.
I’m in Palm Springs now for an American domestic meet. I am here with team mates Kelly Fitzsimmons, Donna Vakalis, and Melanie McCann. And coach Denis. We arrived a different times to train. I have had a day of training while the girls have nearly a week of training under their belts here thus far. It is nice to be in the sun, although it is a bit chilly. We are doubly lucky that my family’s good friends have a house here and have taken the four of us in. We are living very well!
One last bit of wierdness before I go to bed. I heard yesterday that Donata Rimsaite, a really well established Lithuanian pentathlete has been bought by Russia. Supposedly she is being paid 6000$/month and her transfer fee was somewhere between 200000$ and 1000000$ (haven't really found a credible answer there). This is nuts because this girl is super talented and has represented Lithuania for years. She is young still, like 22. I am a bit shocked at Russia's boldness. They also bought a Belorussian two years ago and it paid off - he medalled like 3 times this year. It is amazing how sport can be so filthy sometimes. I guess Donata isn't talking about the deal now and the media at home is ripping into her a fair bit. I can empathize with her though. She is being paid a lot. She is also leaving a coach who treated her so well and a country that loves pentathlon (for many reasons, one being they won 2 medals at the Beijing Olympics). Anyway, that is a crazy piece of gossip for today. Time for bed, early start in this competition tomorrow. I've just posted a new video - old though from Pan American Champs. But now that I've got that function working, I will be uploading new content as often as possible. Thanks for checking in. Josh.