Just recently, I interviewed the Australian Olympic team for Tokyo 2020 triathletes, Aaron Royle and Matt Hauser along with two-time Olympian Brad Kahlefeldt. Aaron and Matt shared some very interesting insights from the qualification process to getting selected and how their preparations are coming along.
While Brad, speaking from his own experience described the event and the excitement and pressure that comes along with it. I also took this opportunity to ask the triathlon legend about his coaching experience post-retirement, which surely many triathlon fans are curious to know.
During the chit-chat, Aaron shed some light on the thrilling story of how they got the full quota spots for the Olympics. Australia needed three triathletes in the top 30 in order to secure the full quota and that couldn’t have been pulled off if it wasn’t for the Oceanic championship that was held at just the right time and the disqualification of Kenji Nener in Leeds.
Talking about the heat perspective of racing in Tokyo, Matt mentioned the talks around the attitude towards heat he had in a camp that he attended before the Covid and how important that attitude could be in boosting the confidence in a tough event like Tokyo Olympics.
Matt recalled the camp, “There was talk about the heat and the wording that we put around it and the team culture that we address and it was more as if we weren’t kind of being stubborn and not recognising that it was going to be a hot race, but it was more like, yeah, it’s going to be hot but do we need to talk about it? No. Do we? Does this need to be an issue in our minds in terms of affecting our confidence? No. And attack that as a team and drive that culture forward,” He continued adding, “Confidence and self-belief is one of the most important things when you’re racing. And I think to have that moving forward into your into definitely one of the toughest races we might face in terms of heat-wise is pretty important.”
The triathletes also expressed satisfaction about the Covid protocols in the event, saying that with the strict covid protocols they’d be much safer there than any other place.
While talking about the anticipation of the Olympics and how an athlete should go about it, Aaron read an email that he had received before the Rio Olympics in 2016 from Craig Walton, who coached the Olympic gold medalist, Emma Snowsill. Craig’s words in the email outline how a winner would approach a highly anticipated event like Olympics by staying composed and doing everything as per usual and by not do anything abnormal.
At the end of the chat, Matt Hauser predicted, “there might be an upset and it can come down to the heat.”