Triathlon’s London Olympic rookie Emma Jackson has today reluctantly withdrawn from the Australian team for next month’s ITU World Championship final in Auckland, stating she is “mentally and physically spent” after the biggest year of her life.
Jackson produced an outstanding performance to finish eighth in her Olympic debut and along with Australia’s London bronze medallist, two-time Olympian Erin Densham, gave Australia a great sight in one of the major highlight events of the Games.
But Jackson, who was fourth in last year’s ITU World Championships, has admitted she’s got nothing in reserve after returning home from her first Olympics with Rio, 2016 very much on her mind.
“I loved the Olympics and everything about it and I have certainly got the bug to dedicate the next four years of my life to making the team for Rio,” said Jackson, proud of her Olympic debut, just two weeks before her 21st birthday.
“But for now it’s time for a break…time for a holiday. I just have to have a rest and a break from training.
“I have tried to hang on over the past two weeks to get myself ready for Auckland and to compete for Australia but I rang High Performance Manager Michael Flynn this week and told him I had nothing in the tank and it was time to recharge the batteries.
“One of the toughest things an athlete ever has to do is to withdraw from an Australian team but as hard as I trained it just wasn’t happening and I didn’t want to go to Auckland and let the team down and let myself down.
“A long year of racing and the whole Olympic experience has taken its toll, so after much consideration and deliberation with my coach Stephen Moss I decided it was best to end my 2012 season now and go on my annual break.
“I think it will be the best thing for my future in the sport and I can return refreshed in November and be ready to tackle 2013 with a renewed enthusiasm.
“It means missing Auckland, the Nepean Triathlon and Noosa Triathlon Festival which were all planned for my end of season races.
“I will still head up to the Noosa Triathlon Festival as planned to hang out with my squad and my friends and work with my sponsors and enjoy the weekend “but this year I’ll be the one doing the sun baking.”
Like so many Olympic athletes who have experienced it in the past, Jackson admitted she has struggled with the “post London blues”, saying “I have been struggling with my motivation and am feeling a bit mentally and physically drained.”
“I love triathlon training and racing and have never had these feelings before so I believe it is a sign that I need a few weeks off to relax and recover from the long year,” said Jackson
“I think the Olympics and the whole selection process involved with it has effected me more then I ever thought it would.
“In taking my break now and not racing the remaining races I can be back into full training by November in preparation for the upcoming 2013 season.
“My aim is to win the 2013 ITU World Championship Series and gain automatic selection into the 2014 Commonwealth Games Team for Glasgow.”
The rest of Australia’s elite women “Densham, Emma Moffatt, Ashleigh Gentle, Felicity Sheedy-Ryan and Felicity Abram are all in Yokohama this weekend for the second last round of the ITU World Championship Series.
The women’s race will start at 9:05am AEST time on Saturday 29 September. The men’s race will get underway three hours later at 12noon AEST.