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World Championships

Aug. 11, 2009, 8:46 p.m. (ET)

For those of you who routinely read my blog, I apologize for my recent silence. This summer, I have been extremely busy and not able to apply proper time to blogging. However, I'll be posting every day for the next week so stay tuned!

The World Championships this year are in London. It's fitting that the first championship of the 2012 quad is the location of the next summer Olympics. While I don't believe the venue will be the same, this gives the athletes an idea of the weather and culture of the city.

Since I have not written much of late, and I plan on blogging every day from London, I though I would start with a recap of what has been going on with my life and my athletic career. This should bring everyone up to speed and shed light on the upcoming competition and my expectations.

Most of this past year, I have been working on developing my new company, 5Ring Insight (www.5ringinsight.com). We use Olympians to teach performance methodology to elite business professionals (picture an MBA program based on sports). That has eaten up much of my time and money since the Olympics. It also gave me a much needed break from sports. The end of last season was quite an emotional and physical roller coaster.

When I left for Beijing, I was in better shape and had trained harder than any other time in my life. A riding accident a week before the Olympics left me wondering if I would even compete. Though I dodged the bullet on a concussion, I obtained a severe whiplash injury and spent two of the seven days before the Olympics in a neck brace. Even with good sports med treatment, the physical and psychological damage was done before the event started. On a good day, a top 10 finish was possible; on a great day, maybe a medal. But instead I finished a lackluster 22nd place.

Because I was considering retiring, the 2008 World Cup Final in Portugal was potentially the final competition of my career. Still in great shape from my Olympic preparation but no longer injured, I had a blowout competition. Despite an extremely bad ride, I finished with a Bronze Medal. In pentathlon, the World Cup Final is a very important event, considered by many to be as prestigious and difficult as World Championships. So I ended last season with a career high finish and an end of the season ranking of 9th in the World.

In January, after recovering from a sinus surgery (which went fantastically well, thank you Dr. Galloway), I found myself fairly out of shape. Bears put on fat to hibernate, but I had no such excuse for my winter weight increase. So I decided to start training again to get back in shape. The first World Cup was scheduled for March and I began training for it. My plan at first was to simply get back in shape; but as the season progressed, I also wanted to see if I was still motivated enough to go through the grueling training that is pentathlon.

Our sport format also changed this year to combine the run and shoot which presented both a challenge and opportunity. It was a challenge because I have trained slow fire shooting for so long, and it's a little hard to teach an old dog new tricks. The opportunity came from the fact that slow fire shooting has historically been my weakest sport, and the new format would give me a fresh start to my worst event.

After "limping" through the World Cup season and US Nationals, trying to split my time between training and work, I applied more effort over the summer. I decreased my swimming volumes and drastically increased my running to drop some more weight and improve overall fitness in preparation for Worlds. I also started training the shooting event much more seriously. My general lack of shooting training this year was actually planned as I wanted to observe other athletes and not train bad habits before I could properly study the new format. Several other top athletes worldwide took a similar approach, most did not compete at all this year. But after Nationals in June, I started putting in the time in shooting. That gave me about 7 weeks of really dedicated training; not enough to be good, but enough to find out if I take well to the new format.

So it will be an interesting experience in London this week. It's hard to believe that one year has passed since the Olympics, and I am extremely glad I took so much time off. I'm not in nearly the shape I was in last year, but I am enjoying getting back into the swing of things. So with that as the backdrop, please stay tuned for my daily reports from the 2009 World Championships (competition starts Thursday).For those of you who routinely read my blog, I apologize for my recent silence. This summer, I have been extremely busy and not able to apply proper time to blogging. However, I'll be posting every day for the next week so stay tuned!

The World Championships this year are in London. It's fitting that the first championship of the 2012 quad is the location of the next summer Olympics. While I don't believe the venue will be the same, this gives the athletes an idea of the weather and culture of the city.

Since I have not written much of late, and I plan on blogging every day from London, I though I would start with a recap of what has been going on with my life and my athletic career. This should bring everyone up to speed and shed light on the upcoming competition and my expectations.

Most of this past year, I have been working on developing my new company, 5Ring Insight (www.5ringinsight.com). We use Olympians to teach performance methodology to elite business professionals (picture an MBA program based on sports). That has eaten up much of my time and money since the Olympics. It also gave me a much needed break from sports. The end of last season was quite an emotional and physical roller coaster.

When I left for Beijing, I was in better shape and had trained harder than any other time in my life. A riding accident a week before the Olympics left me wondering if I would even compete. Though I dodged the bullet on a concussion, I obtained a severe whiplash injury and spent two of the seven days before the Olympics in a neck brace. Even with good sports med treatment, the physical and psychological damage was done before the event started. On a good day, a top 10 finish was possible; on a great day, maybe a medal. But instead I finished a lackluster 22nd place.

Because I was considering retiring, the 2008 World Cup Final in Portugal was potentially the final competition of my career. Still in great shape from my Olympic preparation but no longer injured, I had a blowout competition. Despite an extremely bad ride, I finished with a Bronze Medal. In pentathlon, the World Cup Final is a very important event, considered by many to be as prestigious and difficult as World Championships. So I ended last season with a career high finish and an end of the season ranking of 9th in the World.

In January, after recovering from a sinus surgery (which went fantastically well, thank you Dr. Galloway), I found myself fairly out of shape. Bears put on fat to hibernate, but I had no such excuse for my winter weight increase. So I decided to start training again to get back in shape. The first World Cup was scheduled for March and I began training for it. My plan at first was to simply get back in shape; but as the season progressed, I also wanted to see if I was still motivated enough to go through the grueling training that is pentathlon.

Our sport format also changed this year to combine the run and shoot which presented both a challenge and opportunity. It was a challenge because I have trained slow fire shooting for so long, and it's a little hard to teach an old dog new tricks. The opportunity came from the fact that slow fire shooting has historically been my weakest sport, and the new format would give me a fresh start to my worst event.

After "limping" through the World Cup season and US Nationals, trying to split my time between training and work, I applied more effort over the summer. I decreased my swimming volumes and drastically increased my running to drop some more weight and improve overall fitness in preparation for Worlds. I also started training the shooting event much more seriously. My general lack of shooting training this year was actually planned as I wanted to observe other athletes and not train bad habits before I could properly study the new format. Several other top athletes worldwide took a similar approach, most did not compete at all this year. But after Nationals in June, I started putting in the time in shooting. That gave me about 7 weeks of really dedicated training; not enough to be good, but enough to find out if I take well to the new format.

So it will be an interesting experience in London this week. It's hard to believe that one year has passed since the Olympics, and I am extremely glad I took so much time off. I'm not in nearly the shape I was in last year, but I am enjoying getting back into the swing of things. So with that as the backdrop, please stay tuned for my daily reports from the 2009 World Championships (competition starts Thursday).

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