Anyone who knows the sport of triathlon and the tenacity, ability, and courage that Paula Findlay has displayed over her short but spectacular triathlon career realized that something was not quite right about the entire London Olympic Triathlon scenario that took place Saturday August 4, 2012.
From the very start of the race Paula was left out of the mix as she was too far from the top swimmers and was unable to make her way into the lead group of cyclists. At this level of competition she was pretty much out of contention by the time she got on her bike.
From there it just got worse as she fell further and further behind until she reached the point in the race where it was so difficult to keep moving that is was time to stop.
However she did not. She struggled through the run course and crossed the finish line dead last, but first in the hearts of many of her supporters who really know what happened on race day.
Paula suffered with a hip injury for quite some time but it appeared to be fully healed well in time for Paula to slowly amp up her endurance and be very close to 100% for the race.
So what happened?
It's almost like she was forgotten and left to her own devices. Top level triathletes have a team of coaches who are there to make sure the athlete is in the best possible condition, physically, mentally, and emotionally, for the big race.
It appears that his was not the case and Paula was left on her own to make the most of a bad situation.
It seems that her coaches made several mistakes in re-conditioning Paula for the Olympic
Two-time Olympic medalist Simon Whitfield perhaps said it best in an emotional press conference.
Whitfield said the problem was not a misdiagnosis. He said she should have built up her training – a 30-minute run, then a 45-minute run, then a 50-minute run, and so on – but her handlers had her rush straight back into training as if she hadn't been hurt. She suffered setbacks. They kept doing it.
"You do this not once, not twice, not three times, not four times, not five times, not six times. You do this eight times," Whitfield said. "Over and over and over again, they just kept driving the car into a brick wall, and in the end, they all finally said, 'She's difficult to work with,' and they all jumped ship. No, you should have stood up and said, 'We failed.' …
"She's not a wind-up toy that you just send off. That's what they wanted. 'Wind-up toy, send you off. You win. We all celebrate.' That's what they did two years ago, and they're like, 'Why doesn't this keep working? Just wind this thing up and send it off.' And when it broke, they said, 'She's difficult. She's really hard to work with.' She's the same person you celebrated two years ago. This is difficult. Too bad."
So yes, it appears there was something not quite right about Paula's performance on the Olympic stage, but now that it is out in the open it is time for Paula to make some decisions.
What will she do about coaching? Will she set her sights on the 2016 Olympic Games?
Hopefully she does because she is just at the beginning of what could be a remarkable career and in Rio she just might be good as gold.
For a look at how the 2012 Olympic Triathlon unfolded and top results visit IronStruck.com.