Monday, September 17, 2007

Class Act Wins Duathlon Nationals

In my lifetime I have had the honour to meet some great athletes. Having competed in hockey, skiing, fastball and running at the highest levels, I seen how differently great athletes carry themselves. In the past 5 years I have admired and respected four athletes who are what I refer to as a "class act". They are Catriona Morrison, Kyle Marcotte, Grant Burwash and my niece Faye Stenning.

These athletes not only possess talent but a strong work ethic. They know that in order to climb to the highest levels of a sport, alot of work is required. They GET that overcoming disappointments whether it be from illness, injury, race elements, personal tragedy, or a bad race day, is what makes you a better athlete and person. All these athletes have overcome at least one of these.

I have watched these young athletes grow to become mature adults who are looked upon with great admiration by others. They are admired not only because they are at the top of their sport but because they carry themselves with a great deal of humility. That I believe is the greatest quality a great athlete can possess. They know that on any given day, one can have a great or not-so-great performance and it is how you handle both of these is what makes you great. They understand, that it is their competition that brings out the best in what they are capable of performing. They look at their competition as partners in the process of competing at their best.

Grant Burwash over the last year has struggled with illness and set-backs. He never gave up. In the last five months, Grant has worked on both his physical and mental game. He was like a sponge wanting to know exactly what to do and how to improve his race day performance. He looked at every competition as a learning opportunity. He entered every race with excitement as he wanted to see how what he was doing in practise (both mental and physical) transformed into what he did in a competition. Every race in the past couple of months, Grant walked away with more information on how to improve his game plan. Each race he stayed in the moment which allowed him to implement what he practised in off competition. There are very few athletes that are capable of doing this.

The result of Grant's hard work was the Canadian Duathlon Title. What makes Grant's performance even more special is that he is also under 23 years of age. He is just entering into the prime of his racing career.

Watch for this guy in the coming years as I have no doubt that he is the next Simon Whitfield.

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