The London 2012 Olympics
*Editor’s note: This article was originally published before the London 2012 Olympics.
On Whitfield’s mental preparation for the Games
Whitfield: I’ve probably thought about Brownlee or [reigning ITU world champion Javier] Gomez or [reigning Olympic champion Jan] Frodeno every day I’ve been here [in Maui] in some form or another. Whether it’s been on a climb, or sitting before my run, or at the pool when we’re lining up for the next 50, I think about Brownlee, Gomez and Frodeno. I think about them every day in every workout—in everything.
On not wanting to be written off
Whitfield: [Olympic silver and bronze medalist] Bevan [Docherty] and I are in very similar situations, where people want to write us off and we don’t want to write ourselves off yet. We’ll see who’s right. I don’t know. He’s in the same situation I am. He doesn’t want to be done yet, and people are telling him his time is up and he’s got his two medals and it’s time to go home. And Bevan wants to punch them in the mouth—and same with me. I want to punch them in the mouth. But maybe they’ll get the last laugh.
Bevan Docherty (who, along with only Whitfield, has two Olympic triathlon medals, which he achieved with silver in Athens and bronze in Beijing): Both Simon and I are veterans, and we both like to believe our past results have proven ourselves. And when someone tries to tell us different and doesn’t have results to back it up, it frustrates us. … Going into the last Olympic campaign, a lot of people had written us off, but we’ve shown that age isn’t a factor. We’re still driven and achieving our results.
Courtney Atkinson (a fellow ITU athlete, from Australia, and a good friend to Whitfield): Simon has this uncanny ability to go away in the off-season, work on his weaknesses, build on his strengths and come back another year older and another year better.
Filliol: Simon is an incredible athlete. He’s intelligent and able to make great decisions and race well. I wouldn’t count him out at all for London. … I don’t think you can discount an athlete like Simon and the abilities he has. Although I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I think he’d be better off if I were still there. If he’s anywhere near [the leaders at] the finish, he’s a dangerous guy.