The Australian Adventure: ITU World Championship’s Opening Ceremonies

(This post is also available in Russian)

Ok, this gets a bit tricky, since I do not want to repeat Alex’s posts from the race reports, but in the same time I want to share my version of the events. I will do my best, and please excuse any repetitions. After all, its been a while.

Meeting all the important people

Since we were a small team, we did not have an official manager from Triathlon Canada. Instead, they got me – a volunteer who had no clue. I never been to any of these events, even as a spectator, but I was not racing and still had to be on site all day. I decided to offer my help, and the Triathlon Canada decided to accept it.

At first, I was really worried if I can do a good job, and I really wanted everyone to succeed. So I headed into the meeting with all the official papers printed, paper for the notes and a hotel’s free pen. I also got to bring Alex, in case I miss something.

At first, it was like a first day of high school. All the “cool kids” – big teams who had their managers, doctors and coaches with them, – knew each other. They were all catching up on the news and, I assume, gossip since the last event. And all the “managers for a day” were just looking around, all confused.

But I guess it wasn’t ITU’s first event, so we were very soon welcomed, introduced and it all became very cool from then on. It was amazing to meet race directors, ITU officials and other important people in the sport. But the coolest, was to talk with them about the weather in Russia (yeah, that usually comes up as soon as they hear my accent), triathlon in Canada and wildlife in Australia.

After a brief presentation on rules and regulations, where I still managed to take about 3 pages of detailed notes, we headed over to the restaurant to meet the team. It was pretty straight forward, and if you ever raced a triathlon, it didn’t seem like a rocket science. But we still needed to go over it, so no one could say they did not know. I admit it, I felt important.

Visiting the village and grocery shopping

This is the time, when we started running out of money. Well, not really, but we realized that food is expensive in Australia, and if we are planning to spend 10 more days here, we probably should stop eating out as much. So we headed to the village in hopes of finding a grocery store.

They had a Woolworth right at the main road, in a cute plaza with few restaurants, souvenir stores and a coffee shop. Making a mental note of a reasonable pasta place for the pre-race dinner, we headed into the store. Half of the world was there, buying their provisions.

We stayed at the hotel, so we did not have access to the stove or even a microwave (apparently these are not very common in Australian hotels). All we had was a kettle. And what can you cook with a kettle? Also, the water-soluble dinner options were not very popular on this continent as well. Or at least in Jindabyne. Only thing we could make with our kettle was the crappy coffee.

Our inner boy scout decided to make a salad. We needed lettuce, some veggies, plastic plates and some utensils. So you know how you go to our grocery store, and you can get some cheap kitchen stuff in a pinch? Well, there was none of that. Its either Jamie Oliver stuff, or plastic. We made a mental note to always bring our camping gear on the trips from now on, and grabbed plastic knives, plates and forks.

Skipping few hours ahead – cutting onions with a cheap plastic knife in tiny plastic bowl was hilarious. We laughed, send few snaps to the family and most importantly saved about $40. Now that’s winning!

Opening Ceremonies

May be it is not Olympic Games or Tour de France, but the local community all came together to make us feel special. We all got lined up in alphabetical order by country, walked across the lawn in a tiny parade and sat on the grass in front of the stage.

From the speeches we found out that three rings of the ITU stand from mind, body and soul. Thanked the aboriginal generations for use of their lands. And expressed our appreciation to the local community for all the preparation that they put in the event before we even got to the region.

Local kids collaborated with the singer from Australian band Chocolate Starfish and put a wonderful show together. We even had an anthem! It is still one of my favourite songs and I do go back to YouTube to listen to it once in a while.



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