Triathlon: Hewitt seeks top advice in Olympic quest

By Andrew Alderson

Andrea Hewitt. Photo / Photosport
Andrea Hewitt. Photo / Photosport

Andrea Hewitt has sought advice from New Zealand's most successful triathlete in her quest to secure a medal at the Rio Olympics.

Hewitt and Hamish Carter went running last week in Cornwall Park and she chatted to the 2004 gold medallist ahead of a third crack at the Games podium.

Carter's victory in Athens remains one of New Zealand's finest Olympic moments because it emerged from a duel with countryman Bevan Docherty, who took silver.

Hewitt's new coach Chris Pilone, who coached Carter to his triumph, is understood to have negotiated the arrangement.

"He [Carter] showed me the loop he ran [in his Olympic preparations]," Hewitt said. "He told me we've got to go around this tree, that tree, over this fence. There wasn't actually a path. At one point I asked, 'why are we running through this field?' and he said 'I don't know, this is the way I used to run'.

"It's always cool to get advice from someone like Hamish. With him and Chris Pilone there, it was like old times coming back."

Hewitt recently completed a training camp in Christchurch with fellow Olympic contender Ryan Sissons (also mentored by Pilone) and a number of other athletes.

She started the season strongly with second in the New Plymouth World Cup sprint event and backed up with third in the Gold Coast World Triathlon Series event over the Olympic distance and fourth in Yokohama yesterday.

Hewitt will now travel to the Pyrenees on the French-Spanish border to train at altitude before competing on the local grand prix circuit. It is her first return to France since the death of her partner and former coach Laurent Vidal in November from a heart attack.

She will stay at Font-Romeu, a village whose average elevation is 1800m and is over 2200m at its highest point.

Hewitt hopes a hillier course in Rio, the likes of which favoured Carter and Docherty in Athens, might also help.

"My experience last year suggested it was tough. I hope they've cleaned up the roads. It was a bit dodgy on some of the fast descents down narrow roads. I'm hoping it's safe but the run is flat along the esplanade, so it will still be a fast course."

Hewitt was the first New Zealand athlete selected for the 2016 Olympics, having met the qualification criteria at the end of last year.

- Herald on Sunday

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