Tony Dodds has enjoyed or maybe endured at times a whirlwind week since his name was read out as part of the Triathlon team to head to the Rio Olympic Games. We catch up with the Wanaka athlete as he settles back into training and life at his base in Cambridge, finding him looking back on a week of reflection and wanting to 'get on with training'.
This past week or so has been a chance to take the moment to celebrate but also I have wanted to get in to training, so it has been a funny kind of half and half feeling, I'm not sure how to describe it. I thought I had taken all the calls and emails and responded to social media when a surprise party happened with about 100 people there. I had a hint or two of something happening but friends, family and supporters from all around New Zealand and Australia turned up, it was an amazing night.
Mum was the organizer, this is typical of her, she always looks after me and did a great job. I got there not knowing what was happening and it was set out like a wedding - the old heart beat skipped a little ic an tell you! We had a three course meal at Lake Hawea hotel, had an auction for a little fundraiser - we auctioned off crayfish, blue cod, power tools, hunting trips - that was great, then a big concert at the end with Wanaka singer Jody Direen, all in all it was a great night, very special to be a part of it all.
Looking back at it now it was just awesome, and very cool to see the community coming together, allowing me the chance to thank them. My parents have always said you have to celebrate the things you have done well and live in that moment, while there is always work to be done but at the time you have to celebrate, that was my attitude that night, enjoy the moment knowing that the real work was about to begin.
Now I am back in Cambridge it has been good, getting back to training feels like my first full week of training. I was tapering off for races or the injury in the months prior so it is good to get two weeks in before I head off to France. I was pretty relaxed for the Olympic announcement knowing it was by then out of my control. I am more nervous times now knowing I am not at my peak yet and I have ten weeks left. We have a good plan and we will look to time it perfectly but at the moment I am working on fitness levels.
So this past week has been a bit of a blur but I have tried to keep my head down and do the work I have to be doing as we are now in the home stretch towards Rio. There have been so many people to thank from my family, friends, supporters, sponsors and the local community - as well as everyone at Triathlon New Zealand and in the tri community. But if there is one person to single out, I have to thank my coach Tim Brazier, he keeps under the radar and no one knows more than me what he has done to help me and the work he does with Tri NZ. He does everything for the athletes and the sport, not for himself. He has not been given enough credit through this, I just want to say a huge thanks to him.