A distraught Paula Findlay finishes after being encouraged by Canadian team doctor Steve Keeler (in red) (Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press)
Paula Findlay will learn someday that you run a race for yourself only, not while bearing the weight of the world.
That's the obvious snap conclusion following the Canadian's physical and emotional struggle on Saturday in the women's triathlon at London 2012, where Findlay, who won World Cup races throughout 2009 and '10, was the last competitor to finish. It's evident that the 23-year-old first-time Olympian, who injured her right hip less than a year before the Games and had her preparation ruined, was not in a good place mentally or physically. Canada's veteran triathlete Simon Whitfield called out Triathlon Canada officials for turning their attention away from the 23-year-old after her injury, referring to it as "total incompetence" on Twitter.
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That might have been in reference to Findlay's former coach, Patrick Kelly. The two reportedly split two months before the Games, when it was evident her right hip injury had not allowed her train fully for London 2012.
Simon Whitfield gutted tweetFindlay, is described as an "extreme personality." That might be why someone takes to triathlon, but it forces one to become even-keel. Once everything unravelled Saturday, she couldn't hold back the emotion when her body started betraying her during the swim leg of the tri, where she was the last to complete the 1,500-metre swim. She stopped at one point and needed encouragement to finish, which she did, mouthing "I'm sorry" through her tears. Her unnecessary apology and explanation for why she carried on are illuminating.
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"I had nothing in my legs — I don't know what happened," the 23-year-old said. "I wanted to pull out after that first lap on the run, but I know I have so many friends that have stayed up all night to watch me race. This is not what I expected but the Olympics are a crazy thing. I'm so sorry to everyone in Canada.
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