Gustav Iden was forced to look on as Norway team-mate Kristian Blummenfelt claimed Olympics gold in Tokyo in July, and he did so with regret.
Iden felt he arrived in the Japanese capital short of absolutely peak condition for his biggest race of the year. The reason? He felt maybe he did not take enough control of his preparation in the lead-up to the Games, because of the fear it would backfire.
Speaking to TRI247 at the Collins Cup in Samorin, the brilliant 25-year-old explained his mindset after finishing eighth while Big Blu claimed the big prize.
Iden afraid to take control
Arriving in Samorin, he felt in even better shape than he was in Tokyo.
“It’s kind of sad because the Olympics was like the one big thing. I felt that I was in okay shape, but I never felt that I had that amazing feeling going into the Olympics.
“I think maybe one of the reasons is that because the race is so big, I was kind of afraid to take more control over my training, and take more like hard decisions, so I just went with the training programme without taking that much ownership of the training – the chances to fail were too big.
“In the end I came eighth which is okay, but it’s not the thing I was dreaming of, so maybe I could become better if I got more in charge myself… or maybe I would be completely s**t, you couldn’t really tell.”
With the Tokyo Games delayed by a year, the shortened turnaround to Paris 2024 is already very much on Iden’s radar, and in recent days another spanner has been thrown into the works in terms of planning that runway. Courtesy of the delay for the 2021 IRONMAN World Championship – now put back to February 2022.
Iden explained: “So the Olympic qualification already starts in May next year, so it’s like not even a year from now. For me I felt that Kona, timing wise [when scheduled for October 2021] was pretty good, but now it being postponed to February, means an even shorter time to recover.
“I’m going to have a bit of a longer season break after Kona [Feb 2022], and then go back to short distance racing. It’s not what I was hoping for, because it probably won’t be until May that I’m back at short course again.
“I think it will be okay by the end of the season, but I don’t think I will have my best start to the season next year in the short course.”
Now for (70.3) Worlds
Next up for Iden of course is the defence of his 70.3 World title in Utah on September 18. He was impressive in winning his race at the Collins Cup last month, but believes he’ll be better still for the showdown in St George.
After easily defeating Collin Chartier and Kyle Smith to claim maximum points, he said: “It was pretty good. I was struggling sometimes – I had some pain in my leg during the bike for 5k then on the run I was feeling a bit empty around 12k in, but the rest was pretty nice and when it got onto the final 2k with a lot of spectators I was feeling good.
“I haven’t really prepared that much for this race so I didn’t have too much time to prepare my TT bike. So I’m going to work more on my position, more from longer runs. So I think in St George it will be even better.”