This years Triathlon World championships are excitingly being held in the beautiful serenity of Queenstown, New Zealand. Anyone who is making the enormous trip from America, Europe or elsewhere to this isolated county for these champs will definitely reap the benefits for this once in a lifetime experience. I am sure the atmosphere will be incredibly phenomenal and provide to be the most dynamic and well-organized Triathlon World champs ever. I am in my final preparation where it will be my third consecutive Tri worlds. However there is nothing orthodox about this race for me. It’s going to be a surreal experience for I am going down there as a Team USA member while breaking my customs of racing for New Zealand. I am revolutionizing myself into a new athlete and conspicuously standing up for what I believe in. Many people are stunned and astonished beyond their comprehension why I would want to switch alliances but also how it is possible for me to compete for the United States when I am a Kiwi.
To start from the beginning, I actually never thought beyond my wildest dreams I would be competing for the United States. It has arisen from building an infatuation of pure passion for the country that has welcomed me with arms wide open, believed in me and whose support has been phenomenal over the last two years. I have always been extremely proud racing in the Black and White with the Silver Fern. However as of last year I lost heart to race for New Zealand after constantly and emphatically having to fight against the corruption and dictatorship of Triathlon New Zealand. Triathlon is an individual sport so I expect to be treated like an individual with respect and compassion like USA Triathlon has shown me.
To make my first New Zealand team, I especially remember the gut retching effort I put forth where I pushed through more than a few pain barriers. I may have been a bit delirious from talking to myself during that race, saying out loud “represent New Zealand in France” many times over to motivate myself towards victory for I wanted really bad to make that team. I was even more ecstatic to follow this up with a medal in France. I was pumped with so much enthusiasm for the sport, my confidence in my ability and potential soared and I really started thinking BIG, remembering my dreams as a kid to reach the Olympics and become a world-class Ironman.
However my international achievement did little to help me in my quest of getting support in my home country. This made me determined to head abroad to Australia where the whole plan was to get recognized as an Elite athlete and to be given support to achieve my sporting aspirations in life. Many people tried to talk sense into me, telling me it just was not logical by taking a big chance in going over there spontaneously, with nothing more than a few dollars in my pocket. However something of great power was telling me what to do and with absolute certainly I knew in my heart that I had to go. .
I absolutely loved the lifestyle of living on the Gold Coast of Australia. I felt like I was in paradise with training hard everyday at the Surfers Paradise Triathlon club with the wonderful beaches and nice warm weather. I thought I made the right move for my athletic future but struggled intensely with the demands of life by being independent. Out of home I had to pay rent for my first time, feed myself and pay coaching fees so I had to miss out on the luxury of racing and undermine the whole point of getting noticed for my ability. I practically starved for the entire time I was there so I could train with immense devotion with treating each group training session like a race. I searched frantically for work but found very little so at one stage I was homeless and the advice given by my fellow triathlon buddies was “you gave it a good shot mate, time to give up and go back to New Zealand”. This only infuriated me and made me more determined for I felt it was too soon for I am not a quitter or underachiever but mainly because I hadn’t achieved anything substantial. I knew there had to be something of great purpose and meaningful waiting.
The day I least expected a break through has turned my life around! While trying to sell a camera on the busiest strip of Surfers Paradise to gather enough money for rent due that day a miracle happened. I met an American on holiday who believed in me instantly and is assisting in making my dreams come true by making sure I can focus solely on my training and racing. It definitely is an out of this world opportunity with the biggest lottery of my life. Although it wasn’t just excellent fortune or a coincidence as much as it seems, I feel it was destined to make a break through with putting myself on the line and taking big risks in my life. By following my heart I was meant to go to Oz and since found my footing on American soil where everything has totally jelled and I am training and racing towards great victory for every nation that believes in me.
There is a point I am actually making here where it is applicable to you. That if you are really passionate about something in life and you put your heart on your sleeve for that particular thing, success will eventually come. Plus any adversity can be overcome with a positive outcome!
I hope my story and journey not only inspires you but also opens your eyes to the possibilities in life for your destiny created by following your heart and believing in yourself. I think no one says it better than Henry Ford “ Whether you believe you can do a thing or believe you can’t you are right.”
Well, it’s time for you to seriously contemplate your new years’ revolutions. My advice to you is firstly you need to create the true inner desire to what you want to achieve. Only then by keeping the faith and belief with holding a clear definite vision in your consciousness with seeing it work out step by step, without ever doubting yourself will you accomplish it.
In departing for Queenstown now I look forward to the challenge once again racing with the best Triathletes in the world. I am simply aiming to do my best, to stay relaxed and have a good time. Ultimately Gold would be the cherry on top, however I will relish the opportunity and the freedom of racing for USA with accepting and being satisfied whether I get on the podium or not. For there is only so much talent and a strong will can do, the rest I feel will lie in the hands of God. Definitely paradoxical racing in stars and stripes on my homeland of New Zealand but I believe is a great twist to life that will work out for the best.
Stay focused on your dreams and stand up for your rights!
Daniel Clout (Kiwi fella who speaks his mind)
Years in Triathlon: First triathlon at age 12
Heart Rate Resting: 32
Coach: Michael Jacques
Go PROFESSIONAL within a few years.
OLYMPICS 2008 is a VERY realistic goal - so I will keep extremely focused on achieving this.