Tyler Mislawchuk on the Olympics: “If I don’t medal it’s a disappointment”

(Photo: Ben Lumley, ITU Media)

“If I don’t medal it’s a disappointment,” says Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk. “It’s a race every four years, but you train for four years for that one day.” Mislawchuk still has his eyes on a medal, even after this rough year.

How did he get through a year that revolved around Covid-19, and how does he stay motivated? He answered these questions, and more, in an interview with Global News.

2020 has been a different year in every respect for everyone, including Mislawchuk. And that hasn’t changed in December, because Christmas has been different, too – the Canadian hasn’t been able to spend the holidas at home.

“I’m kinda, in a sense, stuck here,” said Mislawchuk, who’s currently training with the national team in Victoria, B.C.

Despite many disappointments in 2020, like being without a pool to train in for nearly three months and, of course, the biggest disappointment of all, the postponement of the Olympics, Mislawchuck has managed to stay optimistic: “I decided I’ve got an extra 12 months before the Olympics and let’s get as strong as I can. I’m kinda in that now. I’m a tired guy, but I’m probably at a better point right now than I’ve ever been for this time of the year.”

Mislawchuck left for Europe at the beginning of the the year, just before the coronavirus broke out in many countries.

“I was in Portugal and the world went sideways. I headed home and did my 14-days at home in quarantine in Winnipeg. I spent probably three to four months before things started to open up for the first time,” Mislawchuck told Global News.

The fact that he wasn’t able to swim for three months has Mislawchuck a little worried.

“Swimming is the most technical, so after time out of the water, anyone will tell you, it’s tougher to get back because it’s a very technical sport. You can be as strong as anything, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to float well.”

While swimming completely disappeared from his training schedule, running and cycling was still possible. But only in the ‘comfort’ of his own home. He spent his time running on a treadmill, cycling on a trainer and weightlifting water jugs, or anything available, as directed by a coach over Zoom.

After these hard lockdown days, fortunately, Mislawchuck is now completely back on track with his training. And that’s a good thing, because he’s aiming for a medal in Tokyo. After finishing 15th at his first Olympics in Rio 2016, he’s working hard to beat his previous performance. Last year Mislawchuck showed his best form ever by winning three big races. It’s now been 14 months since his last race, and so he’s eager to get back in action.