Steamboat’s Blake Worsley reflects on Olympic experience
Competition done for Team Canada swimmer
July 31, 2012
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March 27, 2012: Blake Worsley qualifies for Canadian Olympic Swim Team
July 11, 2009: Blake Worsley qualifies for Canadian swim team
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Steamboat Springs — Blake Worsley isn't sure what his Olympic moment has been.
It could have been winning his heat in the 200-meter freestyle and seeing his name atop the scoreboard.
It might have been coming out with Team Canada early Tuesday morning for the 800-meter freestyle relay and hearing the home nation erupt as Worsley's team was slotted next to Great Britain.
Or maybe it was meeting his college idol Simon Burnett, or having lunch next to Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.
Worsley isn't sure.
What is sure is that the Steamboat Springs and Canadian Olympic swimmer’s 2012 Olympics competition is over, having wrapped up Tuesday morning with his opening leg of the 800-meter relay. Worsley got Team Canada off to a fast start, but the team faded away, eventually finishing 14th overall. Canada was seventh in Heat 2 with a time of 7 minutes, 15.22 seconds.
Worsley led off the the 800-meter freestyle leg with a time of 1:48.23, just 0.01 seconds behind American Charlie Houchin. His 50-meter time of 53.08 put the Canadians sixth, but Worsley picked up the pace from there and had Canada in second place by the time he touched the wall.
Now, with his Olympic Games done, Worsley said he's just starting to realize just how special the experience has been.
"It's the coolest thing I've done in my life," Worsley said by telephone Tuesday morning. "I think there will be plenty of things in my life that are great and wonderful. But this is the steeple of competition. It's amazing to be realizing a childhood dream. They show it in movie montages looking back through moments in a career.
"They reflect on how they got to a point," Worsley continued. "A swim is quick. It's 1:48 swimming in a pool where people don't get to see me. Being in the (Olympic) Village and reflecting on the moment is the wonderful part of it. Then you realize what it means and what it's all about."
Worsley admitted he was less nervous Tuesday than he was for his first swim Sunday, when he finished 17th in the preliminary round of the men’s 200-meter freestyle. The top 16 swimmers went on to the semifinals.
He said he was slower the last 10 meters of Tuesday’s swim but still was happy with his race.
Worsley now is looking forward to the rest of the Games. With his family in tow, Worsley said, he would take in several events and enjoy everything he could.
Still, as he spoke Tuesday, it was clear the significance of the moment hadn't quite set in.
"I'm sure I won't truly understand what it means to me until years later in my life," he said. "It was such an amazing experience. It happens very quickly, too. I can't believe it's over. Now, I get to relax and hang out with friends from around the world."
Worsley will spend the rest of the Olympics in London before heading to vacation in Croatia.
He said he plans to return to Denver at the end of August and undoubtedly will return to Steamboat.
He isn't sure what his next step will be. He wouldn't commit to making an effort to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. That decision, he said, will come in due time. He’s simply living in the present.
"Ultimately it's being a part of history. I'm here, and I am competing," said Worsley, who wanted to thank his mom, Patti, and his other Steamboat swim coach Essi Kenttala. "I really am speechless. It's really amazing."
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com