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Kretz’s three-continent, four-country tour nails Canada a second Olympic spot

"Hopefully I showed that I deserve that second spot"

Photo by: Janos Schmidt/ World Triathlon

The proud coach posted the checklist on Facebook: four races in five weeks, including three Olympic-distances. Three continents, four-countries. Two World Triathlon Championship Series races including the most demanding, Leeds. Two top-six finishes.

“nuff said,” Alex Sereno, Amelie Kretz’s coach, continued. And he’s right.

Five years ago Kretz managed to snag an Olympic spot so she could compete in Rio at the last qualifying race. This time getting Canada a second spot in Tokyo required a round-the-world-tour that saw Kretz move herself up to the 54th out of 55 qualifying spots. That doesn’t mean she will for sure be named to the Tokyo team, though – spots are given to each country’s governing body, who then designate the athletes who will go to the Games. Canada has three athletes who are technically eligible to compete in Tokyo: Joanna Brown has met the criteria for an automatic selection, Kretz managed to secure the second spot, and, thanks to a 10th place finish in Mexico this weekend, Dominika Jamnicky is technically eligible to compete because she’s moved up to 131 in the World Triathlon Olympic rankings – athletes must be in the top 140 to be able to compete.

As she awaits the final word from Triathlon Canada on whether she’ll be Tokyo bound in July (“hopefully I showed that I deserve that second spot,” she says), we caught up with Kretz shortly after she got back to Boulder, Colo., where she’ll be based for her next training block.

Triathlon Magazine Canada: How are you feeling, other than exhausted?

Amelie Kretz: I’m feeling very tired after five weeks on the road and all the time zones and all the racing. I’m feeling very tired, but really happy with that racing block and what I have accomplished in the last few days. I’ll take a few days to recover from all the traveling and get right back into a training block

What was the biggest challenge with all the racing over the last five weeks?

I think the biggest challenge with all the racing was just recovering in time, and the traveling, especially during COVID, is pretty challenging as well. All the restrictions and paperwork – navigating all of that, and recovering between races, especially with three Olympic-distances in four weeks, that was definitely a challenge.

You really turned things around in Lisbon. How much did the challenges around the relay motivate you to that sixth-place finish in Lisbon?

Lisbon was really challenging all week, just because of the situation with the relay. Then I made the decision that I just needed to focus on my race, and back myself, because I knew I could still qualify that second spot for myself if I did well in Lisbon. So I think I just used it as fuel and it obviously worked to my advantage and I had a good race.

Where will you be heading for training now?

I just got back to Boulder last night from Mexico. I’ll be based here until Tokyo, hopefully. A little recovery block for this week, then right back into a training block leading into Tokyo. It’s been really hot in Boulder, so it is going to be great prep for the heat in Tokyo and, obviously, the altitude worked for me for the races from the past few weeks, so it’s a good environment for me to be in.

Has your coach, Alex Sereno, been able to travel with you at all over the last five weeks?

Alex hasn’t been traveling with me … he might come and join me in Boulder for the last few weeks before the Games. I might also get a visit from my parents, my mom for sure, for two or three weeks because, unfortunately, they won’t be able to travel to Tokyo. It’ll be nice to see them – I haven’t seen them since Christmas, so it’ll be good to have them around for the last little prep before the Games.