Thursday, October 24, 2013

Scott Dickens at peace with retirement, but not retiring peacefully

Originally published on SportCafé.ca

It's an exciting time as the 2014 Olympics are just over 100 days away, but it's also a sad time as 2012 Olympians are reflecting on their careers and realizing that the time has come to move on to new challenges and adventures.

Yesterday I wrote about Simon Whitfield retiring. Today, it's Scott Dickens.

Scott represented Canada at the 2004 and 2012 Olympics. I watched the Olympic trials intently in 2012 and was so thrilled to see him return to the Olympics after missing out in 2008. I love the Olympics so anytime an athlete gets to compete at the Games, it's a thrill for me.

Here's an interview with Scott Dickens after the Olympic trials.

It's interesting to hear him talk about planning to go faster in London and possibly going under a minute, and now knowing that he did. He broke the national record during the Olympic heats, swimming the 100m n a time of 59.85. He is the first Canadian to break the 1 minute mark in the event. He is one of only two swimmers to get national records at the 2012 Games (Ryan Cochrane broke the national record in the 1500m when he won the silver medal). He also holds the Canadian record in the 50m breaststroke (long course pool).

Scott won  Canada's only gold medal in the pool at the Pan Am Games in 2007 in the 100m breaststroke along with a bronze medal in the 4x100m medley relay. What an inspiration for our Canadian swimmers competing at the Pan Am Games in Toronto in 2015.

During the Olympic Heroes Parade, I was fortunate enough to be the volunteer walking with the swimming team float. The athletes (including Scott in the black t-shirt) took a moment for some fun photos before the parade started.

Five minutes before the start, they posed on the float for one more photo.

They were a fun group to follow. There was a real sense of camaraderie between them and you can see why his teammates are what he will miss most in retirement.

One of my favourite memories from my day with the swimming team was seeing them sing Call Me Maybe from the Canadian Olympic Team video. They were having such a blast! Here's a screenshot:

and the video:

In the Swimming Canada announcement, Scott said he had planned on continuing to compete through 2013 but suffering a concussion while snowboarding in January thwarted those plans. He said "it was a gradual decision to stop but I'm at peace with it now". 

He may be at peace with the decision but he is not retiring peacefully. He may be as active as he was as a swimmer. His tweets in the past few months have been about being on a bike rather that in the pool. He completed a 122km Gran Fondo in Whistler last month saying it was "his first of many Gran Fondos". He has gone from racing for a minute to racing for under four hours.

This photo he posted on Twitter a few days ago at the top of Grouse above the clouds looks pretty peaceful though.

Wishing Scott all the best in his future endeavours!

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