On the weekend we have seen the re-emergence of a forgotten athlete, Daniela Ryf!

Much is now being said about the new overnight sensation so I thought I’d clear up a few details.

Stella, as she is now known in our squad, was a great athlete before I ever met her. She is a World Cup winner, Under 23 World Champion and living in Switzerland I marveled at her 7th in the Beijing Olympics.

I thought this young athlete did better than she could have ever hoped for. To me it was astonishing that a girl with her body could was able to match it with the waifs.

However, what I saw as her greatest triumph became her greatest burden.

She set about the next part of her career, trying to improve on, what could not be improved on. ‘You could do this, we could do that, and if you make these changes you can be Olympic Champion.’

‘I’ve watched Dani from the background as she was slowly but systematically destroyed not by her racing enemies, but by her ‘allies’ with all the new help. I did tell Nicola (Spirig) that I thought Daniela should now move to what she can be World Champion in, and that was long course.

I’m pleased that we have helped put Daniela back together again, pointed her in the right direction, and said ‘this is where you now belong’. No diets, no fretting over how I can’t get to the size of the others, and more importantly built up her confidence with sound training and then letting the race results show you what the real Daniela Ryf can do!

The Angry Bird did the rest, not me.

I will throw in a thanks to coach, Dr Darren Smith.  When I asked he sat down over a pizza gave me a complete critique of Daniela’s strengths and weaknesses with one goal in mind – seeing his old athlete ‘fly again’. No self thought, just what’s best for the athlete.

Again it just shows how ridiculous Triathlon Australia is as they go from new low to new low in not head hunting him to head up a resurgence of performance in Australian triathlon. They have the cattle, but the knowhow at the top is sadly lacking.

I’ll throw in another thank you to Nicola Spirig. Yes, her former rival. She made Dani welcome and has helped interpret the squad’s do’s and don’ts faster and clearer than anyone else could.

But let’s make one thing clear, Daniela Ryf was a very good athlete before she ever came to the Trisutto.com squad. She is very good again. Now it’s up to her if she wants to be a champion.

The Angry Bird has landed. This time on her feet!

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