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photo: Competitive Image
Olympic Blog: Andy Schmitz
USA Triathlon High Performance General Manager Andy Schmitz is the Team Leader for the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team. He is orchestrating all logistics for the team here in London and has played a key role in planning for this event for the past four years. He was a member of the U.S. staff for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Throughout the course of the Olympic Games, you'll hear from the people and athletes of the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team here at usatriathlon.org.
LONDON — When you think about the Olympic Games it certainly is the pinnacle of sport, but I’d also say it’s the pinnacle of logistics and management operations for someone in my position because it’s a notch above anything else that I’ve done. I’d had some experience with Youth Olympic Games and Pan Am Games and had some affiliation as a coach in Beijing in ’08, but I didn’t fully appreciate until now the enormity of responsibility that goes into managing the Games.
We’re leaving the compound on Saturday and effectively for seven days for the women and 11 days for the men, every variable of detail has to be accounted for. Moving people around and getting training can be unpredictable with the Games. That’s the difference with the Games is the complexity that every ounce of planning can still be turned on a dime to have something completely different pop up.
Looking back at the last two years being in the role of High Performance General Manager, I’ve been leading the Olympic-level program. The Olympic Games is just an extension of my other duties in that its orchestrating the strategy behind how we approach competition, how we expect to perform at an excellent level and working with the athletes that I’ve been working with for the last four years, especially the last two.
It’s huge honor to be a part of this team. In 2008 in Beijing, I was a late addition to the team and my eyes were saucer wide. I’d have to say my emotions have been a bit more in check here. I’m still excited about the Games, but there’s a higher degree of responsibility that I have and a higher degree of personal investment.
I think having been here before has actually helped. I’m caught up in the emotion enough to celebrate what the Olympic Movement is all about, but I have to say I’m tremendously grounded compared to where I was four years ago because there’s almost no time not to be. I feel like I have to be on my game to make sure the athletes get support as they need to to be able to maximize their ability to prepare and perform.
Whether I was working with the junior team a few years ago or working with this group now I’ve always felt triathlon brings a very unique type person — a lot of athletes that are very responsible, personable and just generally good natured. It’s been a pleasure to work with triathletes throughout.
I talk to some of my peers from other sports and hear they challenges they deal with whether it be with personalities or disciplinary problems. It’s kind of nice to know that our group is so mature. It’s a tight-knit group, too. It’s a group that gets along exceptionally well. They all respect each other for what they’ve accomplished and they’re all proud of each other for being here. I consider each one of these people to be a friend. I’ve gotten to know each of them well and I love working with them and just developing the relationships I have. It’s an honor to be here and it’s great to see things come to a culmination. It’s what you work hard for for four years and it’s exciting to have the moment finally here.