Photo Credit: Timothy Carlson
Today I was advised of the official retirement of Emma Snowsill.
A bittersweet moment for the doc, but this note is for not only Emma Snowsill but also the people who helped her through the very tough times she encountered, building the machine that was to become the world's greatest ITU short course racer.
None needs more thanks than the whole Harrop family, through the most traumatic experience a family could have to deal with. The family while dealing with their grief not only survived, but drew massive comfort from Luke Harrop.
Make no mistake, Luke Harrop was Emma's inspiration just as Loretta was the boot in the arse Emma needed on many occasions to make the best out of her unbelievable natural gifts. Without either, this story would not be written.
Along the way, Craig Walton was the rock she built her long career on. Without him, in my opinion, there would be no Olympic medal. Lizzy Blatchford also was a great friend when the mouse was in need of people she could trust and share her new life with.
There are more that come to mind that helped her on her journey, but the main players I would personally thank are above.
Most say you can't make comparisons of athletes from different areas, and of course in many instances this is correct. However, not so with Emma Snowsill, as I have the facts and figures of most if not all of the female greats right here in my desk.
While I have no doubt her great friend and mentor Loretta Harrop ruled over all short course racing as the best athlete ever, Emma Snowsill on the ITU racing circuits had no peers. When swim trained by myself, Craig or Denis Cotterall here has just never been a swimmer who could also run like her, and do it in the pressure cooker of the big events.
Sutto athletes and coaches are mentored to concentrate on the big days, the Olympics, the championship races and the world championships. Not the rinky dinky world cups. Greatness belongs to those that perform on the biggest days, and Emma over her career kept the ultimate performances for those occasions.
It was an honour to help her when she needed it, and my job to show her what she could really do if she put her head down and got on with being the best she could be.
It was a life experience for me to watch Loretta mentor Emma after I advised that the student will defeat the teacher. Loretta's answer and her actions will go down in my memory as one of the greatest acts of selflessness I've ever witnessed.
To my young mate Luke - "You were right mate. Your girl could be a world champion and win the Olympics. She didn't do it for just her, mate, she ultimately did it for you".
ITU's greatest champion
Well played, you did real good!