Fitter and faster ... but Tyler 'no threat'
Tyler Butterfield insists he is fitter, stronger and faster than ever before but still does not expect to be even a threat in the men's Olympic triathlon tomorrow.
Butterfield, who would be more than happy with a top 20 finish, believes much will depend on how quickly he can complete the 10K swim in Hyde Park's famous Serpentine lake.
As his weakest event, Butterfield has clocked hours training in the open water to give himself a fighting chance and reckons he is a much-improved swimmer.
“I'm the fittest I've been all year, I'm the lightest I've been all year; I've been watching what I eat and I'm in the best shape of my life two days before any other race I've ever done,” said Butterfield, who is staying in a hotel near Hyde Park rather the Olympic Village.
“As for my hopes for the Olympics, I should be in the middle of the pack although I could easily be towards the back. I'll certainly be towards the back out of the water.
“The quicker I come out of the water the better the race will look for me. I've been really working at my swimming to try and give myself better odds. I literally have to go at my max in the swim.”
Should the race become tactical, Butterfield believes he could exceed even his own expectations but admits the odds of that occurring are slim.
“If it's a tactical race that will benefit me but I expect the top three in the world to make it as hard as possible as they know that's their best chance of a medal. I would absolutely love to be in the mix for at least part of the race and give Bermuda some exposure.”
At Athens 2004, Butterfield's last and only Olympic appearance, the Bermudian placed 35th and while the competition has stiffened in the last eight years, he is confident he can improve his position.
“The problem is these guys are the best in the world,” said the Colorado-based athlete. “If it was eight years ago, and I was racing the same field, I think I would have a chance of going top 15 or even top ten.
“But eight years ago they were swimming slower, running slower and maybe biking the same.
“I believe I'm a better triathlete now and definitely more relaxed. I should have a better race than eight years ago because I'm a better swimmer, a better cyclist and a better runner. I could finish in the top 20 and that would be great for me.”
Butterfield hopes the wet weather improves having watched some of the world's top females struggle in the slippery conditions in the bike leg of their triathlon at the weekend.
Bermuda's Flora Duffy saw her Olympic dream go up in smoke after falling off her bike at a tricky corner and ended up finishing 45th.
“Hopefully we have dry roads, I'd like it to be hot and humid like Bermuda,” he said. “It would be a real shame to see someone fall off their bike. It wasn't raining during Flora's race but the roads were still damp from the morning and a lot (of triathletes) crashed. It's a shame when (the weather) takes someone out of the race.”
The course, which begins and ends in centuries-old Hyde Park, will see athletes swim 1500 metres around the lake, ride seven laps of the 6.1 kilometre cycle track, past Buckingham Palace, and race four circuits of the 2.5K lakeside running course.
The race starts at 7am (Bermuda time).