Team USA triathlete Greg Billington on chasing the Olympic dream – Physiclo

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Team USA triathlete Greg Billington on chasing the Olympic dream

Posted on August 18 2016

Olympic silver medalist and Physiclo co-founder, Keeth Smart understands the importance of preparing for a competition. Keeth made it his mission to help many of the Rio athletes maximize their training for the Rio games by outfitting them with Physiclo's resistance technology. 

We also sat down with several of the athletes including Rio 2016 Olympic Triathlete, Greg Billington to talk about resistance, a common theme in many athletes live's both on and off the competition floor. 

The best advice we’ve heard from an Olympian came from Greg Billington, Team USA, Olympic Triathlete in Rio. He races today at 10:00 AM EST.

 

 

Billington began swimming when he was 18 years old.

“My brother and I were pretty rambunctious kids and my parents wanted us to be involved in a lot of activities,” says Billington. “I started looking a little chunky. And at that time I didn’t really like taking showers, so my parents wanted to find a sport that would solve both of those problems,” he stated when thinking about why he transitioned from Martial Arts to eventually becoming a triathlete.

Around 2006 he won the 6 meter Fly Championships at a local swim competition, “When I realized I had won, I said I was going to go to the Olympics someday,” says Billington when reflecting back on that pivotal victory.

“I had/have a bunch of great coaches. Keith McBain taught me how to love swimming. Tim Williams, Coach at Cambridge Triathlon Club, helped me transition from being a runner into a triathlete. And my current coach, Paulo Sousa, helped me eliminate a lot of things that were keeping me prone to injuries,” says Billington.

“Every athlete has a lot of setbacks. For me, it was quite a few injuries. I was pretty healthy throughout high school and then in college, I started injuring myself repeatedly. Ruptured fascia and several stress fractures,” says Billington when naming his most consistent injuries.

In 2012 he almost qualified for the USA Team despite being hit by a car in 2011 that left him with two broken arms.

Billington said after that experience he thought, “If I trained a bit harder I could be at the top of my game. I ended up with even more stress fractures which ended my 2014 season.”

 

 

When training for the 2016 Olympics, Billington said his coach Sousa gave him a different perspective in regards to training that helped him become a better athlete. “Approach training and racing as an ongoing development as opposed to every day being a test,” Billington shared.

“When I choose to train for the Olympics it wasn’t because I thought it was perfectly attainable or that I was even capable of doing it. It was just something I knew I wanted and I was going to throw myself into it, entirely,” says Billington. “Whether or not I achieved it, if I failed I would be extremely disappointed but I had to go for it. And along the way, I just learned different ways to make myself more successful. And adapt to changing circumstances.”

“This is something I wanted since I was 8 (to go the Olympics and compete). You don’t have very many opportunities in your life to accomplish your goals and I knew it wasn’t always going to go perfectly. But when you set a goal you don’t just stop because things aren’t going well. You reevaluate what is going on in your life and it may be that you don’t want that dream anymore,” says Billington when asked how he overcame all the obstacles in his life. “I knew I had something to achieve in triathlons and I was going to find a way to give it everything I could to achieve or come close to the Olympics.”

“There is always more to improve upon. There is never any moment where I feel I have figured out triathlons,” says Billington.

 

 

How do you maintain that drive of an Olympic athlete? Billington says, “I’m not the introspective type. I found out different things about myself that impeded my practice and I had to work on not being too emotionally involved in my training. Every day, I wake up and I go about my training to the best of my ability and whether or not things go well that day, there is always another day, more training and an opportunity to improve.”

Before ending the interview, Billington had to mention, “I have to say, I wouldn’t be here without my parents. Without them, I wouldn’t be getting on a plane and racing in Rio.”

“It's all very gradual. You keep chipping away at making the most of who you are as an athlete and eventually you realize, I’m here! I’m doing pretty well now,” says Billington about competing in his first Olympic race.

 

WATCH at 10:00 AM EST as Greg and Team USA compete in the Men's Triathlon at NBCOlympics.com 

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