Toni and I met up this week for the first time since Rio.

Although generally in good spirits there’s no doubt that the last few months has taken its toll on him (it took a chunk out of me and I was only watching and writing). Despite enjoying the multiple media engagements he’s undertaken in the last week it has probably been too much following an extended period of constant planning, reflecting, reviewing, adjusting, etc. On top of that, although Toni shrugs it off, I can’t help but think that the emotional drain is a major factor.

Given that his focus is always on others, I ask him how he is,

“Not too bad. A bit crash and burn. Maybe a bit of jet lag”.

I try to elicit a more detailed response but with no real joy. Here’s the summary;

he’s a bit tired, the job is done, frustrated but a couple of nights decent kip, a box set to switch off his thinking for a few days and then good to go.

There you have it. Next time you’re emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted and considering how to patch yourself together, save yourself a small fortune by grabbing a months’ subscription for Netflix and get yourself to bed. Sorted.

Taking all the above into account there’s still no doubt in my mind that some sort of break is in order. In an attempt to introduce some R&R to Toni’s schedule Mark and I whisk him away for a day of eating, chatting and relaxing. Then, because we’re as ethically questionable as some in the media, we interview him anyway. Admit it, you’d be disappointed if we hadn’t.

Here’s a couple of films that I hope give you a slightly different insight to that which you might have seen in the media:

One topic that Toni raised is the way the BOA, despite their otherwise fantastic work, still struggle to adequately acknowledge the role of coaches. Here’s what he had to say;

That evening Sera, who has been helping out with Social Media for the blog joins us for dinner.


L to R: Giles, Mark, Sera and Some Middle Aged Italian Bloke Who Thinks He’s A Rapper

The conversation, perhaps not surprisingly, covers everything from drug cheats to making up names for fictitious bands. Sorry but both topics are, for once, off limits! The dinner chat also touches on ‘what now’. The answer, for Toni, is simple,

“I’m off to York this weekend”.

“Long weekend break?”

“No, I’ve got a young athlete whose competing. I want to see how she’s doing”.

And just like that, he’s back on it.


After a long heart to heart with Toni we’ve decided to definitely keep the blog going! Coach to Rio will need a name change (suggestions on the back of a postcard) but there’s too much fun to be had to quit now. I hope you enjoy the ride with us. Wherever it goes.