Moss meets Queen at Olympics,
Burnaby resident Curtis Moss competed in the javelin at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Though he threw the javelin 78.22 metres in the qualifying round, his fifth best throw ever, it wasn't enough to get him into the 12-man final. While taking some downtime following the Olympics last week, Moss responded via email to questions posed to him by the NewsLeader:
What was the experience of participating in your first Olympics like?
I had a great time, I was completely inspired by the experience and getting to compete with some of the athletes I have only seen on TV or YouTube has made my dreams and goals even more real. I feel now that I belong there and that next time I will be a better athlete for having this experience.
I also got to meet the Queen! She came to the village to say hello to representatives from the Commonwealth and myself and Dylan Wykes, a marathon runner, got to meet her, shake her hand and chit-chat for a little while.
Were you nervous when the qualification round began, or when you got into the stadium?
I was not nervous, I don't get nervous to compete. I was excited by the atmosphere and walking into a stadium with 80,000 people screaming and cheering was a thrill of a lifetime. I look forward to many more of those experiences.
How did you feel about your performance? You got progressively better with each throw, but didn't reach the distance you had in Victoria when you set your personal best.
As it turns out, that was my fifth best throw ever so I was not upset with the performance and not thrilled either. I got there and performed decently well but it's a whole different level. I know where I need to improve and how to approach the competition next time. I did feel more comfortable and more confident as the event went on and I think that translated into further distances.
Did your training in Germany go well? Was it difficult not being able to communicate with your personal Don Steen during the event?
Training in Germany went well but it was hard to be away and not experience all that the Games has to offer. When I got to the stadium, the seats that were reserved for Don and [girlfriend Jacqueline Muscat] were on the other side of the stadium so Jackie went to the ticket counter and got them passes to sit right by where I was competing with five minutes to spare. It was great having him there for a few minutes before I competed and for the competition itself. He really helped me to adjust from 74 to 78 metres.
What was the atmosphere like participating in such an event?
The atmosphere was great, it was too loud to hear yourself talk at times and the adrenaline was incredible. I think I will be able to recall that experience to use at other meets.
Had you ever performed before such a large audience?
The biggest crowd I ever competed in front of before was less than half that of this stadium when I was in Beijing for World Junior Championships in 2006 and a meet I attended in Morocco this May. This was much, much bigger and going to see events beforehand and being in the opening ceremonies helped to curb some of the shock when I got onto the field.
What was it like being in the Olympic Village?
Seeing some of my sports idols walking around casually and seeing them as normal people was surreal. The Village was enormous with 16,000 inhabitants during the games (10,000 athletes) and free food throughout the village. It would be an amazing little town if athletes lived like that all of the time but being around so many like-minded people was motivating and educational.
Did you get to see any other Olympic events? Did you get to a US basketball game like you hoped?
Unfortunately I did not get to see any other sports as I was in Germany most of the time and when I was back I had to rest before competition. I did see quite a bit of the track and field including the 200m semi-finals, the women's 200m final and the men's 4x100m relay final. The relay was devastating for a lot of Canadians and all of us athletes in attendance really felt for them, but being able to see the World Record go down to the Jamaicans was amazing.
What surprised you the most about being at the Olympics?
I was surprised by the normalcy at times. You would see David Rudisha (winner of the 800 metres from Kenya) eating lunch and sharing a laugh like everyone else and the next thing you know he is on the track breaking the world record. The advice I had gotten beforehand was absolutely true with several experienced athletes telling me, "It's just another track meet." The most successful athletes seemed to approach it exactly that way.
What can you take from the experience in training for the next four years? And what did you learn from the experience that you can apply in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro?
I now know the procedure to check in and warm up, which was all new to me. There were also technical changes that I saw in film that I need to change for next time. I am constantly learning and these Games may be my greatest learning experience athletically to date.
What's next for you training wise? And are you going to concentrate full time on the javelin, or will you also be going to school or working?
I will be returning to school hopefully in January. I am still unsure as to what I want to study but I know that I will eventually want to coach and stay involved in track and field. How I can make that work and make a living I don't know, but maybe it is time to get creative! I have a large appreciation and passion for the sport and I am getting so much from it that I feel privileged to be able to share my knowledge and experience eventually. Lot's more to do in my own career but I feel it is a path I will continue down for a long time to come.
How did the family enjoy the experience, and did you get to communicate with them much? How did they react to your performance?
It was great to be able to share this experience with my family, my coach and my girlfriend (and even her neighbours!). I was so happy that I got to see them in the stands, share some time with them afterwards and also get to have a decent performance. I was hoping for more but they were very proud of me and how I handled myself throughout the whole experience. They know what I have gone through to get to where I am today and they have all supported me for so long that it was as much their accomplishment as it was mine. Now it's time to aim higher and be better for myself and for them next time.
Did you get to participate in the closing ceremonies and what was that like?
The closing ceremonies were so exciting. Not going to lie, the Spice Girls and the Monty Python bit were my two favourite parts. It was great to be down with the athletes and get to blow off some steam after a very exhausting and emotional two-week experience. To top it all off I got to meet Russell Brand on my way out of the stadium!
Did you get to talk to Christine Sinclair?
I did get to talk to her after she was named flag bearer for the closing ceremonies. We both congratulated each other and had a nice talk about some mutual Burnaby friends. It was pretty cool getting to see her there and see her much deserved success recognized by the Canadian Olympic Committee so she could carry our flag.