"Chrissie Wellington drops out of the Ironman World Championships in Kona," is a headline we hope to never have to write again...especially in the next two weeks.
But while Chrissie has put a brave face on her recent bike crash by tweeting, "The body is capable of amazing things. I WILL be on the start line."
The simple fact remains that she is seriously battered, bruised and beaten. In fact we hear that she's in great pain just walking today...let alone training. And we fear that with such a traumatic bike crash she may not realize the complete extent of her injuries for days.
Of course if there is anybody in the world that can compete and persevere through sheer guts and determination it is Chrissie Wellington but....
A professional triathletes body is like a finally tuned race car that's been meticulously prepared for the big race. The pros walk the razor-blade of near perfect race fitness, and something like a huge bike crash can not only crush the body, but also crush the mind and even the spirit.
Can Chrissie Wellington recover enough in 12 (no make that 11 days now) to be at her very best in Kona? That's a tall order...even for somebody as determined and physically and mentally tough as the three time Ironman World Champion.
There must enormous pressure right now on Chrissie's powerful shoulders to compete this year....especially having dropped out last year in the last moments before the start of the race.
We strongly suspect that she doesn't want to let down her fans, her friends, her family, her training partners, her coaches, her sponsors, her supporters, her boyfriend, her country and of course herself but...
Chrissie has already accomplished so much in such a short time.
She's an inspiration to countless amateur triathletes around the world, as well as a role model for young women everywhere who (because of Chrissie) now know that it is not only possible to compete with boys at the highest level, but to even beat them across the finishline.
None of that will change if she races (or does not race on) Kona this year.
And while we were thrilled to hear today when she tweeted, "Life throws you curve balls. The key is to bounce those balls right back,"
This is not just about a bouncing back for one race.
An Ironman, especially at when raced at Chrissie's level, is a powerful kick to the human gut that takes the mind and body to the limit and well beyond.
We are accustomed to watching super human performances from Chrissie, but that doesn't mean that she is super human.
She is very human and her body needs time and rest to recover....both of which she doesn't have right now.
Let's say that she decides to race Kona this year and she pulls out of the race after the swim, or worse yet she crashes again on the bike because she's not 100 percent race ready, or she blows up on the run and crawls across the finishline.
How many people will give her the benefit of the doubt, and how many people will second guess her decision to race when injured?
We suspect there are much worse things than missing Kona two years in a row.
We love Chrissie's spirit, her infectious smile and her unfaltering determination so much so that we'd rather write the headline, "Chrissie Wellington drops out of the Ironman World Championships in Kona," and watch her crush IMAZ later this year, and set a new world record at Roth next year, and reclaim her Kona title in 2012 than watch her painfully struggle through the race next week just to prove...what?
Something she's already proved over and over and over again.
What do you think?
Should Chrissie race the 2011 Ironman World Championships?
Please let us know your comments below and perhaps leave a few words for Chrissie herself.