Anthony Evans is Australia’s most successful ever cross-country ski racer. He skied at three Winter Olympics and a number of World Championships. His results included a 34th in the 50km at the Albertville Winter Olympics and a 36th in the 10km classic at the World Championships in Trondheim in 1997. He is now retired from international competition but is still highly competitive on the domestic scene despite fitting in his new role as a father to baby daughter Zana. He talked to me about his career and his life ahead.
You and your wife Carla (former Dutch Olympic speed skater) now have a beautiful baby girl Zana . How are you finding parenthood?
It’s funny. I sometimes get a bit nostalgic and like to think I have done a fair bit with my life, representing Australia at three Olympics and getting some OK results along the way. But none of this comes even close to becoming a dad. It is just the most unbelievable experience — to see this miracle in front of you which is your flesh and blood, and have helped create (although I’ll give you the drum, us blokes have the easy bit !).
I once read an article by Mikka Mylla, where he said that the birth of his child was a bigger moment for him than winning an Olympic gold medal. Now, he has shown why he probably wouldn’t be as proud for winning an Olympic gold as he could be, and I can hold my head proud even with my meagre performances, but I understand where he is coming from.
Parenthood is massively overly documented, but no matter how much reading you do, or how many classes you go to, nothing can prepare you for it. The only bad thing about being a parent (besides the lack of sleep), is that Carla and I don’t get to train together anymore as one or the other needs to be minding Zana.
You give talks to young ski racers now. What advice do you give them?
I don’t talk to juniors as often as I should. It is a difficult thing to do. I’m not a teacher, so the best thing I have to offer are my own experiences, but I don’t want to sound like â€œthis is what I did, so this is what you should do tooâ€. In Australia, getting a situation which allows you to explore your potential is the most difficult thing. And it is different for everyone. You need money to live and travel overseas so you need to work, but you can only work certain times of the year. You also need time to train as well as time to experience other things in life (yes, there are other things in life) and you need someone you can put faith in as a coach. Too many Aussies read a book that says Bjorn Daehlie trained 30 hours a week, so they think they have to do the same. A coach or at least an adviser and a good plan is essential.
Thanks Anthony for your time .