age group pro­file

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - CONTENTS - By Kerry Hale

Vic­tor Wong

“Hear­ing im­pair­ment def­i­nitely has had an im­pact on my train­ing and rac­ing. Once, at a qual­i­fy­ing race for Duathlon Worlds, I did an ex­tra lap be­cause I couldn’t hear the bell that rang for the last lap,” says Vic­tor Wong with­out the slight­est bit of com­plaint. A self­con­fessed “lazy per­son,” Wong’s hu­mil­ity be­lies his im­pres­sive mul­ti­sport per­for­mances, which in­clude a duathlon age group award in 2007 and sev­eral Olympic dis­tance podium fin­ishes. In ad­di­tion to his ath­letic prow­ess, the ever smil­ing Scar­bor­ough, Ont. na­tive is a deep thinker. “I’ve al­ways felt there’s a cor­re­la­tion be­tween triathlon and a shift in hu­man be­hav­iour in the 21st century. The growth in people par­tic­i­pat­ing in triathlons, I think, ref lects a big­ger shift to­ward mul­ti­task­ing. It is not about qual­ity over quan­tity any­more; it is about both qual­ity and quan­tity,” says Wong. The post­doc­toral fel­low in the field of neu­ro­science is also a pas­sion­ate artist with a bur­geon­ing in­ter­est in fash­ion de­sign.

Wong be­gan run­ning and cy­cling as an un­der­grad­u­ate sim­ply as a means to in­crease fit­ness. His swim­ming was what he calls “sim­ply abysmal.” His first coach, Ken Royds, helped get him into triathlon. He was later coached by, Cana­dian pro­fes­sional triath­lete, Tara Nor­ton with whom his per­for­mances im­proved.

As a hear­ing-im­paired ath­lete, Wong has con­fronted nu­mer­ous ob­sta­cles, but he’s al­ways taken those in stride. “I love group ac­tiv­i­ties, but I don’t do well in ran­dom groups. I am anx­ious all the time as I miss out on the con­ver­sa­tions that may ap­pear to be de­cep­tively triv­ial but are im­por­tant, es­pe­cially about how fast and how far we go, where to re­group and what to look out for ahead. But, thank­fully, I have had in­cred­i­bly un­der­stand­ing coaches and friends,” he ex­plains.

Wong typ­i­cally trains be­tween 14 and 20 hours each week. Mon­days, Wed­nes­days and Fridays are swim days, Tues­days and Satur­days are bike and/or brick days, and Wed­nes­days and Sun­days are run days. In­ter­twined with these work­outs are yoga, core strength and stretch­ing ses­sions. Still, he says, “I’m not a morn­ing per­son at all and, be­ing a deaf per­son, I can’t wake up to alarms. And I don’t do lunchtimes ei­ther. I usu­ally train af­ter work and it’s amaz­ing how much you can do within a limited time frame if you plan ef­fi­ciently. I’m a lazy per­son, but I think of lazi­ness as a form of ef­fi­ciency and good time man­age­ment. I al­ways strate­gize my time the day be­fore with backup plans and more back-backup plans if any­thing goes wrong. I love plan­ning and draw f low charts to vi­su­al­ize how the day should go. It may sound rigid, but I don’t nec­es­sar­ily fol­low it 100 per cent as noth­ing ever goes ac­cord­ing to the plan.”

Wong has a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in hu­man bi­ol­ogy and grad­u­ate de­grees in phys­i­ol­ogy. He cur­rently spe­cial­izes in the au­di­tory sys­tem. By way of ex­pla­na­tion, he says “I was di­ag­nosed with bi­lat­eral sen­sorineu­ral hear­ing at the age of four. My par­ents de­cided that I go through speech ther­apy and train­ing in or­der to com­mu­ni­cate ver­bally. Thanks to them and all the teach­ers I’ve had, I’m now a great lip reader.” As such, “hear­ing re­search is some­thing l am tremen­dously pas­sion­ate about.”

Out­side of the lab and ly­cra, he en­joys paint­ing, draw­ing and writ­ing. “I find so­lace in art, where no hear­ing is re­quired. The world of sci­ence can seem cold. Data collection and anal­y­sis needs to be ob­jec­tive and free from emo­tion. It can seem ro­botic even, which can be cool, but we are fu­elled by pas­sion and love, and the arts al­low me those and give me a bal­ance.”

Al­most as an af­ter­thought, Wong adds, “Triathlon drives me to ex­cel, with­out ex­cuses. I ap­ply what I have learned from triathlon to other as­pects of my life, like at work or mak­ing art, where I de­mand and ex­pect a lot from my­self. When it suc­ceeds it is a beau­ti­ful thing – just like the fin­ish line.”

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