But wait, there’s more

June 24, 2013 by David Weiner-Maccabi NSW
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Steven Solomon is not the only Olympian in the Australian Maccabiah team. Meet Sean Bloch, a cyclist who represented South Africa at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

Sean Bloch

Sean Bloch

Sean Bloch, Team Australia’s cycling captain at the 19th Maccabiah Games in July, brings to Israel his experiences from the 1992 Olympic Games, when he was the youngest member of South Africa’s team in Barcelona.

Sean, now living in Sydney and managing the community’s burgeoning cycling club, is an asset to Australia’s touring contingent.

He won 12 South African National titles (with 14 silvers and a number of bronze) and held records in the 200m sprint, 1000m time trial, 500m time trial and two-man 1000m time trial.

He held every African record from 200m to 1000m from 1992 to 1996.

But after representing South Africa at the 1993 and 1995 World Track Cycling Championships in Norway and Columbia, and having raced the American track racing circuit in 1994 and the 1997 World Cup Track Series in Italy, Greece, France, 2013 allows Sean to complete some “unfinished business” in his impressive career.

“Maccabiah to me has always be the one part of unfinished business in my cycling career,” Sean said. “We had a Maccabi event in 1991 in South Africa long before they had anything in Israel (it only was introduced to Maccabiah in 2009) and ever since then I wanted to attend the Maccabiah games.

Sean Bloch

Sean Bloch

“My personal goal is to perform at my best on the day, if I can get off the bike and say I went at 110% no matter where I finish I will be happy. I just want to have no regrets when I get back.”

Sean, who has managed a number of South African cycling teams, and is an Australian accredited coach, will have a wealth of experience to share with his teammates.

“The national champs that I won in 1992 to qualify for the games, is still clear as day to me,” he said.

“Being an individual time trial, I was one of the last to go off and one guy before me had just equalled the South African record.

“I looked up at my coach and said: what do I do?

“Knowing I was going off soon he just looked at me and said: “do what you know you can do, you have done the training”.

“Those words I have never forgotten, I can still hear him saying them today. I can still feel the feeling in my body today when I hit the finish line and knew I had won the race.”

Seizing that moment can be difficult. Sean recalls the “mind blowing” experience of walking out, as an 18-year-old, in front of 85, 000 fans at the opening ceremony in 1992.

What advise does he have for his Maccabiah teammates?

“Take everything around you in.

“Yes, the competition and sports is an important part of the Games but don’t let that consume you without taking the time to enjoy the Games themselves, meeting people, watching sports you may not have watched before.

“Remember you may never get to go again so enjoy it as much as possible.”

Riding along Sydney might be a world away from the heady days of Barcelona, but Sean, who has been in Australia with his wife and two kids since 2001, continues to ride all the time.

“Cycling for me is just part of life, I can’t really recall not riding a bike, and the bike has taken me around the world and back again,” he said.

“Cycling is a growing sport worldwide, not just in the Jewish community in Sydney”.

“You can get fit, its low impact on the body and boy you can have fun spending money on bikes and parts if you want. It’s also very social and enjoyable to do.”

Sean’s program has him in prime shape to have no regrets at the Games. He’s training five days a week on the roads, racing up to three times a month and has the State Masters Championships, Sydney Road Race champs and a number of other races on his itinerary for the year.

As for the team he’ll lead in Israel, Sean is confident.

“In terms of the team we have a strong team going and we have a very real chance in the team competition to do really well and I would like to believe if we ride smart we are going to be there in the end,” he said.

“I would like to be able to sit down as a team at the end of the games and say we each reached our personal goals and the team’s goals and we’ll be able to look back on what was great time and experience we had. It will be remembered forever.”

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