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An Olympic stance Gary Trevisiol can understand

"The Olympic year was kind of a letdown, because there wasn't really a lot on our plates, other than the Olympics."

Contrary to popular belief, this quote is not attributable to any of the hundreds of Canadian Olympic hopefuls, who woke up Monday morning to the harsh reality that their dreams, at least for the summer of 2020, appear to have been put on hold.

Rather, it is the perspective of local cycling great Gary Trevisiol, a man who had qualified for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, finishing 6th at Worlds in 1979 in Amsterdam, but denied the opportunity to showcase himself at the grandest the Games by virtue of the North American boycott of the event in Russia.

Thankfully, his opportunity to officially proclaim himself an Olympian would come four years later, in Los Angeles, part of an impressive Sudbury athletic delegation that also included Alex Baumann (swimming) and Kevin Roy (weightlifting).

"I think you have to stay with it," Trevisiol stated, acknowledging the mindset that allowed him to persevere beyond the disappointment. "If you're committed to it, you stay with it. You continue your training with the idea that this event will go on, and if it doesn't go on, you look for other world class events where you can race."

It was that same single-minded focus that had rapidly propelled Trevisiol, one of the twenty of so young cyclists that emerged out of Sudbury in or around 1975, as the region looked to develop possible participants for the Ontario Summer Games (1974), being hosted in Sudbury.

"I was just a kid, 14 or 15 years old, and I was on summer holidays, so riding my bike was probably a good thing to do," recalled Trevisiol, who took his initial leap of faith on the urging of some friends. "The next year, I started training with the (Sudbury) Cycling Club."

While the Sudbury region was a hotbed of youth sporting activities, at that time, the creation of the Delki Dozzi cycling track was still a few years away. "We were training on the roads, on a couple of different sub-division circuits, one in Gatchell and one in the West End," he said. "It probably wasn't the safest place to train, at all."

Roughly twelve months later, in the summer of 1976, Trevisiol was crowned Canadian junior champion, in the road race, earning a berth in the World Juniors in Austria in 1977, along with club-mate Paul Girolametto. That same year, the northern Ontario lad who had absolutely burst on to the scene would claim gold at the Canada Summer Games in St John's, Newfoundland.

His cycling path, however, was about to change.

"When I began racing, I was pretty much on the road, steady," said Trevisiol. "In 1978, the coach decided to try me on the track and I did very well. I won the kilometer race and set a Canadian record, as a junior."

"From being primarily on the road, I ended up being on the track team, which, for Canada, was the four man team pursuit. We did a lot of the same events, but not the stage races. Thankfully, the early season training was very similar - a lot of riding, a lot of miles on the bike."

Despite his status as a nationally carded athlete, Trevisiol maintained his post-secondary studies, initially for two years at Laurentian, and completing his degree with two subsequent years at the University of Western Ontario. "I was going to school all winter, and in my spare time, trying to keep myself in reasonable shape so that in early spring, I could jump into things," he stated.

"It actually worked out better being in London, just because it is a little bit of a different climate from here. Spring comes close to a month earlier than it would in Sudbury. In March, right now, I could easily get out on the road, almost every day (in London)."

As the decade of the 1980s arrived, so too did a wave of Canadian cycling talent, with Trevisiol joined by the likes of Jocelyn Lovell, Steve Bauer and Curt Harnett. "To qualify as top eight in the world, you have to go pretty fast," said Trevisiol. "That was a feat, and we did it."

Like most elite athletes, the long-time owner/operator of Nova Contracting in Sudbury recalls primarily the athletic component of his Olympic experience, nearly thirty-five years later. "When we went to the Olympics, we were really just focused on our event," said Trevisiol.

"It's not a good thing for a cyclist to be walking around a lot, so we did not attend the Opening Ceremonies. I would have had to be on my feet for three hours." Completing his two events in L.A., where he placed either 15th or 16th in the points race, Trevisiol would get the chance to witness, first hand, the silver medal winning performance of Steve Bauer in the road race.

Not long thereafter, it was time to move on.

"I rode a good part of 1985, but just provincially - I did not sign up for the national team program," he said. "Finally, sometime around 1986, I stopped riding competitively. I bought a house, it needed some work, and I started fixing that up." A career as a general contractor morphed into a world of self-employment that has kept Trevisiol busy for years.

Not that the memories of his storied career on the bikes are ever all that far removed.

"A couple of years ago, I bought a new bike, a carbon frame," Trevisiol conceded. "But I still have a bunch of vintage bikes from the 1980s. It's more than just the weight (of the bike) that is different. It's the ceramic bearings, it's the lower load, and it's the science that goes into the bike now."

"I had two trophy cases, but my wife got tired of dusting them, and we condensed it into one trophy case. Now our trophy case has doors, so you don't get as much dust on them."

The stories of that hardware were shared among friends and former cycling teammates, some four to five years ago, in Woodbridge. It was a reunion which Gary Trevisiol both enjoyed and appreciated.

And just the type of reunion he wishes for the current crop of Canadian elite athletes - Olympics or not, in the summer of 2020.

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