I don’t know many pros and don’t know much about their individual reputations, but from what I have read, it seems like people generally think Andy Potts is a good guy and they like seeing him succeed in triathlon. We like Andy Potts, too, and here’s why:
First of all, Andy went to the University of Michigan, which is where Mark and I also went to school. We always support UM athletes (go Tom Brady!), so we were automatic fans of Andy’s for that reason alone. Andy was a swimmer at UM and a darn good one. At most triathlons in which he competes, Andy can be counted on to exit the water in the lead.
We also like Andy because he makes Colorado his home. Many triathletes call Colorado home, and we feel a connection to these athletes because we ride the same roads and train in the same conditions. Andy lives in Colorado Springs rather than Boulder, but we don’t hold that against him.
We like Andy because we have seen him win two Ironman races. Yes, ironically, our family had a chance to cheer him on in both IMCdA and IM Cozumel in 2010. We also saw him finish as the top American in Kona this year.
Kendall took this picture of Andy on the bike at Kona, leading the race:
Finally, we like Andy because he took the time recently to send each of my kids a signed poster with some encouraging words.
I’ll explain. A few days after the race, we were having dinner in Waikoloa and Mark spotted Andy’s parents having dinner nearby. Mark and Andy’s dad are both emergency physicians in Colorado, so they had met before through work. After dinner, we went over to say hello. The kids were impressed to meet Andy Potts’ parents. They had just cheered for him several days before and knew that he had been first out of the water. We told them to tell Andy congratulations from our family. Andy’s dad later took the time to track down the kids’ names and our address to have Andy send the posters. We were very touched that he took the time to do that, and it meant a lot to the kids.
Kendall immediately wanted to write Andy back. She got to work last night writing him a thank you note. Here is what she wrote:
Here’s the back:
So, Andy, whenever you are racing, know that the Schaffner-Kozlowski family is always in your corner. Thanks for taking the time to inspire the kids and their late-in-life-swimmer mom and dad.
Update: We got to meet Andy! He gave a talk at Kompetitive Edge in May a week after winning St. Croix 70.3. In his talk, Andy was gracious and funny and he shared so much great information. He started by saying that the didn’t have any “secrets” and he was willing to share everything about his training and racing. If you ever have a chance to hear him speak, don’t miss it.