Kevin Tkachuk: The Athleat Interview
The second in a series of interviews from Athleat will see us get to grips with Canadian International Rugby Union player Kevin Tkachuk. Before we get stuck into what really makes him tick, here is a little more background information.
Kevin is an extremely experienced prop for the Canadian rugby union team as well as the Glasgow Warriors. After completing his studies at Kellogg College, Oxford University (Tkachuk was a Blue from 2001 to 2003 while earning a masters degree in history) he joined Glasgow Warriors in 2004. He has earned 52 caps for Canada including 5 as captain. He made his debut v Tonga in 2000 and has scored 5 tries.
Formerly a gridiron and wrestling star in Regina, Saskatchewan, Kevin (also known by his nickname T-Bone) has been noted for being a power athlete with good mobility. Kevin was selected to represent the Barbarians in 2006, and was Glasgow’s Player-of-the-Year that same year.
Athleat: Kevin thanks for doing this interview. Athleat Insights is an invaluable tool to investigate what professional sportspeople are really like! So, first question..... Who is your favourite athlete of all time?
Kevin: Terry Fox (the Canadian humanitarian, athlete and cancer research activist) for his perserverance and absolute mental toughness. Terry ran back to back marathons for 6 months across Canada with only one leg having had the other leg amputated due to cancer. He died a hero.
Athleat: Wow, Terry Fox was an unbelievable guy! So, being from Canada, how did it come about that you played Rugby Union?
Kevin: I started in High School, aged around 15. Originally it was something to utilise to get fit for the upcoming American Football season, but it quickly became my sport of choice.
Athleat: What motivates you to compete to a high standard every week, especially since this season is the longest its ever been, due to the Italians joining the Magners League?
Kevin: Quite simply I love to compete! In the gym, on the training park or in games, for me its about the rush of competition and the satisfaction of success. When it comes to the games, I love the feeling of reaching towards and common goal with your team mates, whether it be in the short term, winning the match in hand, or longer term of finishing high in the table and making the Magners League Play-offs as we did last season.
Athleat: What is the most enjoyable and hated part of training as a professional athlete?
Kevin: Again, I enjoy the competition aspect and the concept of always trying to improve, especially physically. That said it's the chance to interact on a daily basis with your best mates and push each other to achieve goals, that's what I will probably miss the most when it's all done and dusted! As for the most hated, not much, although injury has to be mentioned as its easily the worst part!
Athleat: Agreed, injuries can be a big part of any professional sportsman's career, how do you deal with injury mentally and physically?
Kevin: I have had a fairly fortunate career in regards to injury and have not suffered too much. I broke my leg in the final warm-up match before the World Cup in 2007, which was hard to deal with mentally. I had been to the 2003 World Cup so I think that got me through it, I think it would have been even tougher to deal with if I had not already been to one.
Athleat: Professional athletes are sometimes notorious for being meticulous with their diet, you regularly order Athleat products to help, but what single piece of dietary advice would you give to any young rugby player?
Kevin: For me, it's a very hard part of my training. If I do not stay constantly vigilant with my diet, I do not recover from games and therefore do not perform to the best of my ability. It's also very easy to get into the trap of not eating right, as it can be a bit more painstaking and takes much more time to get it right! That is why I like Athleat products, the fact that it is delivered to you in handy portioned vacuumed sealed packs makes the whole process much easier!
Athleat: Thanks for the shameless Athleat plug! Moving on swiftly, what was the best piece of advice ever given to you?
Kevin: "A good man will find a way". - Lorne Shmyr, my high school football coach. Whenever you came to him with an excuse that was always his response. As annoying as it was at the time it is a mantra that I have tried to live my life by!
Athleat: You used to do some wrestling in Canada, any plans to go back to it? WWE is calling!
Kevin: Ha! I wish I was that kind of athlete, it may well be "fake" or contrived but those guys are some of the most athletic guys around, being extremely powerful, fast and agile, it also looks like alot of fun!
Athleat: Off the top rope its T-BONE....I can hear the commentators now..! So, what is your strongest lift?
Kevin: Right now its either my Bench press or Push Press. I have not been able to do a heavy Squat or Deadlift recently because I want to keep my lower back and knees healthy, and I do miss those lifts!
Athleat: What do you like to do to relax?
Kevin: I like to spend alot of time in the great outdoors, you can't beat a good mountain bike ride to de-stress! When that's too much effort its usually walking the dogs or having a coffee with the lads .
Athleat: What are your personal bests in the main lifts (Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press)
Kevin: Squat - 200kg's; Deadlift - 230 kg's and Bench Press - 190 kg's.
Athleat: Who is the best player you have ever played against?
Kevin: Cobus Visagie probably gets the nod for the toughest opponent ever faced. My third test cap was against the Springboks in East London, and it might have been the longest game I can remember! Not sure we had many stable scrums that afternoon!
Athleat: You are a graduate of Oxford University, does this mean that once you have retired you will get a job as a broker in the city? What are your plans for retirement?
Kevin: I would love to become a farmer, but I don't actually have the first clue about farming, so I guess that's out! I will probably move back into the world of academia and become a teacher.
Athleat would like to thank Kevin for his time for the interview and for honestly answering some stupid questions, we wish him all the best for the remainder of the season.