By Erin Greene on 24/10/13 at 12:25 pm
Triathlon legend Simon Whitfield (CAN) announced he’s hanging up his competition suit on Wednesday. Whitfield competed in four Olympic Games, winning the first triathlon Olympic gold medal in the men’s race in 2000.
After finishing 11th in Athens, Whitfield returned to the Olympic podium in Beijing where he collected silver. In addition to his Olympic achievements, Whitfield is a 14-time World Cup winner, garnered gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, won the Canadian championships on 12 occasions.
“Today marks the end of my career as a professional athlete; it’s been an incredible journey and an amazing chapter in my life,” Whitfield said in his retirement announcement. “I grew up dreaming of representing Canada at the Olympic Games, though I never imagined I would have the honour of wearing the maple leaf four times, winning two Olympic medals, and bearing the Flag,” said Whitfield, who carried the flag into the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
“I grew up with triathlon. I was first introduced to the sport when competing in the Kids of Steel races organized by Joan and Rudy Hollywood in 1986. Triathlon provided wonderful memories, friendships and experiences that I will hold close forever.”
While Whitfield will no longer toe the start line, he won’t be far from the sport as he is set to head up the Fantan Group’s sports entertainment division in Victoria, Canada.
“Simon has been integral to elevating the sport of triathlon to the high level of competition we see today. He will forever remain a part of ITU history as a four-time Olympian, two-time medalist, and the first man to win Olympic triathlon gold in Sydney. We will miss seeing him line up in ITU races, but look forward to his continuing to be a part of the triathlon family,” said ITU President Marisol Casado.
ITU Secretary General added, “Not only was Simon an outstanding athlete whose accomplishments speak for themselves, he has been extremely important to the growth of triathlon in Canada as well as worldwide. Simon has actively sought opportunities to work with athletes of all ages, sharing his expertise and knowledge with them. We hope Simon will continue to impact the sport and would welcome the opportunity to work with him in the future.”
With such a long and storied career, Whitfield acknowledged a long list of people who helped him reach such heights on his website at www.simonwhitfield.com.