As a young boy, Simon Whitfield loved playing team sport. In particular, soccer and ice hockey, and through these pursuits, he was able to develop important skills that would go on to serve him well in the future. However, it was the sport of running that really captured his interest, inspiring him to think about what was possible in his life.
He has nothing but fond memories when he reflects on his first time being introduced to triathlon, getting his start in the Sharbot Lake kid’s triathlon which was an informal, family friendly community-based event.
He fell in love with triathlon and in order to become the very best he could be, he said his good byes to his family and friends and left his home in Kingston, Ontario, to travel alone, as a 16-year old, more than halfway across the world, to Sydney, Australia to complete high school and to train amongst its top-ranked triathletes.
This decision would ultimately pay off for Simon and help spur him on to Olympic greatness. You’ll hear how in our discussion today. In this episode, Simon shares the role that visualization played in the process of winning his gold medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, as well how it always helped him to create and play out different scenarios in his head in order to always be ready for anything that happened in competition.
Simon is a deep thinker, and in our discussion, he shares what he feels he has learned about himself, not only through success, but also through hardship and adversity. It’s these life lessons that continue to propel him on in his own journey, inspiring him to find meaning and purpose in his life that extend far beyond his identify as a world class athlete and Olympian to something that means so much more to him; the ability to always remain open and curious about the world and to always connect with nature, be out on the ocean as a certified paddle board instructor and to give back to his sport and to the younger generation of athletes striving to follow in his footsteps.
Simon Whitfield, triathlete (born 16 May 1975 in Kingston, ON). Simon Whitfield is a four-time Olympian and Canada's first-ever Olympic gold medalist in triathlon. Whitfield won gold at the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Sydney, the first year that the triathlon was an Olympic event. Although he did not medal at the 2004 Games in Athens, he sprinted to a silver medal at the 2008 Games in Beijing. Whitfield was the Canadian flag-bearer at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London but crashed during the bicycle portion of the triathlon and was forced to pull out of the event. Whitfield has also amassed a total of 12 World Cup wins in addition to his gold and silver Olympic medals. He retired from competition in 2013 and was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
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Special Recognition to:
Special credit to CBC Sports for their video of Simon's Olympic Victory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg2SKW69AY0
As well special credit to Hawksley Workman for their 'Beauty as Anger' song used in this episode: https://hawksleyworkman.com/
Special credit as well to the Tragically Hip and Jordi Savall for their music