From bursting onto the world stage in the shadow of the Opera House that golden morning in 2000 at Sydney to carrying the flag into the opening ceremony at London this year, triathlete Simon Whitfield of Victoria recorded one of Canada's most heralded Summer Olympic careers.
It has now likely concluded with Triathlon Canada announcing today that the 37-year-old father of two does not plan on racing the Olympic distance triathlon in 2013.
Whitfield, however, has indicated he will race other, longer distances.
Whitfield's four Olympics included winning the gold medal at Sydney 2000, the silver medal at Beijing 2008 and being named opening-ceremony flagbearer at London 2012. He also won the gold medal at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, 14 World Cup races, 21 World Cup medals and 10 Canadian titles.
Simon is taking a break from our national program after having played a significant role in not only putting us on the international radar screen, but ensuring our sports credibility within the Canadian sport system over the last decade, said Alan Trivett, executive director of Triathlon Canada, in a statement.
Simon has done some heavy lifting for our sport encouraging the next generation of Olympic medallists to believe they too can win, while sparking tremendous growth of triathlon for all ages across the country.
We thank him. We . . . extend our full support towards Simon exploring new opportunities. Triathlon Canada will look forward to finding ways to keep Simon involved in our program with the goal of developing more medal winning athletes for Canada.
Whitfield, who was strong out of the water before crashing his bike in the 2012 London Olympics after losing balance over a road riser covering TV cables, had another crash this week while mountain biking on the Island and apparently hurt his hand.
But it wasn't serious, he indicated.
All good. Very minor injury. Nothing more than annoying, he said.
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