TORONTO – Victoria native and Olympic Triathlete Simon Whitfield has been selected to carry Canada’s flag into the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London.
“I am so proud of Simon, and he is so deserving of this honour,” said Stephen Holmes, president, Triathlon Canada. “From a young man who came out of nowhere to win the first Olympic gold medal in triathlon in 2000 and battling his way back onto the podium eight years later in Beijing, to now a veteran athlete presented with the flag and responsibility of leading the entire Canadian Team into the Olympic Stadium is tremendous. I applaud the Canadian Olympic Committee for selecting a truly great Canadian.”
One of Canada’s most accomplished Olympians, Victoria’s Simon Whitfield not only helped launch triathlon on the world stage at the sport’s Olympic debut in Sydney, he transcended the country and sparked an international growth in triathlon unmatched by any other Olympic sport with his electrifying gold medal victory at the 2000 Games.
Making his fourth trip to the Olympic Summer Games, the 37-year-old Whitfield has won nearly everything on the table in the sport of triathlon,including 14 World Cup victories and 21 trips to the podium in addition to seven top-10 finishes at the World Championships, 10 Canadian titles, a gold medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and a bronze-medal finish at the 1999 Pan American Games.
“Simon Whitfield has become an iconic figure in our sport, encouraging young kids, and adults alike, to dream big and live healthier and more active lifestyles by diving into a pool, hopping on a bike or going for a run,” said Holmes.
Whitfield’s global influence on the sport of triathlon was felt again in 2008 with his thrilling Olympic silver-medal run in Beijing.
“The positive effects of Simon’s two Olympic medals on our sport have been endless in every corner of this country,” added Holmes. “Over the last four years, thousands of children as young as four years old have enrolled in Triathlon Canada’s Kids of Steel programs. Hundreds of high-performance athletes are now leveraging their athletic backgrounds to focus on triathlon, and thousands of Canadian adults are testing their mental and physical fitness each week by toeing the line in our age group races of all distances.
“Simon Whitfield is triathlon in Canada,” added Holmes. “But more importantly, Simon is an incredible father, husband, friend, teammate, and true Olympic role model both on and off the playing field. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to the man who is the reason our sport is where it is todaythan to have him lead Canada’s Olympic Team into the Opening Ceremonies.”
Canadians will have an opportunity to watch the newly named flag bearer race at home one more time before heading to London. Whitfield will hit thestart line for a sprint race at the Toronto Triathlon Festival on July 22, 2012.
Triathlon Canada is the governing body for triathlon in the country. Recognized as anOlympic medal sport since 2000, Triathlon Canada’s mandate is to promote, foster, organize and develop the sport of triathlon, and its related disciplines, in Canada. For more information on Triathlon Canada, please visit us at www.triathloncanada.com on the Internet.