April 10, 2013, (ISN) – The 2012 London Summer Olympic Games may be a distant memory for some, but the sport of triathlon in Canada is seeing yet another boom.
Strong evidence of this is the Subaru Western Triathlon Series, which is currently seeing registration up 70% for this year’s events with approximately 60% of the participants new to the races. Much of this is attributed to the Olympic cycle that sees some sports thrive and grow after each Olympic Games. Triathlon is still a youngster on the world stage, with its first Olympic showing in Sydney in 2000. Despite Canada’s poor showing in London, the sport of Triathlon received a lot of attention with Canada’s Simon Whitfield as the flag bearer at the Opening Ceremonies and a great deal of pre-race hype around the triathlon event. “Triathlon turned out to be one of the premier events in London. I couldn’t believe that there were half a million people in Hyde Park watching us race. It was incredible!” said two-time Olympian Brent McMahon.
The Subaru Western Triathlon Series, born in the Canadian triathlon mecca of Victoria, has grown rapidly to include Canada’s three western provinces in just six years. “We see a four year cycle; a rapid rise in participation in the sport that coincides with the Summer Olympics. The Games are incredibly powerful drivers for sport.” said Series Director and former Olympic Team Leader Paul Regensburg. The Subaru Western Triathlon Series has worked hard to maintain a grass-roots approach to events, welcoming anyone who wishes to give the sport a try. First time triathletes ranging in age from 12 to over 70 get the unique opportunity to compete in a sport where they can share the field with the sport’s elite.
Embracing this strong spike in interest, the Subaru Western Triathlon Series has added features to attract new participants in many different ways. For the first time in Canada there is going to be a participation-based High School Championships. Students from all over Canada are swimming, biking and running their way to Shawnigan Lake, BC in May to compete against their peers and build a new generation of triathletes. The event will feature scholarships and opportunities to represent their schools at international competitions.
The event in Vancouver has been awarded the Long Distance National Championships where Elite and Amateur athletes alike will qualify to wear the red and white at the 2014 World Long Distance Championships in China. Amateur athletes in 5 year age categories, from 20-80 years old, will qualify to represent Canada – many of whom never thought they could ever qualify for a national team.
Also for the first time, Saskatchewan will have a major triathlon event; the Series has added a new race in Saskatoon. The race will start at a rural lake but finish in the downtown river valley bringing a high profile to the sport. The entire province has embraced the event, with the race nearly sold-out nearly three months out from race day.