October 23, 2013, VICTORIA (ISN) —After nearly two decades of travelling the world representing Canada, the nation’s most decorated triathlete, Simon Whitfield, announced Wednesday that he will leave competitive sport to head up the Fantan Group’s sports entertainment division in Victoria.
“Today marks the end of my career as a professional athlete; it’s been an incredible journey and an amazing chapter in my life. 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,” says 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.”
Whitfield shares, “it is time to shift gears. I have spent years with athletes of all ages – sharing – motivating – challenging. As part of the Fantan team, I have the ideal partnership to put much of what I’ve learned as a competitive athlete toward design and innovation in sports entertainment.”
Whitfield has been working closely with Tyl van Toorn, Fantan’s Co-founder and CEO, over the past year to develop a new sport with reach from the professional to the recreational community athlete. While details of this new venture are ‘under wraps,’ it was the catalyst for creating Fantan’s ‘sports entertainment division’. He further disclosed that there is “a pipeline of products under development.”
“Over the last decade Fantan has been solving problems and realizing ideas in the entertainment and media sectors,” says van Toorn. “We have also been involved in producing sports properties with a focus on making them more spectator friendly. Simon and I have evolved some powerful concepts geared toward changing how sports are delivered across new and traditional media platforms. We were enjoying the work so it was simply a matter of formalizing the collaboration.”
An announcement about Whitfield’s new international multi-sport project in development with Rogers Media and the Fantan Group will be made in the coming months. “This was a joint venture between Simon and Rogers, and we were excited to be brought on board to manage it,” says van Toorn.
“The partnership with Rogers and Fantan provides the platform to fulfill my vision for new and exciting sports entertainment opportunities, ” underscores Whitfield.
“It’s been a pleasure watching Simon translate his capacity as an athlete into a business environment,” says Scott Moore head of Broadcast at Rogers Media. “We partnered with Simon and Fantan to develop a new sports-broadcast property because we believe that Simon has what it takes to redefine sports. He inspires everyone involved, and I’m excited that Simon has formalized his future career path.”
Simon Whitfield is a world-class athlete and leader. His international achievements include being the first triathlete to win Olympic Gold during the sports inaugural year in 2000, Olympic silver in 2008, gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, 12 Canadian championships and 14 world cup victories. As an entrepreneur, his portfolio of business ventures ranges from mobile bike mechanic Velofix, to Champion Systems quality custom clothing, to online training system Triton Triathlon. He is also part of the team at the Endurance Games, CIBC’s Team Next and Gold Medal Plates. And keeping true to his commitment to youth and sport, he does national charity work with KidSport, Power2Be and Goodlife Fitness Kids Foundation.
Fantan has a global track record for transforming challenges and ideas into strategies, projects and ventures in entertainment, sports, media and technology. Fantan’s clients range from NGOs and government to start-ups and fortune 500s. Over the years, Fantan has been chosen to design, create, and implement hundreds of events in a variety of venues around the world. Key past and current clients in sports entertainment include ESPN X Games, Rogers Media, Whistler Blackcomb, IMG, Redbull and FIS. After years of producing hundreds of B2B and B2C events around the world, Fantan Group founded a global series of think-tank gatherings in 2006 under the name of transmitNOW.