Whitfield To Canadian Rivals: ‘Snatch The Pebble’

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  • Published Dec 27, 2011
  • Updated Jan 5, 2012 at 2:19 PM UTC

Whitfield has been pre-selected to the Olympic team, but he’s quick to point out that gives him no guarantee.


Kyle Jones is pretty sure Simon Whitfield told him the 2004 Athens Games would be his last Olympics.

He’s positive that heading into Beijing 2008, Whitfield said it would be his swan song.

Now, as Whitfield readies himself for the 2012 London Games, all bets are off as far as Jones is concerned regarding the 36-year-old triathlon legend’s longevity.

“Who knows?” mused Jones recently. “This might not even be the last we see of him. You never know with him. I wouldn’t count him out.”

As one veteran triathlon observer described it, Whitfield would like to pass on the mantle he’s held since his stunning victory at the 2000 Sydney Olympics — and both Jones and Brent McMahon are in position to take it — but there’s no way this relentless warrior is giving it up without a huge fight.”

RELATED: Simon Whitfield Talks Olympics

Remember the old Kung Fu TV series with David Carradine and the scene where the old master asks him to snatch the pebble from his hand to prove his readiness? Well, Whitfield has until recently kept an iron-fisted grip on that pebble.

The triathlon trio of Whitfield, McMahon and Jones all live in Victoria, but train apart since Jones broke away from Whitfield recently to return to their old coach Joel Filliol. They’re friends, but to a large degree separate islands as the Canadian team tries to earn three quota spots for the London Games.

Whitfield has been pre-selected to the Olympic team, but he’s quick to point out that gives him no guarantee as things will be reconsidered if McMahon and Jones pass him in the triathlon rankings this season. He plans to focus solely on preparation for the London Games and forgo most of the lead-up races, so the whole situation leaves him a bit uneasy.

“I’m focused on August,” he said. “I’m not going to compromise on that.”

Whitfield believes Triathlon Canada could have been more proactive in figuring out the best way to earn three quota spots. Canada has to be among the top eight nations in the International Triathlon Union rankings on June 1 to do that.

“I’m a little disappointed we never sat down and tried to really make a plan,” he said. “It was kind of established pretty quickly that it was every man for himself. I really don’t mean a plan in terms of racing together, I just mean a plan in terms of getting three spots and getting three guys on the start line.”

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