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From The Archives: Inside Triathlon’s Profile Of Simon Whitfield

  • By Courtney Baird
  • Published Oct 23, 2013
Photo: John Segesta

The End

On retiring and Whitfield’s legacy to the sport

Whitfield: This is a selfish answer, but [parenting] is gonna give me the ability to move on. Without kids, I wouldn’t have been able to move on. … [Parenting] is going to make it much easier to move on. In fact, it will just be time. Instead of being like 45 and limping and being told it’s time to pack it in, I’ll be able to just pack it in. I could pack it in today because—I couldn’t afford to pack it in today, but—I could pack it in today, and I’d be happy. And I would have another challenge and another thing that would fulfill me.

Jones: He said he was going to retire after 2004 and move to his cabin on Salt Spring Island. He said he would retire after 2008, but until he actually does retire—I’ll believe it when I see it.

Sprigings: I remember when he said he was retiring after Beijing. I think this will be his last Olympics, but he’s not done with sport. You know he’ll be around the triathlon scene—I’m not really sure in what sense—but you’ll still hear from him. Once in a while he talks about doing some longer stuff, but I’m honestly not sure what will actually manifest. It’s hard to imagine him without it. He loves it. I have never met anyone who loves their job as much as Simon.

Alexander: If Simon had decided to go down the path of Ironman instead of the Olympics, I am sure he would be a multiple winner in Kona. I think he is just that talented, has a great work ethic and knows how to plan and prepare for any style of race. He is a very versatile athlete. I have seen him win big non-drafting races like Life Time Fitness. Like most great athletes, Simon can turn his hand to any style of racing. He is very balanced across all three disciplines of our sport. He is a front-pack swimmer in his sleep, a great time trialist on the bike and a superb runner.

It is not a surprise to me that he has a lot of respect for the race in Hawaii—that’s the way Simon is. He should have a crack at it, though. In my opinion, he has the talent to get himself on the podium the first time out there. I would love to help him prepare for it!

Filliol: For Simon to be at or near the top for so long—I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with an athlete like that. He’s unique.

Alexander: I think Simon’s legacy in triathlon will be as one of the greatest male triathletes in our sport’s history. His name will be mentioned alongside the likes of Mark Allen and Simon Lessing. He will always be remembered for being triathlon’s first male Olympic champion, but he has also won so much more. His legacy to us personally will be as a happy guy who loves to have fun, and as a good friend.

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