Canadian Olympian Kyle Jones
Written by: Sal Farruggia
Date: Sun Jul 22 2012
Slowtwitch: Congrats on your first win at Edmonton. That must have been exhilarating.
Kyle Jones: Thanks! I had a great time in Edmonton. Everyone was so supportive out there. It’s the only World Cup we have in Canada now so to be able to compete at home in my final race before the Olympics was really special.
ST: Going in did you sense a win was coming?
Kyle: I knew it wouldn’t be easy with guys like Tim Don, and Americans Jarrod Shoemaker and Manny Huerta in the field, but I had a great block of training leading into the race and was confident I could compete with anyone. I definitely felt like I was due for a win and the race meant a lot to me with the event doubling as our National Championships.
ST: Do you think the Sprint distance suits you better?
Kyle: At the moment I think I’m best suited for Olympic distance racing but I’ve worked a lot on speed in the last few months and feel confident that I can race well over the sprint distance. There’s certainly a lot less room for error in a sprint. You need to be right on it from the start of the swim. The pace never really lets up for the entire race. As a result, transitions also play a bigger role, losing only a couple seconds can make a big difference. All in all, it was a great prep for London. It seems as though the ITU plans to incorporate more and more sprints in the series so it’s something I look forward to doing more.
ST: The sport of triathlon in Canada is no longer just Simon. I feel that the nation is on their way to becoming a well-rounded force in triathlon.
Kyle: It’s definitely growing. I feel like we’ve always been very strong on the women’s side. There always seems to be girls coming up that go on to race quite well as seniors. For whatever reason, it doesn’t seem like that happens on the men’s side. We’re still lacking depth. Many of the European nations have their guys racing for teams in France and Germany which results in them getting exposed to a much higher level of racing compared to athletes in our country. We have a junior/U23 series in Canada but it’s just not the same. That being said, I think there is a lot of potential right now, just look at Alexander Hinton’s breakthrough in Edmonton. Hopefully we’ll see a shift in the trend. It would be great to start training and racing alongside some of our young guns more often.
Kyle: It might have appeared like it was a big push but it never really felt that way. My focus all along was on performance. My coach, Joel Filliol and I sat down in the fall and came up with a plan in order for me to have the best possible performance in London. That being said, since I wasn’t pre-qualified we had to keep a close eye on the qualification process. The Olympic rankings can change so much after just one race and at the end of the day you’re only as strong as your third ranked athlete. Some countries were fortunate to have 6-7 athletes regularly competing in World Cup and WTS races. We only had 3 men so if we were to qualify a full team each of us had to do our part.
ST: How nerve racking was that process? How much support did you get from Triathlon Canada?
Kyle: Triathlon Canada was very supportive throughout the whole qualification process. After no one achieved the criteria in 2011 they gave us each the opportunity to guarantee our selection with two top 8 performances in either Sydney, San Diego or Madrid. As each person was individually trying to achieve the criteria outright, we inevitably scored enough points to qualify a full team.
ST: Do you think the process made you sharper or wore you out some?
Kyle: It definitely made me sharper. I got stronger with each race and gained a lot of confidence as the season progressed. I feel like I’ve been building all year and I’m just starting to hit peak form. London has always been our focus so everything, from training to racing, has been planned accordingly and so far has worked out perfectly.
ST: In the end when did you know Canada had the 3 spots wrapped up?
Kyle: It wasn’t guaranteed until the final race in Madrid. It basically came down to Brent and Pereira from Portugal for the final country spot and as we all know Brent got the job done!
ST: How are you preparing for London?
Kyle: I’m currently in France. I have based myself at altitude in the Pyrenees. We have rented an apartment in a little town called Les Angles. I came here last year prior to the Olympic test event and fell in love with it. The training here is amazing and I love the way I am able to get the work done each day with minimal distractions. I have a great team here with me who are enabling me to prepare for London in the best way possible.
Kyle: I expect the Brownlees, the Russians, and one or two others to push the pace on the swim and try to create some separation heading out onto the bike. There’s potential for a small lead group to have a gap and maintain it over the course of the 40k bike. If this doesn’t occur and there’s a larger group of 25-30 guys I expect the pace to be high throughout the bike with at least a few breakaway attempts. Ultimately it will come down to the run. Everyone knows the Brownlees are going to go out hard and if anyone wants a shot at beating them then you’ll have to go with them.
ST: Based on the type of tactics that best suit you, how do you wish the race will play out?
Kyle: I’m comfortable with both scenarios outlined above. I feel like my swimming is at a level where I can put myself near the front of the race coming out of the water. But regardless of what materializes in the swim and bike, I am preparing for what will surely be a fast and furious run!
ST: I saw that your father had some involvement in the Olympics back in the 80s.
Kyle: Yes, my father coached at both the ‘84 and ‘88 Olympics in the sport of canoeing. I was fortunate to be exposed to the “high performance” environment at a young age and witness first hand what it took to be an Olympian. My dad always spoke very highly of Larry Cain’s work ethic and this is something that I have tried to emulate throughout my career.
ST: Lastly, I couldn’t help notice you’re a big Entourage fan. What else do you enjoy watching now that the series has concluded?
Kyle: I’m not gonna lie, I went through a bit of withdrawal after Entourage ended. Luckily my wife and I were quickly introduced to Suits by fellow Canadian triathletes Jon Bird and Holly Higgins. We’ve got Joel on board now too so it’s been a good source of entertainment here in Les Angles. We also enjoy watching Modern Family for a good laugh.
ST: Best of luck Kyle!
Kyle: Thanks guys, appreciate the opportunity to chat!
For more on Kyle; http://kylejones.ca/
Four-time Olympian, 2000 Olympic Triathlon gold medalist and 2008 Olympic Triathlon silver medalist Simon Whitfield was chosen to be Canada’s Olympic flag bearer in London opening ceremony. 7.12.12
Joel Filliol has been the Canadian Olympic coach and more recently served as the head coach for British Triathlon. He surprisingly left that position earlier this year and we chatted with him to see what he is up to these days. 12.19.11