Pro triathlete Simon Whitfield has called an end to his career and the enigmatic Canadian will surely be missed by competitors and fans alike. Initially it was rumored that we would see Whitfield compete with fellow ITU legends Bevan Docherty and Courtney Atkinson on the non-drafting long course, but that never really came to happen.
Whitfield had won gold in Sydney at the inaugural triathlon event and became a household name right away. He finished 11th in 2004 in Athens, but came back in 2008 to take Silver in Beijing. He carried the flag for the Canadian Team at the 2012 Games in London but a crash in the race ended his day early.
Of course there were many other highlights that were not related to the Olympic Games and among them was the exciting sprint finish at the 2009 ITU Hy-Vee Des Moines Elite Cup where Whitfield outsprinted Brad Kahlefeldt, Jan Frodeno and Kris Gemmell for the win and the unique high $200,000 pay check.
As we had mentioned it seemed that post London that Whitfield would race 70.3 events and possibly some full distance races, but health and personal issues threw a monkey wrench into those plans and now Simon Whitfield has decided to give the business world a try. He announced the new step on his site today and athletes from around the world quickly reached out to him to wish him the best and remind him of the times they had together.
We asked Whitfield what he would miss the most now that he is no longer competing at that level and he said, "The people - I loved seeing the boys, Bevan and Gemmell, Rana, Javier, Jonathan. Competing head to head, racing at the highest level. I'll never be that fit again, that physically prepared, and I'll miss that."
But of course there is also the other side of the coin and we asked him also what he was most excited about with this new path.
"I've enjoyed not worrying about getting sore when I play at the park with my little girls, not being tired when I'm with them and worried about recovery, recovery nutrition, massage, foam rolling, high elbows, 6 beat kicks, pull buoys, Di2, zero drop, gels, power files, visors, compression and Alistair Brownlee (he's too fast)," said Whitfield to slowtwitch.
Most competitors and fans know this smile from a long distance.
Here though is that famous finish in Des Moines in 2009. That lean meant $200,000 for Whitfield and only $50,000 for Kahlefeldt, and $25,000 for Frodeno. Interestingly enough though $25,000 is the total prize purse for many long course races.
Simon Whitfield coming into T2 in Yokohama.
In Beijing it looked a few times like Whitfield would get dumped, but the fierce Canadian hung tough and grabbed the Silver medal.
It was oh so sweet to be on the podium again, 8 years after winning Gold in Sydney.
There is always time for a joke or a silly stunt.
This editor had always told him that most managers are not worth it, and in 2008 Whitfield decided that was indeed the way to go. That call though made this editor a bouncer of sorts.
At the 2013 Interbike show we ran into Simon Whitfield working with Canadian heads-up display brand 4iii.