Victoria resident Simon Whitfield accomplished his ultimate goal by winning the first Olympic Gold medal awarded in the sport of triathlon at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

Long before Olympic glory, Whitfield wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted as an adolescent. He enjoyed all sports, and his parents encouraged him to try anything once, knowing he would eventually find his passion. As with most teenagers, his schoolwork could have used some of the enthusiasm he applied to sport. In response, his parents made the difficult decision to send Simon to Australia to attend his father’s old school in hopes of sharpening his focus. As he started to realize just what he could do with his abilities. It was then that Whitfield became aware of his talent and expectations.

Whitfield found triathlon. Training in Australia during the winter and back home in Canada for the summer, he was committed year-round. Steadily improving over the years, Whitfield’s results began to show his dedication and focus. Prior to the 2000 Olympic Games, he was the number one ranked North American due to his placements in various national and international events including gold at the 1998 and 1999 Canadian triathlon championships and bronze at the 1999 Pan American Games.

Whitfield’s dramatic gold medal victory at the 2000 Olympic Games catapulted him to hero status and provided his sport with national attention. He was awarded the highest honour by being chosen by his Canadian Olympic teammates to carry the Canadian flag at the Games’ closing ceremonies.

Afterwards Whitfield simply focused on getting back to his life of setting goals, training, and enjoying it. According to Whitfield the key to success is: ”You’ve got to want it. At the Olympics I wanted it for me, and for all of Canada.”

Whitfield only added to his amazing career resume in the years after his Olympic gold medal. He won ten consecutive Canadian triathlon championships. At the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England he claimed gold again. He ended up in a disappointing eleventh place at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. He rebounded four years later at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing by winning a dramatic silver medal with a thrilling late-race sprint.

At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Whitfield was selected to carry the Canadian flag into Wembley Stadium during the Opening Ceremonies. His crash in the triathlon devastated Canadians who hoped for one last triumph for the veteran triathlete, but his positive outlook and humility in defeat served as an inspiration to all.