The names have finally been announced. Canada will send three women and two men to the Olympic Games triathlon in Rio in August – all are Olympic rookies. Kirsten Sweetland, Sarah-Anne Brault and Amelie Kretz will compete in the women’s race, while Tyler Mislawchuk and Andrew Yorke will represent Canada in the men’s race.
Needless to say the five first-time Olympians are excited to be Rio bound – here are some quotes from each of them along with the stats that earned them their chance to compete in Rio.
“It’s hard to believe the Olympics are going to be a reality this year after dreaming about being an Olympian for so many years, and then working specifically towards that goal for the past few years. It’s a bit of a relief, but at the same time I want my best race of the year to be in Rio so I know there’s still work to be done, but I am very excited about the work and the race.
It’s quite special to be on the team with four other first-time Olympians, some of whom are friends I train with everyday. I think that goes to show the future is quite bright for Triathlon Canada. I really enjoyed the course in Rio, with the steep hill on the bike and the ocean swim and I’m very excited and honoured to be going back to represent Canada.”
From: Levis, Quebec
Coach: Jamie Turner
ITU debut: 2006
WTS ranking: 28
Career highlights: 4th at WTS Auckland (2014), 9th at WTS Auckland (2015)
“It’s pretty crazy to think that I’m going to represent Canada at the Olympics this year. I don’t think it will completely sink in until I’m actually there. I’ve been dreaming of the Olympics since I started in triathlon at eight years old and to officially be going now is unreal. Not a lot of people get to represent their country at the biggest sporting event in the world so I’m really honoured to get the chance to represent Canada at the Olympic games. Obviously it took a lot of hard work to get here, it wasn’t easy with a lot of bumps on the road but it was all worth it. I’m super excited and can’t wait to be there.
It is absolutely surreal and a tremendous honour to be named on the team with four other athletes going to their first Games. We are all quite close so it will be great to share this with them. Tyler, Sarah-Anne and I rented out a house together this fall and I brought an Olympic flag that I hung in the kitchen so we had breakfast under the flag dreaming about Rio together.”
“This means everything to me. It’s so much sweeter after the struggle I have had over the last 10 years to get here. After a breakout season in 2014, and then facing an unimaginable amount of health issues, I never lost sight of my dream. To say it’s been tough would be an understatement, but I have never been happier. I am so proud of everyone on our team. Triathlon Canada is host to an amazing group of talented young athletes so to see our group perform when it counts is a really good sign for well beyond Rio.”
From: Nanaimo, BC
Coach: Jon Brown
ITU debut: 1996
WTS ranking: 75
Career highlights: Junior world champion (Lausanne, 2006), 2nd at Commonwealth Games (Glasgow, 2012), 3rd at WTS Hamburg (2014).
From: Winnipeg, Man.
Coach: Jamie Turner
ITU debut: 2011
WTS ranking: 8
Career highlights: 10th at Pan Am Games (Toronto, 2015), 10th at WTS Abu Dhabi (2016), 10th at WTS Yokohama (2016)
“I’m really excited to represent Canada at the Olympic games. It’s massive for my family and friends who have supported me to get to this point. I can’t wait to go to Rio and wear the red and white.
This is a culmination of a lifetime of work. I am extremely proud to have the opportunity to wear the maple leaf at the Games. I’ve wanted this my whole life and it’s a dream come true. Our team is a group of highly motivated individuals who represent our hometowns, provinces and country with pride. We will back each other to be the best we can be in Rio.”
From: Caledon, Ontario
Coach: Craig Taylor
ITU debut: 2006
WTS ranking: 55
Career highlights: 7th at Pan Am Games (Toronto, 2015), 4th at Commonwealth Games (Glasgow, 2014), 8th at WTS Edmonton (2015)
“Canada has a very strong reputation in producing talented triathletes and the nominees today are a reflection of that. I have no doubt that their focus and dedication to represent our country will give us a lot to cheer for. Congratulations to Triathlon Canada and everyone involved in making today happen.”
— Curt Harnett, Rio 2016 Team Canada Chef de Mission
“We have nominated a group of fiercely dedicated athletes who have been focused on making steady progress while developing into elite level athletes. While still young in many respects, each of them have achieved great successes throughout their continued development, and have demonstrated the potential to get Canada back on the podium at elite international triathlon races in the near future. As a team, we are going to continue to take positive strides together, with the common goal of reestablishing Canada as an international power in the sport of Triathlon”
— Jono Hall, High-Performance Director, Triathlon Canada
“We are so proud to support Triathlon Canada’s efforts to help our country’s top triathletes prepare to compete at the highest level at the Rio 2016 Games. On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to congratulate the triathletes named to Team Canada today and wish them well in the final steps on the road to Rio.”
— The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities