It’s not a stretch to say that he’s the most famous triathlete Canada has ever produced – his dramatic win at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia brought the nation to its feet and inspired a generation to take up the sport.
Today, in recognition of his four Olympic appearances that included gold (2000) and silver (2008) medals, Simon Whitfield was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame.
Whitfield’s legacy has inspired many of our current Olympic competitors, including Tyler Mislawchuk, who won the Tokyo Test Event earlier this year.
“A four-time Olympian, an Olympic champion and an Opening Ceremony flag bearer are the results of being able to perform at the highest level on the day that it counts,” Mislawchuk said. “I believe what Simon Whitfield did for Canadians through the sport of triathlon is incredible. His relentless pursuit of excellence was inspirational to Canadians in all walks of life. He exemplified that hard work and dedication make it possible to turn a dream into a reality, whatever those aspirations might be. Simon didn’t just talk about the relentless pursuit; he lived it, evidenced by his ability to remain at the top of his sport over two decades. I am extremely honoured to call Simon an incredible athlete, mentor and friend.”
“I’m proud to be called to the Olympic Hall of Fame,” Whitfield said. “It has been quite remarkable and touching to hear from old friends and coaches, athletes and Canadians who contributed and found inspiration from my Olympic journey.”
During his acceptance speech, Whitfield called upon Canadian politicians to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline.
“Sport teaches you to live into your values, and it teaches you that sport unites,” he said. “I’m going to take this opportunity to say something that’s in my values …”
“We have an opportunity, as Canadians … to make positive and sustainable contributions through our collective ingenuity, to bringing low cost competitive fossil and biogenic carbon energy commodities to the global village, thereby serving to elevate the economies of developing nations, alleviating human suffering across the globe.”
“The expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline enables those in our energy industries to effectively utilize Canada’s natural resource endowments in an economically and ecologically sustainable manner towards the transition to a low carbon global economy …”
“Please work together on behalf of Canadians,” he asked politicians, “towards ensuring effective and affordable use of our natural resource endowments. Let this effort be guided and governed by local communities and indigenous peoples with oversight from senior levels of government. To indigenous peoples across this country, I’m grateful to call this land home.”
“To my fellow inductees, thank you for this opportunity,” he said. “It was an honour and a privilege to represent this country with you.”
Watch Whitfield’s acceptance speech here.
Whitfield also posted his words on his twitter page:
Dearest Canadians, old ties and companions.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, Yves-François Blanchet, Jagmeet Singh, Elizabeth May, Jody Wilson-Raybould: I am grateful for your representation.
Simon St.Quentin Whitfield pic.twitter.com/scEvbB8TbF
— Simon Whitfield (@simonwhitfield) October 23, 2019