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Triathlon Canada hires Libby Burrell as High-Performance Director

To develop a program from grassroots to elite level.

Weeks removed from the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, Triathlon Canada has made a critical move towards securing its return to the international podium with the hiring of Libby Burrell as its new high-performance director.

With rich experience deeply rooted in the sport – from coaching to sport science – Burrell joins Triathlon Canada in a role she is very familiar with; the South African successfully filled the same role for Triathlon South Africa and United States Triathlon before joining the International Triathlon Union as director, sport development in 2006.

“Libby is an extraordinary talent whose athletic background, coaching acumen and leadership skills will be core to Triathlon Canada’s refocused drive to the podium,” said Alan Trivett, executive director, Triathlon Canada, who added Burrell’s experience as a team leader at major multi-sport Games, an educator in sport science and knowledge of working with international media will prove invaluable.

The South African triathlon coach at the sport’s Olympic debut in 2000, Burrell’s impact as a high-performance director in triathlon is most recognized in North America by her work with United States Triathlon (2001-2006) where she revolutionized international racing for the Americans. Burrell created and implemented a detailed high-performance plan that encompassed growth at the grassroots level, strengthened coaching across the program, and produced record international elite race results. Under Burrell’s leadership, the Americans celebrated its first-ever Olympic medal in the sport in 2004, had more women ranked in the top-30 than any other time in the history of the program, while the men’s team catapulted into the top-three of the world team rankings. Burrell’s vision and leadership help develop the first ever Under-23 and Junior World Champion for the United States.

“Libby is a detailed strategic planner that has an impressive track record in positioning high-performance triathletes for success,” said Trivett. “I have no doubt she will continue to concentrate her leadership on ensuring Canada’s triathletes remain focused on excellence.”

An athlete for most of her life who competed in a wide range of sports, Burell excelled in swimming and running. She began racing triathlons as an age group athlete in 1993, and went on to represent South Africa three times at the World Triathlon Championships (1993-1995). Burrell also competed in the European and Hawaii Ironman events.

“Triathlon Canada has established itself as a leader in the sport, and has consistently produced champions at all levels of international racing,” said Burrell. “I’m honoured to have the opportunity to work with this exceptional group of athletes and coaches. We will develop a team approach with a goal of taking the sport to an even higher level in Canada. Many of the pieces to the puzzle are already in place that now need to be carefully coordinated in order to ensure consistent top level performances. This presents a great challenge and one I’m excited to take on.”

Burrell will develop an athlete centred, coach driven high-performance program from the grassroots to elite level that is sustainable and committed to re-establishing Canada as a world-leader in the sport in Rio 2016 and beyond.