Just when you think you're tough enough


Rookies lead the way for Canadian Triathlon at Rio Olympics 2016

Five first-time Olympians — three women and two men — will represent Canada in Rio as a protracted selection process came to an end.

The announcement was expected earlier this month, but no Canadian had met the individual standards set by Triathlon Canada. Selections were revised and Kirsten Sweetland, Amélie Kretz, and Sarah-Anne Brault are the three women competing for Canada, while Tyler Mislawchuk and Andrew Yorke represent the men.

Kirsten Sweetland brings a sweet edge to the triathlon after recovering from injuries. (Canadian Press)
Kirsten Sweetland brings a sweet edge to the triathlon after recovering from injuries. (Canadian Press)

Fresh blood brings experience to the race

Kirsten Sweetland, 27, was a world junior champion in 2006 and won silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. However, she has been through her share of injury nightmares. She has raced internationally only three times in 2015, but returned to the World Triathlon Series in May of this year.

“This means everything to me. It’s so much sweeter after the struggle I have had over the last 10 years to get her. 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,” said Sweetland.

The youngest woman is 23-year-old Amélie Kretz, from Que. Her eighth-place finish at a World Triathlon Series event in Yokohama in May was a career best. It was also the final Olympic qualifying event on Triathlon Canada’s revised criteria.

Sarah-Anne Brault, 26, is from Quebec City but lived and trained in Manitoba between the ages of eight and 18. She has five top-15 finishes on the World Triathlon Series.

Tyler Mislawchuk, 21, from Oak Bluff, Man., has two 10th-place finishes — Abu Dhabi then Yokohama — this season. He was also 10th at last summer’s Pan Am Games.

Andrew Yorke, 27, a native of Caledon East, Ont. was seventh at the 2015 Pan American Games, the top Canadian finish.

“It is exhilarating for the five of us to experience such an epic event like the Olympics for the first time together. Fortunately we all have multi-sport games experience on the world stage,” said Mislawchuk.

The men’s Olympic triathlon event is up first on Aug. 18, followed by the women’s event two days later.