LONDON - Simon Whitfield was still burning a day after watching Paula Findlay's tearful apology as she finished last in the Olympic women's triathlon.
The four-time Olympian criticized the team tasked with getting Findlay to the start line, saying his teammate's preparation for London was "completely mismanaged."
Findlay was a gold-medal favourite until just over a year ago when the Edmonton native suffered a hip injury. When she finished 52nd on Saturday, the 23-year-old's tears were over months of frustration and not just the race.
Whitfield is the elder statesman on Canada's triathlon team as a four-time Olympian and winner of gold in 2000 and silver in 2008.
The 37-year-old spoke with emotion prior to a swim session Sunday in London, but also from his considerable experience as an elite athlete. He races Tuesday and risks the wrath of Triathlon Canada, yet felt compelled to defend Findlay.
"I'm willing to stand up and say 'What happened was wrong,'" Whitfield said. "I do think the people who have jumped ship on her should be held accountable."
He chastised the management of Findlay's training program around her injury, the nature of which was a mystery until an MRI in late March finally revealed a torn labrum in her hip. At that point, Findlay's options were surgery or babying her hip until the Games.
Whitfield didn't criticize the tardy diagnosis. He felt Findlay's workouts were not appropriate to her situation.
"It's a training-design issue," he said. "An injury is an injury but you can recover from that if your training design is proper. You come back and do 30-minute runs, then 45-minute runs, then 50-minute runs.
"When you have a plan that just says 'Let's pretend we're not injured and the moment we're back, we're just back into training' and you do this not once, not twice, not three times, you do this eight times. You pile back into the car and you run it back into a brick wall.
"She's not a wind-up toy that you just send off."
Findlay won six world championship series races, including one on the Olympic course in Hyde Park, over the 2010 and 2011 seasons. She was ranked No. 1 in the world before her injury in June 2011.
Prior to Saturday's race, she hadn't competed in an international field since Sept. 9 in Beijing. Findlay didn't finish that race and subsequently pulled out of the Pan American Games.
Triathlon Canada named her to the Olympic team in November. The hope was she could deal with her injury and get back training instead of chasing qualification points in multiple races. But Findlay didn't regain her form in time for the Games.
Whitfield said Findlay's former coach Patrick Kelly, Own The Podium high-performance triathlon adviser Debbie Muir and sport scientist Dr. Dave Smith out of the Canadian Sport Centre Calgary must share in the responsibility.
"I want Doc Smith and Patrick and Debbie Muir to step up and say 'I endorsed that plan. She was injured for a year. She did what I told her to do and in the end, it failed,'" Whitfield declared. "Have the courage to say 'Yesterday's result is on me.'"
Dr. Smith is one of the country's leading sports physiologists. The blood work he performed on speedskater Cindy Klassen at the 2006 Winter Games, for example, was considered an integral part of Klassen's five-medal performance.
Smith didn't immediately respond to an e-mail from The Canadian Press.
Findlay began training with Whitfield and his coach Jon Brown just a few weeks ago, when she and Kelly dissolved their partnership.
Whitfield said Kelly was "inexperienced" and "in over his head." When contacted by The Canadian Press, Kelly referred questions to Triathlon Canada president and high-performance director Alan Trivett.
Muir was not made available for comment. OTP chief executive officer Anne Merklinger says Findlay's situation will be addressed at a later date.
"At this point, we want to really continue to really focus on the team's performance here," she said. "Given the dialogue that's unfolded over the last 24 hours, as OTP will do with every sport organization with whom we partner, we will have a full review and evaluation how the quadrennial went and how we can improve going forward."
While Trivett was concerned Whitfield's comments could be a distraction for Canada's other two male triathletes, Brent McMahon and Kyle Jones, he conceded mistakes were made in handling Findlay's situation.
"I want everyone to wear it, including me," he said. "Through this period of time, since June of 2011, we've struggled to get Paula into the top mode she was in the first part of 2011.
"Anywhere along the road, we could have made a different decision or done something differently. At the time, with the information that we had, we felt we were doing the right thing and that includes all of us from her coach to myself as the acting high performance director to Debbie Muir at Own The Podium to Dr. Dave Smith, who was our consultant on the physiology side through the University of Calgary.
"Do they have to stand up and take responsibility as I am today? Yes. We're all in this together and we made decisions as a team. Do I feel they abandoned her? No, I don't."
Trivett said Findlay was "a terrible patient" in that she wouldn't back off of training to heal and had setbacks.
"Rest and recovery and taking time off and managing injuries was not part of her vocabulary," he said.
Whitfield didn't buy that.
"They said 'She's difficult, she's really hard to work with,'" he said. "She's the same person they celebrated two years ago."
Where is Findlay in all this?
"I trust Simon 100 per cent and I'm fine with him saying that," she said. "I feel really lucky to have him in my corner.
"I think it's an OK thing to be public because people don't know exactly what I went through. They think it's just a hip injury."
Findlay also revealed that an unsuccessful appeal had been launched to replace her on the Olympic team by alternate Sarah-Anne Brault, who beat Findlay at last year's Canadian championship.
"There's been so many things that have gone wrong and obstacles," Findlay said. "To be on the start line, when I think about that, is a victory in itself."
Christine Sinclair carried the flag for Canada and the hosts staged another star-studded show to close off the London Games.
Canada's athletes celebrate at the Olympic Closing Ceremony. (Frank Gunn/CP)
Christine Sinclair carries the flag for Canada at the Olympic Closing Ceremony. (CP/Frank Gunn)
British band 'The Spice Girls' perform during the Closing Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Posh At The Games
Victoria Beckham performs as Posh Spice with British band The Spice Girls during the Closing Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Strut Their Stuff
British model Naomi Campbell, fourth right, walks with other models during the Closing Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Still Got It
Brian May, guitarist of the British rock band Queen, performs during the Closing Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Baby, You're A Firework
Fireworks explode over the Olympic Stadium at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
The Olympic flag is handed over to the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, the host of the 2016 Olympic Games. (AP)
Soak It All In
French athletes sit and watch as the Olympic Closing Ceremony come to a close. (AP)
An athlete holds up the British flag during the Closing Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
And after 16 days or winning, losing, scoring and missing, the London Games have come to an end. Canada's medal count remained at 18, while the U.S. would go on to to win a gold in men's basketball. Russia defeated Brazil in men's volleyball to take home a gold and the Italian men's water polo team fell to their Croatian counterparts to secure a silver medal.
Spain's Got Game
Spain's Sergio Llull reacts during the men's gold medal basketball game against USA at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.
Kiss The Podium
Members of the gold medallist team from Russia kiss the podium during the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.
Alekno's In The Air
Members of team Russia lift their coach, Vladimir Alekno, into the air after defeating Brazil in a men's gold medal volleyball match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.
Right Jab To the Face
Russia's Egor Mekhontcev, right, fights Kazakhstan's Adilbek Niyazymbetov in a light heavyweight 81-kg gold medal boxing match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. Mekhontcev won the gold and Niyazymbetov won the silver.
Gold-medalist Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, left, competes with Kenya's bronze-medalist Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, center, and silver-medalist Abel Kirui in the men's marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.
Pink And In Sync
The team from Russia performs during the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.
Cuba's Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana reacts after being declared the winner over Mongolia's Tugstsogt Nyambayar in their flyweight 52-kg gold medal boxing match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.
Italy's Emanuele Birarelli (15) reacts following the final point of a 3-1 win over Bulgaria in the men's bronze medal volleyball match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.
There's A Reason The Call Him King James
United States' LeBron James dunks during a men's gold medal basketball game against Spain at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.
The Smell Of Sweet, Sweet Victory
Croatia's Ivan Buljubasic sniffs his flowers after receiving his gold medal at the men's water polo gold medal ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. Croatia beat Italy 8-6 in the gold medal game.
Canada wins yet another bronze medal in men's K1 200m kayak event, and Mexico defeats Brazil for the gold medal in men's soccer. Canada had an another Olympic upset and lost the bronze medal in the 4x100 relay due to a disqualification. Jamaica set a world record.
Tearin' Up Our Hearts
Canada's Justyn Warner is comforted after the team was disqualified from third place in the men's 4x100-meter relay.
Jamaican Us Crazy
Jamaica's Usain Bolt reacts as he finishes ahead of United States' Ryan Bailey in the men's 4 x 100-meter relay.
Britain's Mo Farah kisses the track after winning gold in the men's 5000-meter final during the athletics.
Love On Top
Sharif Sharifov of Azerbaijan celebrates after he beat Jaime Yusept Espinal of Puerto Rico for the gold medal during the men's 84-kg freestyle wrestling competition.
Race Walk It Out
Russia's Elena Lashmanova celebrates winning the women's 50-kilometer race walk.
United States mb Foluke Akinradewo, left, and Destinee Hooker react during the women's gold medal volleyball match against Brazil.
Hwang Woojin, of South Korea, and his horse Shearwater Oscar, fall down after the horse bucked after the starting bell sounded to start their run in the equestrian show jumping stage of the men's modern pentathlon.
From left to right Spain's Elliot 6m crew Angela Pumariega, Sofia Toro Prieto, and Tamara Echegoyen celebrate after winning the gold medal at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in Weymouth and Portland, England. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Mexico's Hector Herrera (6) and Mexico's Oribe Peralta (9) celebrate winning the gold medal with teammates in the men's soccer final against Brazil.
Bronze medallist Belarus' Liubou Charkashyna cries after a performance during the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around final.
Gold Medal Ribbon
Russia's Daria Dmitrieva performs during the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around final.
Settles For Seventh
Canada's Catharine Pendrel (2) competes in the Mountain Bike Cycling women's race.
Australia's Got Talent
Australia's Jared Tallent competes in the men's 50-kilometer race walk.
Jake Herbert of the United State competes against Sharif Sharifov of Azerbaijan (in blue) during the men's 120-kg freestyle wrestling competition.
Amro El Geziry of Egypt, left, and Nicholas Woodbridge of Great Britain swim the 200-meter freestyle during the swimming portion of the men's modern pentathlon.
Fencing Is Modern
Britain's Samuel Weale looks up during the fencing section of the men's modern pentathlon.
Canada wins another bronze in men's open-water marathon and placed 4th in synchronized swimming. U.S. women's team set a world record in the 4 x 100 relay and Bahamas beat the men's team in the last stretch of the race.
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius competes in the men's 4x400-meter relay final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium.
Bahamas' Ramon Miller beats United States' Angelo Taylor across the line to win the men's 4 x 400-meter relay.
France's Renaud Lavillenie clears the bar in the men's pole vault final during the athletics.
Kenya's Hellen Onsando Obiri leaps over United States' Morgan Uceny during the women's 1500-meter final during the athletics.
United States' Morgan Uceny reacts after falling during the women's 1500-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa De Olza)
Throw It Up
South Korea's head coach Hong Myung-bo is hoisted up by his players after the team won their men's soccer bronze medal match.
They've Got The Beat
The team from Russia performs during the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around qualifications at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Bump, Set, Boom
Bulgaria's Viktor Yosifov (12) spikes home a point against Russia during a men's volleyball semifinal match at the 2012 Summer Olympics Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Brazil's Squel Stein is carried off the field in a stretcher during a BMX cycling women's semifinal run at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, in London. Stein fell off her bike after she landed on the grass following a big jump in the first half of the course. The 21-year-old Stein secured her best result in a major competition earlier this year when she reached the world championships final. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
The team from Russia competes during the synchronized swimming team free routine final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. Russia won the gold medal in the event. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Swimmers dive into the Serpentine to start the men's 10-kilometer marathon swimming competition in Hyde Park at the 2012 Summer Olympics Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)