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Simon Whitfield's withdrawal from triathlon topped Canadian Olympians' tweets

08/07/2012 03:50 EDT | Updated 10/07/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - Heartbreak set the tone among Canada's athletes on Twitter after the bike crash that ended Simon Whitfield's run at a third Olympic medal.

Paula Findlay, the teammate Whitfield so strongly defended on Twitter after her disappointing finish at the women's triathlon, was one of the first to react to Whitfield's own failure.

"Devastated for Simon. Witnessed first hand his incredible work ethic and commitment. He was so ready for this race. #hero," tweeted Findlay.

Preparing for his own performance on Tuesday's final at the three-metre springboard, diver Alex Despatie sympathized with Whitfield after the crash.

"Keep your head up my good friend! You are amazing! :-)) #suchgreatathlete #suchgreatguy," posted Despatie.

Canadian marathoner Reid Coolsaet, who trained with Whitfield in Hamilton in the lead-up to the London Games, also lamented the triathlete's last Olympic moment.

"The reason why it sucks so much that @simonwhitfield crashed out is because he's in great shape and was ready for a big one," tweeted Coolsaet.

After the dust had settled, Whitfield himself took to Twitter to wave goodbye to his fourth Olympics.

"Not how I envisioned this chapter ending. It's been a remarkable Olympic journey, more then I could have ever imagined," tweeted Whitfield.

There were also words of inspiration coming Whitfield's way. Canadian rower Adam van Koeverden, who is in the final of the K-1 1,000-metre men's kayak single event posted a series of tweets lauding Whitfield for having instigated his own quest for Olympic glory.

"@vankayak @simonwhitfield continues to be one of my most inspiring friends and mentors. Win or lose, he's the best. Thank You Simon," tweeted van Koeverden.

Olympic swimmer Julia Wilkinson also made a point of showing her admiration for Whitfield's inspirational career.

"When I was in middle school and ran cross country, I would always pretend I was @simonwhitfield at the end. He's a hero to so many," tweeted Wilkinson.

Whitfield's plight resonated not only on Twitter, but also with the crowd watching the Olympic triathlon's cycling portion at London's Hyde Park. Three-time Olympic champion, rower Marnie McBean noted the reaction of the crowd to Whitfield's withdrawal after his crash.

"When it was announced that @simonwhitfield had withdrawn the whole crowd sighed for him. He is so well respected," posted McBean.

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