Canadian Olympic gold medallist Simon Whitfield is leaving competitive triathlon, calling the past 16 years “an incredible journey and an amazing chapter in my life.”

The 38-year-old Victoria resident did not return to the national team in 2013, having stepped away from racing Olympic distances last November.

“I grew up dreaming of representing Canada at the Olympic Games, though I never imagined I would have the honour of wearing the Maple Leaf four times, winning two Olympic medals, and bearing the flag,” Whitfield said in a statement posted on his official website.

One of the most successful athletes in triathlon history, Whitfield leaves competitive athletics to head up the Fantan Group’s sports entertainment division in Victoria.

For the past year, he has worked closely with Fantan co-founder and CEO Tyl van Toorn to develop a spectator-friendly multi-sport broadcast property.

“Simon and I have been working together to evolve some powerful concepts geared toward changing how sports are delivered across new and traditional media platforms,” said van Toorn.

Whitfield, who is actively involved in entrepreneurial and consulting ventures with several companies, won gold in men’s triathlon at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games and added an Olympic silver medal in Beijing in 2008. He also won gold at the 2009 Commonwealth Games.

Whitfield crashed out of the triathlon at the 2012 London Olympics, where he carried the Canadian flag during the opening ceremony, and needed stitches to his left foot after tumbling off his bike into a curb and metal guardrail.

Whitfield, who last won in 2009 at a World Cup event in Des Moines, Iowa, recorded 14 World Cup victories and eight top-10 finishes at the world championships.

“I am moving onto the next adventure with wonderful memories, friendships and experiences that I will hold close forever,” he said, “but I am also looking forward to this new challenge — the opportunity to put much of what I’ve learned as an athlete toward design and innovation in sports entertainment.”

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