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Simon Whitfield

Director of Sports at Fantan Group, Olympic Medallist

Simon Whitfield has relentlessly pursued excellence for as long as he or anyone around him can remember. At 11 he tried his first triathlon when a family friend organized a race near his hometown of Kingston, Ont. He entered, looking very much the future professional “in boxer shorts with cows on ‘em, and a Mickey Mouse hat,” to meet the challenge of a friend. He lost that challenge, but he found triathlon and set to work honing his skills in the local Canadian Kids of Steel program.

“My goal was always to be the best in the world at something,” says Whitfield, who at 17 followed that goal to Australia, a triathlon mecca and year-round training ground. There he met Greg Bennett, a future world top-ranked triathlete who became both a de facto big brother to Whitfield and a willing source of training knowledge and inspiration. In 1997, ready to take his racing to the next level, he returned to Canada and co-founded the National Triathlon Training Centre with Barrie Shepley and Vega Founder, Brendan Brazier in Victoria B.C.

Only three years later Whitfield surprised the world with a come-from-behind victory in triathlon’s inaugural Olympics at the Sydney Summer Games. At 25, standing on the top step of the podium while the Canadian National Anthem played, he had achieved what he’d set out to do.

Whitfield’s relentless pursuit, however, was not something that could be satisfied by a single race victory, no matter how significant. So Simon continued to pursue his sport with a passion and professionalism second to none. The rewards followed the hard work: 12 national championships, 14 world cup victories, and, perhaps most significantly, in 2008 at the Beijing Olympic Games in a race where he was counted out by everyone but himself, a silver medal.

Even – or perhaps most poignantly – in the face of disappointment, Whitfield’s pursuit continues. His race-ending crash in the London Games was not the Olympic denouement he would have scripted, but many of racing – and life’s – variables are beyond our control. Characteristically, Whitfield rebounded from the pavement of that London roadway and set his sights on the future, striking out for success at long-course triathlons in Canada and around the world.

In October of 2013 Whitfield officially became partner and Director of Sports Entertainment at The Fantan Group, a Victoria-based process facilitation, event and management-consulting firm. However, he’s been working closely with both Fantan and Rogers Communication for the past year to develop new spectator-friendly sports initiatives. The partnership is geared toward changing how sports are delivered across new and traditional media platforms by combining Simon’s expertise with Fantan’s design and management processes. Whitfield and Fantan already have several projects planned for 2014.

Beyond his ongoing work with Fantan, Simon’s portfolio of business ventures ranges from mobile bike mechanic Velofix, to Champion Systems quality custom clothing, to online training system Triton Triathlon. He is also part of the team at the Endurance Games, CIBC’s Team Next and Gold Medal Plates. And keeping true to his commitment to youth and sport, he does national charity work with KidSport, Power2Be and Goodlife Fitness Kids Foundation.

Through all of this, Whitfield has been able to recognize that with results come responsibilities; he takes his roles as triathlon’s ambassador to Canada and as Canada’s ambassador to the world very seriously. He supports numerous charities and loves few things as much as visiting schools to speak to children about finding their own passions and setting goals. And the one thing he loves more than anything else is his family, and his most important role of all–no matter what he’s won, how hard he’s trained or how tired he is after a day on the job–that to his girls he’s simply, Dad.
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05/02/2014 06:42 EDT