Young athletes honour Canadian triathlon icon Simon Whitfield's legacy in Bolton, Ont.
Charity hockey game was held day after Olympic gold medallist was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame
Hundreds of young athletes honoured Canadian triathlon icon Simon Whitfield's legacy in Bolton, Ont., a day after he was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
The Olympic gold medallist returned to the Ontario town where he used to train for competitions on Friday night for a charity hockey game alongside other former Team Canada athletes.
"The idea of playing pickup ice hockey against guys I used to race with, I've been looking forward to this all week," Whitfield told CBC Toronto.
The free event preceded a reunion of two other Canadian triathlon legends, Andrew Yorke and Kyle Jones, over the weekend.
It was organized by Whitfield's former coach, Barrie Shepley, to help raise money for C3 Canadian Cross Training Club and kids' sports charities.
"To have three Olympians who all trained in Caledon, all went to the Olympic Games, have been buddies all these years and now they're coming back for charity; I mean, what more could you ask for?" said Shepley.
Although he hasn't played hockey in 25 years, Whitfield says he didn't hesitate to participate.
"I used to play from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. so I'll be just fine," he said, noting that he grew up across the street from a rink in Kingston, Ont.
But the main reason he agreed was because of Shepley's influence on the sport.
"If you were able to describe the heartbeat of triathlon in Canada, Barrie is at, or near the centre of it," he said.
Whitfield is regarded as one of the most successful athletes in triathlon history. He became a household name in Canada after winning triathlon gold in a thrilling finish at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, where the sport made its debut.
Whitfield went on to compete in triathlon for Canada at the next three Olympics, capturing a silver in the 2008 Beijing Games.
After his breakthrough in Sydney, he added a silver medal to his collection eight years later in Beijing.
He also recorded 14 World Cup victories and eight top-10 finishes at the world championships before retiring in 2014 at 38.
With files from CBC's Greg Ross