Olympics Summer

Simon Whitfield critical of how Findlay's hip injury handled

Canadian triathlete Simon Whitfield is sounding off about how an injury to teammate Paula Findlay was handled before her last-place performance at the London Games on Saturday.
Simon Whitfield in a 2011 triathlon. Canadian press file

Canadian triathlete Simon Whitfield is sounding off about how an injury to teammate Paula Findlay was handled before her last-place performance at the London Games on Saturday.

Findlay struggled to cross the finish line 52nd overall, and afterwards sobbed an apology to Canadians for her performance.

Whitfield is unhappy about how a hip injury Findlay was suffering from was dealt with before the race, tweeting during the race "gutted 2c Paula so upset. There are some people that need 2b held accountable here, total incompetence before they jumped ship."

Whitfield later said her coaching staff should be held responsible for mismanaging that injury, a labral tear in Findlay's hip. The Canadian flag-bearer doesn't believe anyone should be fired, but he did say they should accept some responsibility for Findlay's training program.

Alan Trivett of Triathlon Canada told CBC Sports Weekend host Scott Russell on Sunday that he understands Whitfield is upset, having taken Findlay "under his wing" for the past couple of months and had been training with her for the past nine weeks. But Trivett said Findlay's condition is still unknown, and that she crossed the finish line without any hip soreness.

'She is healthy'

"[Whitfield] felt, and has felt for quite some time, that we were sort of mismanaging or spiraling out of control with Paula's preparation for the Games." Trivett said. "All as a result of an injury that was incredibly difficult to diagnose. I'm not sure that we even have a diagnosis today that's definitive.

"And the No. 1 message out of this is: She's healthy. She didn't come across the finish line yesterday with a sore hip. She is healthy. As far as I'm concerned that was priority No. 1, " he said. "It took too long to get there. Fitness was part number two and she just didn't have enough time."

Marcel Aubut, president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, spoke with CBC News on Sunday and dismissed the notion that Whitfield's comments may be a distraction.

"No, we talked to the federation. It looks like it is under control." Aubut said. "People have said what they have to say. They feel better now and I don't think things are going to continue to go off."

Findlay's former coach Patrick Kelly also responded to Whitfield's criticism. He told the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper the tweet was "inaccurate" and "disappointing."

"I guess Simon is frustrated. Everyone feels badly for Paula. Everyone in Victoria was cheering for Paula and wanted to see her succeed," Kelly said. "Everyone bears some responsibility. [The complicated injury situation] was a very difficult thing."

Trivett also disputed the notion that Findlay was "abandonded."

"We're all in this together. We're a team and we made decisions as a team," Trivett said. "Do I feel like they abandoned her? No, I don't. I feel like at the time the decision was made to switch coaches, it was the right decision for both Pat Kelly and Paula Findlay.

"They had sort of expired their relationship and gone through the ups and downs and the travails that happen in any relationship."