Going for Gold
Do you dream of competing for Canada in the Olympic or Paralympic Games?
Triathlon was added as an Olympic sport in Sydney, Australia, as part of the 2000 Olympic Games. Canada’s Simon Whitfield ran home with the inaugural gold medal setting a high bar for Triathlon Canada’s high performance program.
While we have lots of high performers within our community, our high performance program is centered around the Olympic and Paralympic pathway. The term “elite” is used to refer to athletes who race on the World Triathlon circuit to achieve international ranking and Olympic/Paralympic qualifying points. “Elite” includes sub-categories for para, U23 and junior athletes.
Triathlon Canada is responsible for ensuring the right systems and supports are in place to allow our high performance athletes to achieve success on the international stage. This includes talent identification, National Team selection and national camps and clinics. Our world-class coaches, sport science staff, and training programs are key to this.
“Elite” collectively refers to all athletes who race in “elite” designated categories. This is inclusive of the following sub-categories:
- Junior: elite athletes aged 16-19
- U23: elite athletes aged 20-23
- Para: elite athletes with confirmed para classifications (see Paralympic Stream)
Elite competition is determined by overall placement. This means that a U23 athlete could win both the U23 sub-category and the overall elite category in a single competition. Which sub-categories are eligible to compete is dependent on race distance. Elite international competition is available in the super-sprint, sprint, standard and mixed relay triathlon events.
“U23” is a sub-category of elite triathletes made up of those aged 20-23. Age is always determined as of December 31st of the competition year. International competition is available to these athletes in the super-sprint, sprint, standard and mixed relay events.
Development programs are facilitated by each Provincial Sport Organization which then connect to Triathlon Canada’s high-performance program. U23 athletes should be targeting America’s Triathlon Cup races and Triathlon Canada’s National Development Series through their provincial teams.
“Junior” is a sub-category of elite triathletes made up of those aged 16-19. Age is always determined as of December 31st of the competition year. International competition is available to these athletes in the super-sprint, sprint and mixed relay events
Development programs are facilitated by each Provincial Sport Organization which then connect to Triathlon Canada’s high-performance program. Junior athletes should be targeting Triathlon Canada’s National Development Series through their provincial teams.
Olympic Program Events
There are two triathlon medal events currently included in the Olympic program.
The Standard Distance Triathlon debuted in Sydney, Australia in 2000. This event consists of a 1500 metre swim, 40-kilometre draft-legal bike, and 10-kilometer run.
The Mixed Relay is a new event that debuted at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021. Teams are made up of two women and two men. Each athlete completes a full super sprint triathlon, with the team’s cumulative time making up the team score. This is a fast-paced and exciting format to watch as athletes race full-out over a 250-300 metre swim, 5-8 kilometre draft-legal bike, and 1.5-2 kilometre run.
National Development Series
The National Development Series is made up of identified races selected from within the existing draft-legal provincial series events with a point system designed to create a clear national ranking amongst development athletes.
The Series is designed to facilitate the transition from community events to continental and international racing. The key goals are to provide athletes with opportunities to race against deeper fields of their peers from across the country, and to familiarize athletes and coaches with the World Triathlon (TRI) points system through incorporation of TRI-like points allocation, TRI-like ranking and TRI race formats and course profiles.
Click here for the current program outline, results, and additional resources.
Elite Para Triathlon
Triathlon Canada has developed one of the top elite para triathlon programs in the world. One of the newest sports added to the Paralympic Games family, para triathlon debuted at the 2016 Rio Games where Canada’s Stefan Daniel celebrated a silver medal.
“Elite Para Triathlon” refers to elite athletes with a valid paratriathlon classification aged 16 and up. Standings are determined by overall placement within each competition category regardless of age.
For more information on paratriathlon click here.
Paralympic Program Events
Para triathlon is competed over the Sprint Distance at the Paralympic Games, made up of a 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike, and 5-kilometre run. There are 6 medal events representing sport classes in para triathlon defined as follows:
- PTWC – Para Triathlon Wheelchair Classes (2 subclasses – PTWC1 & PTWC2)
- PTS – Para Triathlon Standing Classes (4 subclasses – PTS2, PTS3, PTS4, PTS5)
- PTVI – Para Triathlon Visually Impaired Classes (3 subclasses – PTVI1, PTVI2, & PTVI3)
For more information on the various competition categories click here.
Find out more about the High Performance Stream
Triathlon Canada’s high performance Olympic and Paralympic Pathway follows a long-term athlete development model. Provincial sport organizations and local clubs are the main drivers for athletes across Canada striving to enter our high performance Pathway. The starting point for all should be with your provincial teams.
Results & Rankings
Want to see how our high-performance athletes and para-athletes are doing on the world stage? Visit the International Triathlon Union results page or visit us on Facebook.
Current National and National Development Series rankings are available here.
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