This week, all eyes are on Edmonton as our Aussie teams prepare for what is the pinnacle of their racing season – the Edmonton Grand Final
The cream of Australian triathletes from 16-year-old Youth Olympic Games champion Brittany Dutton to Hall of Famer Michellie Jones and 77-year-old Lachlan Lewis will converge on the Canadian city of Edmonton, Alberta this week for the ITU World Triathlon Championships.
They will be join over 300 Australians and 2,500 internationals from 73 countries who have already started the annual pilgrimage for triathletes worldwide.
For Jones it will be a trip back through memory lane for the 44-year-old who shot to stardom when she won silver on the opening day of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
She has gone on to forge a stellar career in the sport as a professional triathlete for almost 25 years and is one of 10 Australians nominated among 22 athletes shortlisted for the first inductees for the ITU Hall of Fame.
Australians Emma Carney, Jackie Gallagher, Loretta Harrop, Jones and Emma Snowsill, Brad Bevan, Chris McCormack, Peter Robertson, Miles Stewart and Greg Welch are all among those shortlisted.
They are all responsible for putting triathlon on the map in Australia and around the world – pioneering the sport from its infancy under the ITU banner to where it stands today as one of the most popular sports in the world.
Fittingly the first nine inaugurations will be announced on Sunday here in Edmonton.
Residing in California, Jones is still going stronger than ever, dividing her time between her passion for triathlon and a professional career that is still flourishing and her second love, equestrian, with a string of horses on show.
“Triathlon is something I love,” says Jones, “if you love what you do then you do what you do to do it.”
And she will be on show on Friday when she lines up for her first ITU World Championships as an Age Grouper.
Edmonton is not new to Jones or Australians in sport.
Jones finished second here to US great Siri Lindley in 2001 after winning the title in 1992 and 1993.
Edmonton has fond memories for other Australians too with Peter Robertson winning the first of his three World Triathlon titles here in 2001; swimmer Tracey Wickham set a world record here for 800m freestyle at the 1978 Commonwealth Games as did Kieren Perkins in the 800m freestyle on his way to the 1500m gold at the 1991 Pan Pacs.
It is a city that is already buzzing with excitement from the Age groupers to Australia’s Elite team boasting five members of the Commonwealth Games team from Glasgow.
A team that includes Olympians Emma Jackson and Brendan Sexton and a host of excited Elite Juniors and Under 23s with Australia’s latest Games gold medallist Brittany Dutton arriving today fresh from her stunning success in the girls race at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing last week.
Jackson and Ashleigh Gentle will spearhead the Elite women’s team that also includes 2013 Under 23 World Champion Charlotte McShane.
The Elite men’s squad has Wollongong Wizards training partners Aaron Royle and Ryan Bailie at the helm after Bailie’s stirring anchor leg to help secure Australia’s Teams Relay bronze behind England and South Africa in Glasgow.
And while Jones will be the woman to beat in the 40-44 years sprint race on Friday the careers of Junior team members Dutton, Kira Hedgeland, Sophie Malowiecki, Jacob Birtwhistle, Daniel Coleman, Calvin Quirk and Matt Roberts are very much just starting out.
Malowiecki and Birtwhistle both made their debuts in London last year with the rest of the team on show at their first ITU World Championships.
Then spare a thought for Canberra’s Lachlan Lewis, who has a full book of rides at 77 years of age, starting out in Wednesday’s Aquathlon and then Friday’s Sprint Distance Triathlon and Sunday’s Olympic Distance.
And he’ll be hoping to better his performances from 2013 where he finished sixth in the Aquathlon; 11th in the Sprint and 17th in the Standard or Olympic distance.
Another to watch will be 70-year-old Ray Hunt from the Clarence Valley on the NSW North Coast who will also line up in the trifecta – hoping he has some better luck than last year when he ripped his wetsuit before diving into the cold waters of London’s Serpentine Lake.
Unfortunately Australia’s oldest entrant Radovan Leovic – who at 87 was set to take his place in the World Championships for 85-89 years sprint title but suffered a last minute injury.
Sidelined also will be Australia’s two-time ITU World Champion Emma Moffatt, who has withdrawn through health issues; Australian Junior Champion Jaz Hedgeland who suffered a broken scaphoid in an unfortunate training accident and the inspirational four-time Paratriathlon World Champion Bill Chaffey who suffered two broken bones in his pelvis in his final training session.
They will all be here in spirit for an event which will see the Australian team come together as one for their annual Team Australia breakfast on Thursday morning at the Double Tree by Hilton West Edmonton before competition starts in earnest.
Living legends, Hall of Famers and champions young and old, drawn together by the magnetism that is triathlon.
AUSTRALIAN TRIATHLON TEAM
Emma Jackson (QLD)
Ashleigh Gentle (QLD)
Charlotte McShane (NSW)
Aaron Royle (NSW)
Ryan Bailie (WA)
Dan Wilson (QLD)
Brendan Sexton (NSW)
Cameron Good (NSW)
Ryan Fisher (VIC)
Gillian Backhouse (QLD)
Kelly-Ann Perkins (QLD)
Declan Wilson (ACT)
Kenji Nener (QLD)
Matthew Baker (NSW)
Kira Hedgeland (WA)
Sophie Malowiecki (QLD)
Brittany Dutton (QLD)
Mikala Falconer (WA) Non Travelling Reserve
Jacob Birtwhistle (TAS)
Daniel Coleman (QLD)
Calvin Quirk (QLD)
Matthew Roberts (QLD) Travelling Reserve
Nic Beveridge (QLD) PT1
Brant Garvey (WA) PT2
Justin Godfrey (VIC) PT4
Jack Swift (VIC) PT4
Jonathon Goerlach (ACT) PT5
Claire McLean (WA) PT4
Sally Pilbeam (WA) PT3
|Aquathlon World Championships||Wednesday 27th||12:00pm||Thursday 28th 4:00am|
|Age Group Sprint Distance Championships||Friday 29th||9:30am||Saturday 30th 1:30am|
|Junior Woman World Championships||Friday 29th||3:00pm||Saturday 30th 7:00am|
|Junior Men World Championships||Friday 29th||5:15pm||Saturday 30th 9:15am|
|U23 Men World Championships||Saturday 30th||8:45am||Sunday 31st 12:45am|
|Elite Women Grand Final||Saturday 30th||12:00pm||Sunday 31st 4:00am|
|Elite Paratriathlon World Championships||Saturday 30th||3:30pm||Sunday 31st 7:30am|
|Elite Men Grand Final||Sunday 31st||12:00pm||Monday 1st 4:00am|
|U23 Women World Championships||Sunday 31st||3:35pm||Monday 1st 7:35am|
|Open Paratriathlon Championship||Monday 1st Sept||7:15am||Monday 1st 11:15pm|
|Age Group Standard Championship||Monday 1st Sept||7:30am||Monday 1st 11:30pm|
|U23/ Junior Mixed Relay World Championship||Monday 1st Sept||2:00pm||Tuesday 2nd 6:00am|
How to follow:
Broadcast online via Triathlon TV
No matter where you are in the world, if you have an internet connection, you can watch the men’s and women’s elite races LIVE! Both events will be broadcast in real time, as well as available on demand shortly after the race finish, on https://triathlonlive.tv/ It works great on your laptop, tablet & mobile. Don’t delay. Get your pass today.
Use the hashtag #TeamAusEdmonton to show your support!
Finish line live
The ITU will be streaming the finish line for the age group, junior, Under23, and paratriathlon world championship races – keep an eye out for your friends, family and training buddies live!