Just months removed from making their Paralympic and Olympic debuts in Rio, Stefan Daniel, Chantal Givens, Tyler Mislawchuk and Amelie Kretz headline a list of Canadian triathletes that will receive Triathlon Canada’s 2016 Excellence Awards. Victoria-based coach Carolyn Murray was named Elite Coach of the Year.
As the nation’s top athletes gear up to launch a new season of swimming, biking and running, Triathlon Canada recognized the top performers in a memorable 2016 season, highlighted by Daniel’s Paralympic silver-medal performance in Rio, along with Mislawchuk’s impressive 15th-place finish at the Olympics.
The 19-year-old Daniel was named elite Para-triathlete-of-the-Year (Male) after etching his name into the history books with a silver medal victory at the sport’s Paralympic debut. Daniel, who competed in both Para and junior elite able-bodied racing in 2016, also won the season-opening World Para-triathlon event in Yokohama, Japan.
“To win this award is a great honour. I was happy with how the season unfolded and with my race in Rio,” said Daniel. “The Paralympics was a special experience, one that I won't soon forget. The race itself wasn't perfect, but I believe the work that went into it paid off. I'm now motivated to continue training to try and better my performance in Tokyo.”
Tyler Mislawchuk, of Oak Bluff, Man., was recognized as Elite Triathlete-of-the-Year (Male) following a breakout season that was capped off by cracking the top-15 at the Olympics despite being the youngest competitor in the field. A regular in the top-15 on the World Triathlon Series, the 22 year old celebrated a career best seventh-place finish at the final World Triathlon Series race before the Games. He also had a two 10ths, an 11th and 14th place finish in six starts on the top triathlon circuit in the world last year.
“The 2016 season was a year to remember. Like any elite athlete I had ups and downs, but qualifying to represent Canada at my first Olympic Games was a childhood dream that became a reality,” said Mislawchuk. “The things I learned this year have been invaluable, and will no doubt shape me into a better athlete in the years to come.”
Winnipeg’s Chantal Givens earned elite Para-triathlete-of-the-Year (Women) honours. Givens went on to represent Canada at the Rio Paralympic Games after winning her first career World Para-triathlon title in Spain this summer.
“I am honoured to receive this recognition. I was so excited to make history by racing for Canada in the first ever Para-triathlon event at a major multi sport Games. It was an amazing experience I will cherish always,” said Givens. “It was anything but a big holiday or easy in Rio, but the countless hours of training along with the feeling of being amongst the best in the world made it so special. I am so appreciative of Triathlon Canada, CSC Manitoba, my coaches, supporters, practitioners and friends and family who all deserve a piece of this award. It was certainly a team effort.”
Amelie Kretz, of Blainville, Que., had a breakthrough of her own in 2016 that led to her being recognized as the Elite Triathlete-of-the-Year (Women). The 23 year old locked up a spot to represent Canada at the Olympic Summer Games with a career-best eighth place finish at the World Triathlon Series race in Yokohama, Japan.
“I feel very lucky and honoured once again to be a part of a prestigious group of female athletes who have been named Elite Athlete-of-the-Year in Canada,” said Kretz. ““It was a dream come true to represent my country at the Olympics. I had the highest highs of my career last year with my Olympic qualification, and also had some pretty rough moments. But to finish 2016 with this award recognition is great!”
Ontario’s Lionel Sanders and British Columbia’s Heather Wurtele were named winners of the men’s and women’s Multi-Sport Athletes-of-the-Year. Sanders was crowned the king of Ironman triathlon in 2016 where he set a new world record of 7:44.29, capping off a golden season. Wurtele won five times in 2016 to go along with a third-place finish at the Ironman World Championships.
Triathlon Canada also recognized its top junior athletes. Charles Paquet, of Port Cartier, Que., was named top junior male thanks to his silver-medal win at the Junior World Championships. Desirae Ridenour, of Cowichan Bay, B.C., took home junior women’s honours for 2016. Ridenour dominated the domestic race scene and was the top Canuck in sixth spot at the Junior Worlds.
Triathlon Canada also recognized Paul Lavoie and Michael Greenberg with the William J. Hallet Excellence Award showcasing significant Contributors/volunteers in the triathlon community. Lavoie has been a dedicated Board member with Triathlon New Brunswick for nearly two decades where he has played a key role in developing the organization’s strategic plan. Greenberg has dedicated much of his life to triathlon in Ontario, both as an athlete and most recently as Triathlon Ontario’s president.