AS WE CELEBRATE the outstanding performances in Kona at the Ironman World Championship, it’s not hard to appreciate the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice and the commitment to dreaming big that made those possible. Kevin Mackinnon’s Kona coverage in this issue takes us inside the defining moments of this year’s race (p.56). But, as we prepare to enter an Olympic year, short-course dreams are living large in the minds of Team Canada’s hopefuls. Quebec’s Amelie Kretz is among a coveted group whose chances of making it to Rio and being a contender are high.
At only 22, Kretz could be the youngest on the team should she make it, but the U23 standout has the calm maturity of someone well beyond her years. Part of that is attributable to her early and rapid success in triathlon. To say she was a natural is an understatement. Kretz was almost unbeatable as a junior. In 2012 at the age of nineteen, (when she was TMC’S Junior Triathlete of the Year) Kretz won the ITU Junior North-american championships. In 2013 she was the Elite Senior and U23 National Champion and since then has won or come in second at multiple ITU Pan AM Cup races. So far, she has one ITU World Cup win (Edmonton 2013) and an ITU World Cup silver medal (Mooloolaba 2015) under her belt, as well as an Oceana Cup title (Mooloolaba 2015).
In 2014, Kretz moved to Guelph, Ont. to study nutrition and train at the Regional Training Centre under Craig Taylor. Despite being an integral member of the winning Pan Am Cup relay team in Sarasota, Fla. and then taking second in the individual race that year, Kretz suffered injuries in both feet, severely compromising her season. Nonetheless, the Guelph training program prepared her to eventually join the likes of Gwen Jorgensen and the Woolongong Wizards in Australia under Jamie Turner where she spent the winter and early spring of 2015, reaching a new level of fitness. “I was in the best shape of my life,” says Kretz.
Going into the WTS London in June, Kretz was ready to add another podium finish when she was given a penalty for momentarily swerving off the bike course to avoid an accident. Kretz kept a level head, running her way back to ninth with the second fastest run, even though she learned after the race that she had a femoral stress fracture—not a fast or easy mend. It meant she would be absent at the Pan Am Games. But with her positive outlook and an inner confidence from training alongside arguably the most successful short-course triathlete in the history of the sport, Kretz was able to race in Chicago at the Grand Final. “Watching Gwen, you realize she is human and has her good and bad days just like the rest of us, but it has been pretty cool to learn from her every day,” she explains. A mature athlete knows when to push and when to execute restraint – an essential component in committing to a longterm goal like making the Olympic team.
Rather than lament a season that didn’t go as planned, Kretz’s winning attitude allows her to celebrate the successes she’s seen even if they didn’t all happen on the Stay tuned to our website for upcoming reviews of SRAM 1x and Castelli’s tri-specific line. We also interview Canadian-born Alicia Kaye on her future Kona aspirations. world stage. She knows where she sits among the best in the world training under Turner. Like her Canadian teammates, Kretz has three WTS races in which to place in the top eight to qualify for Rio. Taking her setbacks in stride, being away from family and the constant travel for training and racing is never an issue for Kretz. “It’s an investment,” she says, in a dream she’s determined to see come true.
Amelie Kretz at 2015 World Championships in Chicago