Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES - SUZANNE ZE­LAZO EDITOR

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

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