Triath­lete of the Year

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES -

IT’S A BREAK­THROUGH year for our Triath­lete of the Year Awards here at Triathlon Mag­a­zine Canada – for the first time in our 10-year history we’ve joined forces with Triathlon Canada to cel­e­brate the coun­try’s best mul­tisport ath­letes. As you read on you’ll see many of the same awards you’re used to see­ing in our an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of the year’s best per­form­ers, but you’ll see also see the ath­letes who are be­ing rec­og­nized by Triathlon Canada for their out­stand­ing re­sults. Triathlon Canada’s Ex­cel­lence Awards are given to ath­letes who win a medal at a cham­pi­onship event and who are in the top half of a sub­stan­tial field. While our Triath­lete of the Year ti­tle re­mains ex­clu­sive to us here at TMC, the re­main­der of the awards are be­ing pre­sented jointly by both Triathlon Mag­a­zine Canada and Triathlon Canada.

As ex­cited as we are about this new part­ner­ship with Triathlon Canada, we’re even more ex­cited to name, for the first time, a para­triath­lete as our Triath­lete of the Year. Ste­fan Daniel was the only Cana­dian to win an elite world cham­pi­onship this year. He took three of the four elite world cup events he com­peted in. He qual­i­fied for Rio thanks to his win at the Para­triathlon World Cham­pi­onship in Chicago. Daniel also took the 2015 na­tional ju­nior cham­pi­onship this year, too.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to all our win­ners this year!

Ste­fan Daniel It’s hard to imag­ine how Rio-bound Ste­fan Daniel’s sea­son could have gone any bet­ter in 2015. The 18-year-old from Calgary won three out of the four world cup races he at­tended, took the world cham­pi­onship and, to ice the cake for our top award this year, also took the na­tional ju­nior cham­pi­onship over some of the best able-bod­ied ju­nior rac­ers in the world.

A stu­dent at the Na­tional Sport School in Calgary, Daniel says his teach­ers are very sup­port­ive of his ef­forts as he pre­pares to rep­re­sent Canada at the Par­a­lympics next year, which has given him the abil­ity to bal­ance his world-class race sched­ule with school.

His in­tro­duc­tion to the sport came at the Kids of Steel race at the Kelowna Ap­ple Triathlon when he was nine.

“I re­mem­ber hav­ing a good swim and com­ing out ahead of most of the com­peti­tors,” Daniel says. “The bike is where it went com­pletely down­hill. I had a moun­tain bike that was far too small for me, and I was get­ting passed al­most ev­ery sec­ond by peo­ple with proper fit­ting road bikes. I re­mem­ber it seem­ing like the harder I would pedal, the slower I would go. I re­mem­ber be­ing un­be­liev­ably mo­ti­vated on the run, but the gap was way too big to catch the lead­ers. Look­ing back, it was a lot of fun and it sparked an in­ter­est in tak­ing triathlon more se­ri­ously.”

With his im­pres­sive re­sults its hard to be­lieve that Daniel has any dis­abil­i­ties, but he was born with bi­lat­eral club hands, which puts him at a dis­ad­van­tage over able bod­ied ath­letes in the wa­ter and on the bike. Once on the run, though, he’s a force to be reck­oned with at any level, which he proved at the na­tional cham­pi­onships this year, where he swam and biked well enough to be able to un­leash his im­pres­sive run tal­ents and take the ti­tle there. At the world cup events he’s proven to be tough and con­sis­tent in all three dis­ci­plines, re­sult­ing in his im­pres­sive win in the PT4 cat­e­gory at the world cham­pi­onships this year.

“The year had al­ready gone so well with my races in both Para and ju­niors that I didn’t put any pres­sure on my­self at the world cham­pi­onships,” Ste­fan said af­ter his big win. “Win­ning worlds and qual­i­fy­ing for Rio was ic­ing on the cake.”

We’ll add to that im­pres­sive “cake” the high­est hon­our in our an­nual awards: Triath­lete of the Year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.