Triathlete of the Year
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.