ROAD TO RIO “Pres­sure is just a noise that I don’t tend to lis­ten to.”

TYLER MIS­LAWCHUK

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES - BY KERRY HALE

TYLER MIS­LAWCHUK IS a young man on a bold mis­sion. The 21-year-old up­start from Win­nipeg is push­ing hard for a spot on Team Canada for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games and, af­ter a 10th place fin­ish at the ITU World Triathlon Se­ries race in Abu Dhabi in March, his goal seems to be within reach.

“Fin­ish­ing 10th in Abu Dhabi was a real con­fi­dence booster for me,” said Mis­lawchuk. “My prepa­ra­tion was ideal and I felt re­ally good out there on course. It was a great start to the year, but I know I am ca­pa­ble of even bet­ter re­sults in the near fu­ture.”

Mis­lawchuk com­peted in his first triathlon at age 15, purely as a cross-train­ing ex­er­cise for hockey and soc­cer af­ter watch­ing Si­mon Whit­field win sil­ver at the Bei­jing Olympics in 2008. Show­ing early suc­cess and a gen­uine love for his new sport, Mis­lawchuk dreamed of rep­re­sent­ing Canada in triathlon. Armed with a coach and a struc­tured train­ing pro­gram, his fit­ness, tech­nique and knowl­edge blos­somed and, in 2011, he be­gan com­pet­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing a trip to the ITU World Cham­pi­onship Grand Fi­nal as a ju­nior. In 2012 he was ranked first in the Cana­dian Ju­nior Na­tional Se­ries and won a sil­ver medal at the Pan-amer­i­can Ju­nior Cham­pi­onships that same year. In 2013 he won a sil­ver medal at the Canada Games, where he was joined on Team Man­i­toba by his sis­ter Madi­son, a rower. Later in 2013, as part of Triathlon Canada’s Na­tional De­vel­op­ment team, he made his World Cup de­but on home soil in Ed­mon­ton.

“It was just amaz­ing to be rac­ing a World Cup race in front of all the maple leaf flags and cheers,” he said. The fol­low­ing year he com­peted in var­i­ous Pan Amer­i­can Cup, Ocea­nia Cup and Euro­pean Cup events and, in 2014, his ef­forts were rec­og­nized by win­ning the Cana­dian U23 Triath­lete of the Year award. In 2015, Mis­lawchuk made his ITU World Triathlon Se­ries de­but and, in only his third start on the elite cir­cuit, he crossed the line 10th in Lon­don, a re­sult that made him the high­est-ranked Cana­dian male on the ITU rank­ings at the time.

Cur­rently, he is half­way through a de­gree at the As­per School of Busi­ness, part of the Univer­sity of Man­i­toba. Cap­i­tal­iz­ing on his young age, ever-im­prov­ing per­for­mances and this be­ing an Olympic year, though, he opted to put school on hold to pur­sue triathlon full time. He’s in his first year as a mem­ber of Triathlon Canada’s na­tional team. He’s coached by Jamie Turner and train­ing with the Wol­lon­gong Wizards on the south­east coast of Aus­tralia along­side a host of other stand­out Cana­dian triath­letes. Much of the early part of 2016 has been spent on the road, in­ter­mit­tently us­ing Aus­tralia and Spain as home bases for train­ing while si­mul­ta­ne­ously rac­ing across five con­ti­nents in pur­suit of that Olympic spot.

“Cur­rently Canada has two male Olympic spots in the sport of triathlon with a pos­si­bil­ity of get­ting a third,” he ex­plains. “No males have yet been se­lected to the team as the cri­te­ria states you need two top-eight fin­ishes on the WTS cir­cuit, and no one has achieved that at this point. It’s su­per com­pet­i­tive just to make the team.”

Of that there is no doubt. To even make the start line in Rio, he is up against a stel­lar group of very de­ter­mined ath­letes. “To get my­self on the Olympic team it comes down to sim­ply rac­ing well un­der pres­sure,” he ex­plains can­didly. “Pres­sure is just a noise that I don’t tend to lis­ten to. Stick­ing to my key pro­cesses al­lows me to tune into what re­ally mat­ters go­ing into the big races. Qual­i­fy­ing for the Olympics has been a dream since I was kid, es­pe­cially af­ter watch­ing Si­mon Whit­field com­pete in Bei­jing. Every­thing I do on a daily ba­sis goes to­wards mak­ing that dream a re­al­ity.”

Kerry Hale is a free­lance jour­nal­ist from Squamish, B.C.

LEFT

Mis­lawchuck cross­ing the line at the 2015 Pan Am Games

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