Canadian triathlete Simon Whitfield announced Monday at an event on the Toronto waterfront that he will compete in the first-ever Toronto Triathlon Festival, July 22, 2012. It will be Whitfield's final competition before taking part in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Whitfield will contest the sprint event in Toronto as a final pre-Olympic tune up.
"The whole summer is focused around London," Whitfield told CTVOlympics.ca
According to the event website, "The triathlon will take you on a memorable journey through Toronto's unique landscape, as concrete jungles flow effortlessly into picturesque hills and valleys."
The festival is aimed at both elite athletes and novices, offering both Sprint and Olympic distance events. Whitfield has been in New Zealand, training with their national team. He said that he felt rejuvenated by his experience there.
"Sometimes in the back of your mind you start to believe that 'maybe I can't do as much as I'm used to,'" Whitfield admitted. "I went down to New Zealand and did three weeks of training and went head-to-head with 21-year olds every single day and I was always the last man standing with Laurent Vidal (who is top 5 in the world right now). That's what I needed."
"Being around a new environment was invigorating. I came home smiling ear-to-ear and since then I haven't missed a beat."
The experience was so positive that Whitfield said he will return for another five weeks of training.
Executive Director of Triathlon Canada, Alan Trivett, also revealed that Canada's team for the London 2012 Olympics will be selected in May and announced in June. It is a team that Whitfield is expected to headline.
The 36-year old Whitfield rose to prominence by winning the inaugural Olympic triathlon event at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. He competed again at the Athens 2004 Olympics, and won a silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. He has intimated that London 2012 will be his final Olympic Games.