Simon Whitfield discovered he didn’t want to be a lone wolf.
|RICHARD LAUTENS/TORONTO STAR|
|Simon Whitfield had it all working in Beijing, winning a silver medal.|
But it didn’t turn out to be a good fit and Whitfield, who competes Saturday in the ITU Triathlon World Championships in Australia, is back in the fold of the national team headed by coach Phillipe Bertrand, an assistant with the team in Beijing when Whitfield won silver.
“Being with training partners and part of the national team, with the training environment we have here now, I think it’s – what’s that corny phrase? -- home is where the heart is,” said Whitfield. “I did that for so long that switching to something new was just not going to happen.”
But it did happen for a while as previous coach Joel Filliol took an attractive offer to join the British team as it prepares for the 2012 London Olympics and Whitfield signed up with Carmichael Training Systems to work under coach Nick White.
“It was just very difficult to go from having a coach on deck every day and a squad to communicating on email and a lot less feedback,” said the 2000 Sydney Olympic gold medallist. “I had a certain illusion of how I would handle it – and I was wrong.
“They (his former training partners) would be training on Monday and my training would be the same thing but on Tuesday, so I’d be doing things a day after everybody and I’d be like ‘I don’t enjoy doing this alone anymore.’
“I’d rather have it not be the ideal schedule and have someone to train with. I’d describe it is an interesting year of coaching. I learned a lot. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
Whitfield said he is enjoying working under Bertrand, a young coach from Quebec.
“He’s a terrific guy. He’s pouring his heart and soul into it. It’s a fun group to be be around.”
AUTHOR, AUTHOR: Whitfield has a book coming out, co-written with veteran journalist Cleve Dheenshaw, called Simon Says Gold: Simon Whitfield's Pursuit of Athletic Excellence. It's aimed at kids and is priced at a reasonable $14.