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Interview with Simon Whitfield: Olympic Gold Medalist

As many of you know, I have a long history as a former elite endurance athlete [1]. Back in the day, I achieved a 2:18 marathon and landed 4th place in the Hawaii Ironman. That was all well and good, but above all I was vying for Olympic gold. There was just one small issue: I was giving my body the beat down in the process [2]. At the time, guided by traditional training advice, my eye was on the prize, not the long term sacrifices I was making to get there. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. After years of spending time in the endurance game,  life had other things in store for me—researching, blogging, and sharing my story with all of you, for example. And I’ve never looked back. But that hasn’t stopped me from respecting the awesome achievements made by my past contemporaries, or the great wisdom they have to share as a result of their boundary breaking feats.

That’s why I wanted to point all of you to yesterday’s podcast interview [3] with three people whom I respect very much—folks who know what it’s like to push the boundaries of physical limitations, and walk away with reformed, insightful perspectives as a result. They’re the kinds of athletes that inspired me to write Primal Endurance [4], so the tradition of competition, sportsmanship, teamwork, and personal betterment can continue, but in a way that maximizes results while protecting one’s body for the long haul. So if you haven’t heard the show yet, here’s what it’s about.

Hosts Brad Kearns and Andrew MacNaughton [5] connect with retired triathlon legend Simon Whitfield [6] from Victoria, B.C., Canada. Simon details his remarkable victory in the inaugural Olympic triathlon in Sydney, Australia in 2000, along with other memories and perspectives he gained from his lengthy career at the top of the sport. Simon is an extremely thoughtful, introspective athlete whose insights can provide great value to whatever peak performance or life goals you pursue. “If you love your pursuits, you’ll find a way to success. If you succumb to your fears and insecurities, your results will suffer accordingly,” says Simon. With refreshing candor, Simon mentions the dangers of drifting into a prima donna perspective and how to recalibrate to focus on the journey; especially having a strong and authentic support team. “Hard truths come with sharp edges, but they are the source of the greatest learning,” Simon offers. Simon updates us about his recent doings, including epic standup paddling adventures in Victoria. Enjoy this deeply revealing and impactful discussion with triathlon’s most thoughtful coach, Andrew MacNaughton, and most thoughtful elite athlete, Simon Whitfield.

Thanks for reading (and listening), everyone. I hope you enjoy the episode!