Sam motivated by Simon's gold

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:09 AM ET

Samantha McGlone idolized Simon Whitfield and her spark to compete in triathlon came from his golden performance at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

So it was with a glimmer in her eye that she spoke of topping her hero in a chase-format event in the Muskoka Triathlon last weekend in Ontario.

The women started with a 19-minute handicap on the men's field and McGlone held off Whitfield to capture the crown.

"It was really sweet to beat him. He was very gracious in defeat," smiled McGlone, who was in town yesterday to offer advice at Hawrelak Park to budding competitors from the Speedplay Triathlon Club.

Being back in Edmonton was particularly appealing for McGlone, who will be in the field again when the ITU World Cup circuit returns July 23.

It was on the course here last summer - just before the men's race was wiped out by heavy rain and a hailstorm - that McGlone clinched the last available spot for the Athens Summer Games.

"This course will always have a special place in my heart. It was always hold great memories for me," said McGlone, the 11th-place finisher in the 2004 Edmonton race who went on to place 27th in the Olympics.

GREAT START TO THE YEAR

"I've had a great start to this year, which is just a progression from everything that happened last year, and I hope things keep progressing."

On top of winning at Muskoka, McGlone claimed top spot in the Wildflower Half-Ironman in California, where she edged Spruce Grove native Heather Fuhr.

This season's highlights for McGlone include a fifth-place effort in Honolulu and an eighth in Mazatlan.

GEARED DOWN SOMEWHAT

While the 25-year-old is geared down somewhat this year as far as the World Cup circuit goes, she does plan on competing in all of the Canadian stops as well as various chase events and the Escape from Alcatraz spectacular - all of which will lead up to qualifying for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and 2007 Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro.

McGlone's performances since her last visit to Edmonton have not only allowed her to climb the world rankings to the No. 10 spot, but also put her on top of the Canadian chart.

"No one has been written off yet," said McGlone of overtaking national team veterans like Jill Savege, Carol Montgomery and Carolyn Murray.

"It just makes me keep racing the best that I can.

"Jill and I are always trading back and forth who's better on the day and there's always new girls coming up, so that keeps me on my toes and not taking anything for granted."

But being the best right now is not enough. There are greater goals to be accomplished.

"It's nice being the Canadian champ. It was a nice way to end the season, but I'm never satisfied. I've made it to this level and I want to make it to the next. I'm always looking at the next thing

"Five years ago I was watching Simon win gold and that was a huge inspiration for me. Now I've been to the Olympics and I still want to make it to the next level."


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