Whitfield eyeing 2012 gold

BOB MACKIN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

While most British Columbians are counting the days until the 2010 Winter Olympics, Simon Whitfield is looking ahead to July 27, 2012.

That's opening day of the London Summer Olympics and the 34-year-old Kingston-born, Victoria triathlete wants to compete in the five-ring circus for a fourth time. The Sydney 2000 gold medalist won silver last August at the Beijing Games, but isn't ready to retire yet.

"I used to joke in Sydney I was going to try and make it to Beijing; I remember saying out loud that I'd like to make it to Beijing and just finish the race," Whitfield said. "I don't want to just make the team in London, I want to take a crack at a medal again."

Whitfield is 29th after two races on the inaugural International Triathlon World Championship Series which continues June 21 in Washington, D.C. The eight-stop tour includes London on Aug. 16.

To help Whitfield and the rest of the team be Olympic contenders in three years, Triathlon Canada announced Monday that it hired Kelowna's Kurt Innes, a Barcelona 1992 cyclist, as high-performance director. Assistant coach Philippe Bertrand was promoted to to head coach.

The focus at Beijing was a cycling-style team strategy to get Whitfield back to the podium after a disappointing 11th place at Athens 2004. By 2012, Bertrand hopes Canada will be strong enough in both men's and women's races for his athletes to be challenging each other for podium places.

"Now we're in a position where almost all of our athletes can contend for top 10 positions," Bertrand said.


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