TORONTO--Olympic triathlete, Sharon Donnelly, is set to guide Canada's rising young stars in the sport of triathlon as the organization's new National Junior/Under-23 Team coach, Triathlon Canada announced on Friday.
Donnelly joins the Canadian program after spending the last three years as an assistant and resident coach with the United States Triathlon Association based out of Colorado Springs. Living in Colorado with her husband, who is stationed there in the military, and their two children, Donnelly was also a member of the United States’ coaching staff at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing.
Donnelly competed on the national squad between 1996 and 2004 during which time she represented Canada at the 2000 Olympic Summer Games, the 1999 Pan American Games and the Commonwealth Games in 2002. Donnelly focused her efforts on giving back to the sport by coaching at the grassroots level in her hometown of Kingston, Ontario after retiring following the Athens Games where she served as an alternate on the Canadian team.
"Sharon brings a wealth of international experience, both as an athlete and coach, that will help develop Canadian triathletes that are aspiring to be the best in the world," said Kurt Innes, high-performance director, Triathlon Canada. "Sharon knows what is required to be an elite athlete, and will play a critical leadership role within our community of coaches across the country in shaping Canada's future Olympic and international medal-winners."
Donnelly's goal is to keep Canada's young triathletes engaged in the sport and focused on following the long-term athlete development model, while providing them with the tools, experience and insight needed to achieve success and growth along the way.
"It is an extensive process to develop a high-performance triathlete and I need to keep these young athletes attracted to the pursuit of excellence while ensuring they continue to have fun," said Donnelly who is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada."In order for us to have success as a nation, we need to work together as a cohesive team of coaches and athletes across the country, and stay patient with the long-term plan. If we can accomplish this goal, we will continue to produce more Olympic medals for Canada down the road."
Donnelly rounds out a community of full-time Canadian triathlon coaches who share a common goal of producing champions across the country. Last week, Triathlon Canada named Philippe Bertrand as the new coach of the Senior National Team. Patrick Kelly will continue his role as senior development coach at the National Training Centre in Victoria, while Craig Taylor is the provincial development coach with the Ontario Association of Triathletes. Gary Pallett and Benoit Hugo-St. Pierre continue on as the Regional Training Centre coaches in Manitoba and Quebec respectively.
Based out of Ottawa, Donnelly will officially start her new role on May 8 and join Canada's Junior and Under-23 athletes at the PATCO Championships in Oklahoma City on May 11.
Triathlon Canada is the governing body for triathlon in the country. Recognized as an Olympic medal sport since 2000, Triathlon Canada's mandate is to promote, foster, organize and develop the sport of triathlon, and its related disciplines, in Canada. For more information on Triathlon Canada, please visit us at TriathlonCanada.com on the Internet.