Two of Canada's most esteemed Ironman athletes, Lori Bowden and Heather Fuhr, will join one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport on Canadian soil, Lance Watson, as the 2015 Class that will be welcomed into Triathlon Canada's Hall of Fame.
Starting as an age group triathlete in Ontario, Lori Bowden went on to be one of the most respected and dominant Ironman athletes in the world. Bowden raised the Canadian flag high above the IRONMAN podium around the globe after rattling off seven medals in seven straight IRONMAN World Championships between 1997 and 2003, including victories in 1999 and 2003. One of the most mentally tough athletes to hit the start line, Bowden also racked up five IRONMAN national titles in Canada, three in Austria, three in Australia, and also has one Long Distance Duathlon World Championship title to her credit.
"I am extremely grateful and excited to learn of my induction into Triathlon Canada's Hall of Fame," said Bowden, who now calls Victoria home. "Canada has a long history of amazing past and present world class triathletes, and it is such an honour to be recognized as part of the nation's sporting history."
Fittingly, one of Bowden's most respected rivals during her remarkable career, Heather Fuhr, will join her in Triathlon Canada's Hall of Fame this year. Originally from Alberta, Fuhr's incredible running speed propelled her to 15 IRONMAN titles around the world including Japan, Switzerland, Brazil, United States and Germany. Fuhr captured the World Championship title in 1997. Fuhr has a passion and knowledge for the sport that is unparalleled around the world, but it is her management of triathlon training camps for athletes of all age groups and ability levels that has earned her the respect and admiration she has from international triathletes.
"It is truly an honour to be inducted into the Triathlon Canada Hall of Fame. When I did my first triathlon in 1988, I did so because it was a challenge, not because I wanted to accomplish anything in particular, or wanted to prove anything. I was hooked from that point on," said Fuhr. "The journey that followed over the next 18 years was an amazing experience. Now that I can look back and reflect on my career, I feel very fortunate that I was able to achieve what I did in the sport. To be recognized for something I simply loved doing is icing on the cake."
Joining the two Canadian Ironman greats in the 2015 Class is one of the nation's most accomplished coaches, Lance Watson, who will go into the Builders Category.
A five-time Triathlon Canada Coach of the Year, Watson has nurtured some of the greatest Canadian triathletes from kids into Olympic champions. Watson's coaching list is nothing short of extraordinary, having coached many of Canada's Olympians and IRONMAN Champions, including Triathlon Canada Hall of Fame athletes Simon Whitfield (Olympic gold medal) and Lisa Bentley (11 IRONMAN titles). Watson coached Canadian Teams winning gold medals at the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, and Pan American Games. Watson has also led Canadian athletes to 17 IRONMAN victories, 5 IRONMAN World Championship podiums, four International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championship medals, and countless ITU World Cup wins.
"You don't begin a coaching career with Hall of Fame aspirations. You follow your passion, develop your skills, and immerse yourself in a journey fostering the growth of Canadian athletes' potential in both triathlon and in life," said Watson, who helped discover and develop nine of Canada's 13 triathletes to start at the Olympics in 2000, 2004, and 2008. "To receive this kind of recognition from Triathlon Canada is the greatest affirmation of my coaching career and my unwavering belief in the power of sport and the pursuit of excellence."
Triathlon Canada's Hall of Fame recognizes and honours outstanding contributions and individual achievements of athletes, coaches and significant contributors/volunteers in the sport of Triathlon in Canada. The accomplishments of those individuals inducted into the Triathlon Canada Hall of Fame are considered exemplary and superior to the contributions and achievements of the majority of individuals within their field.
"Simply put, Lori Bowden, Heather Fuhr and Lance Watson have put Canadian triathlon community on the map," said Luc Landriault, president, Triathlon Canada. "Equally as remarkable as their performances on the field of play, these exceptional Canadians are key role models for our sport, who encourage young and old regardless of ability to swim, bike and run. It is a tremendous honour to welcome them into Triathlon Canada's Hall of Fame."
A date and location for an official induction ceremony this summer will be finalized in the spring.
The Athletes and Builders inducted into Triathlon Canada's Hall of Fame represent the history and achievements of the sport of triathlon in Canada. The Hall of Fame members are diverse and exceptional individuals, with Long Distance Triathletes, Standard Distance Triathletes, Coaches, Race Directors and Executives all among the inductees.
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 www.triathloncanada.com on the Internet.