A former Olympic triathlete, Carolyn Murray is ready to pass the torch and help Para triathletes experience the sport on the biggest stage for the first time ever.
Para triathlon will make its Games debut this September at Rio 2016, and Murray will provide the guidance by serving as Canada’s Para triathlon head coach.
“Competing in the Olympics was a huge highlight of my career, it is hard to describe how special it is to have the opportunity to represent Canada at this level,” said Murray, who competed at Beijing 2008. “The path to get to the Games is really what was special, I think.”
Now, she has been on the other side helping the Para triathlon squad on their paths to Rio.
Team Canada’s roster includes: Stefan Daniel (men’s PT4), Chantal Givens (women’s PT4) and Christine Robbins (with her guide Sasha Boulton, women’s PT5).
All four will have their races cut out for them. But Murray has some simple advice:
“We have done the work, and when the race starts it is the same as any other race; swim, bike, run. Let the energy of the crowd help push you along, take this opportunity to leave it all on the course,” Murray said.
Daniel will be one of the Canadian delegations’ top athletes to watch. He is expected to have a tough battle with Germany’s reigning world champion Martin Schulz for the gold medal.
The 19-year-old Daniel capped off a dream season in 2015 with a thrilling victory at the Grand Final in Chicago, USA, over Schulz. But it was too close to call – about 30 seconds separated them – and another close one is expected on Copacabana Beach.
Givens will try to break onto the podium. But tough challenges are ahead in Great Britain’s two-time world champion Lauren Steadman and the USA’s Grace Norman, who is fresh off her first world title following July’s World Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Robbins will have to overcome the odds with Australia’s No. 1 Alison Patrick and her former-Olympian guide Michellie Jones.
“This is a very exciting time for the whole team, the focus for the debut is definitely performance and I know the athletes will rise up to the challenge,” Murray said.
“I work with Stefan daily and have had both Christine [with her guide Sasha] and Chantal for various training camps and competitions through the year,” Murray said. “We are fortunate to have a strong team approach with their home coaches and have all worked together to support these athletes.”
Murray, who started with track and field at a young age, began competing in triathlons in college. Over the years she competed in numerous World Championships and made her way onto the Canadian team in triathlon at Beijing 2008.
After competing in Beijing, Murray transitioned to coaching.
“I was approached my Patrick Kelly who was the national team coach at the time,” she said. “He was looking for an assistant so I started with 10 hours per week and eventually became a full time coach [in 2014 as head coach for the Para triathlon national team].”
Two years later, she will be guiding Canada’s team to the historic debut of the sport.
“I think after the event is showcased in Rio, Para triathlon will grow even more, it is a challenging sport but the rewards are amazing,” Murray said.
Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on paralympic.org. Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.
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