Raised in Victoria, British Columbia, Kirsten Sweetland started competing in triathlons at the age of seven, encouraged by her father, a competitive triathlete in the 1980s. By 15, Kirsten was training full-time with Canada’s National Triathlon Centre, and in 2006, aged 17, she became the first Canadian woman to medal at the Junior World Championships.

Kirsten-Sweetland

Injuries and illnesses have plagued her professional career – she missed the 2008 and 2012 Olympics due to stress fractures in her feet – but her 2014 season got off to a tremendous start with six top-10 finishes in the ITU Triathlon World Cup series and a silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

A bacterial infection picked up during an open water swim then nearly debilitated her once more. She’s been on a steady rise to recovery since and is determined to reclaim her spot at the top of the podium.

“Having to go through so many setbacks has helped me in a lot of ways. I remain calm under less-than-ideal situations and I can turn things around with learned mental resilience,” Kirsten says. “I also appreciate and enjoy being able to do the work and the races, and never take it for granted.”

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