Photo Supplied By @fotorunners
WINNIPEG – His Athletic ability has allowed him to compete in all 4 corners of the globe.
This “energetic kid’ from Oak Bluff has spent time recovering from a broken jaw in a New Plymouth, New Zealand hospital bed. He was once detained mistakenly in a Belgian Jail Cell.
He has sipped fine beer in Japan. Experienced sunsets in Abu Dhabi. Sunrises on the Gold Coast.
He has called Australia home. He now lives in the Basque Region of Northern Spain.
This almost sounds like one of those commercials for the World’s Most Interesting Man. But in truth, it’s a Cole’s Notes version of the life and times – to date- of Winnipeg Triathlete Tyler Mislawchuk.
What’s more remarkable, is the broken jaw he suffered in March of 2014, as a result of a cycling pile up during a competition, required facial and dental surgery. So because of the time off needed to recover, his window to qualify for the Rio Olympics was reduced from 24 to 12 months. But Tyler defied the odds by compiling enough points in World Triathlon Series events, to officially punch his ticket to Brazil when he was named to Team Canada in late June.
And at the age of 21, he is excelling in a sport where most athletes peak in their late 20’s or early 30’s. And even more remarkable, it has only been 5 or 6 years since he took up Triathlon- as a single sport.
“I did hockey, lacrosse, football, soccer, curling, baseball; I did pretty much everything. For me at the start, it was all about the love for sport. I had a lot of energy as a kid and I just loved getting outside. It was a way my parents could keep me out of trouble, they’d send me to sports and I’d burn off energy that way. My love for sports just grew and eventually I found my way into Triathlon about 15-16-years-old. Triathlon has given me a lot including my first Olympic Games experience and I’m nothing but grateful for it.”
Mislawchuk says hockey was probably the sport that prepared him best for the transition to triathlon. So between running, cycling, and swimming- which discipline does he prefer over the other two.
“Had you ask me five years ago, I’d say running, hands down. Now I consider myself more of an all-around athlete. If we’re talking completely for a joy aspect, I enjoy biking the most because I’m able to get out on my bike and explore new ride, new routes and get out with nature and just time to myself.”
Mislawchuk says he realizes how fortunate he is. “Had you said five years from now Tyler you’ll be living in Spain and going to the Olympics, I would have probably laughed in your face and said take a hike funny man. I realize how fortunate I am to do what I do and live the lifestyle that I do. It’s not always easy. Some days you wake up and are kind of limping out of bed because you just finished a seven hour training day the day before. Some days you wake up, it’s easier and you love life. Just with any elite sport there’s a lot ups and down, but at the end of the day sports have given me so much and makes me smile, so I can’t complain really.”
And helping him share that dream in Rio will be younger, but taller sister Madison who rows and plays other sports recreationally while studying at the University of Winnipeg to become a teacher.
Dad Fred is a veteran TV Camera Man with TSN who has been the recipent of a few coffee cups from the different countries Tyler has competed in. Mom Eleanor is a video specialist with the Police Service Recruitment Department.
Also joining Tyler in Rio will be 3 special Canadian Olympic team mates, who just happen to be fellow alumnae of Vincent Massey Collegiate.
“It’s pretty phenomenal that we all came from the sports program there and now we all find ourselves on our own separate road to Rio. Me and Chantal (Van Landeghem) actually graduated together. I messaged her as soon as she qualified and congratulated her and she did the same with me. There’s actually a good story in there. At graduation there’s always silly awards, but one of the more serious ones, the 500 person graduating class voted for most likely to go to the Olympics and both Chantal and myself won that award. It’s pretty funny we’re both standing here together and will be in Rio together.”
A few personal notes about Tyler Mislawchuk. He’ll always be happy to whip up a stir fry with chicken or steak. Or a homemade pizza with natural ingredients. But tuna is never part of his diet.
“100 per cent, won’t eat it. From when I first tasted it, smelt it, it’s probably the only food in the entire world that I will not it. If I’m in the company of someone else and they make me anything, I’ll eat everything except for Tuna.”
But he will sit down and binge watch previous seasons of Lost, or his favorite Movie, Talladega Nights. And a terrific Triathlon in Rio, a week from Thursday on August 18th, would certainly create “The Legend of Tyler Mislawchuk.”