WINNIPEG — Triathlete Tyler Mislawchuk is facing some trying times.
Following a hugely successful junior career, the 19-year-old was competing in the first World Cup race of the season alongside Olympic medalists in New Zealand when disaster struck during the bike portion of the race.
“Three or four guys went down in front of me” said Mislawchuk. “And then I went down and got run over by a few guys but don’t really remember that much from it.”
The crash ended his racing season, giving him four weeks of a liquid diet after snapping off some teeth and breaking his jaw.
“It was snapped at a 45 degree angle, so they basically had to snap it back into place and place four titanium bolts in my mouth,” said Mislawchuk. “The surgery was the easy part, the actual break was the hard part. I remember as soon as I went down, I was yelling if I could get painkillers. I’ve broken wrists and legs and ribs and everything else and I would break all those over breaking a jaw again — just the most painful thing that I’ve ever experienced.”
Mislawchuk is back on soft foods and has started working out again with the help of physiologist Daryl Hurrie, who has him using an anti-gravity treadmill to keep his fitness levels up.
“When you run you have impact, and the jarring causes the jaw to move around, which is counterproductive to recovery,” said Hurrie. “We use a very specialized treadmill and they essentially unweight Tyler a percentage of his total body weight, thus reducing the impact forces.”
Mislawchuk is hoping to be back in competition shape in time for the World Championship in August so he can get back on track towards his goal of reaching the Olympic Games.
“I think he has a realistic goal,” said Gary Pallett, the head coach of the Manitoba National Triathlon Centre. “2016 is a maybe, 2020 for sure.”