June 15, 2019 6:00 am

Homegrown Manitoban Olympian triathlete looking ahead to 2020 games

Tyler Mislawchuk

Canadian Olympic Committee
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A homegrown Olympian is getting prepared for a trip to Japan next year to represent his country on the world’s biggest stage.

Manitoba triathlete Tyler Mislawchuk, 24, is heading to Tokyo to compete in the 2020 Summer Olympics – the next step in a stellar athletic career that saw him finish 15th at the Rio games in 2016 at the tender age of 21.

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Mislawchuk told 680 CJOB that he still has a hard time believing he’s ended up as a top-flight athlete, and that he would have laughed if someone had to told his 18-year-old self about the path his life would take.

“It’s crazy to think that I’m doing as a full-time thing now,” he said. “I never thought, when I was going to high school, that I would be a professional athlete, so it’s been a wild journey.

“I had so much energy (as a kid) that one of the teachers in Grade 6 actually bought me an exercise ball for class. I had to sit on that as my chair, as all the other students had normal chairs… so I had the energy early for this, but not even putting it into the right things.”

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Even after trying triathlon for the first time, he said it didn’t really click for him for a little while.

“I said, ‘that was way too hard, mom. I’m not doing that.’ … It wasn’t love at first sight, as they say.”

Based on his recent competitive record, however, it obviously caught on.

Mislawchuk has travelled the world on the ITU World Triathlon Series, and impressed with his performances at World Cups in Europe and Asia. He said a big part of what goes into the sport isn’t what fans see on TV.

Planning for factors like heat, climate, time zones, local food, and more are all part of the package that contribute to the success of the overall performance.

READ MORE: Prospective Olympic athletes getting evaluated in Winnipeg

“Sport, from the outside, you watch it on TV and that’s all it is,” he said, “but it’s many hours of preparation and work behind the scenes. You need a whole team behind you.

“I love training, I love racing, I’m a competitor… but those are things if you don’t take care of, you’re not going to be a competitor.”

Mislawchuk is currently back home in Winnipeg and having fun introducing some international friends to the city and province. Triathletes from Ireland, Australia, and a fellow Canadian – who had never visited Winnipeg – are joining him in Manitoba as they prepare for upcoming competitions.

“I’ll take ’em to some nice coffee shops, take ’em downtown, to the Forks,” he said.

“I hope coach isn’t listening, but we’re probably going to go to a brewery or two.”

WATCH: Finding the next Olympians in Manitoba

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