A place of Gathering
“I have been asked to write about the enormous contribution a community of people whose foresight and frankly audacity, to build a facility, and with it a high performance culture, allowed for an equally audacious athlete to succeed in his pursuit of sporting excellence-S”
I arrived in Victoria days after the great snow storm of 1996, at the age of 21. I was full of piss and vinegar and ready to take on the world. I had been living in Australia for the past five years and having seen their commitment to sport, the facilities they had built, from National Sports Institutes to community centered gyms and pools, I had an ideal I was in search of – to be completely absorbed in high performance, supported by community, with an aim to express one’s gifts, to represent and to inspire.
Success in high performance sport ultimately comes from proximity. To be amongst it with others, to see each other face to face, to define and refine best practices, to manoeuvre around and beyond obstacles, and to reinforce the ties that bind us through common enterprise.
To walk into Saanich Commonwealth Place, with its Olympic sized pool, performance dive tank, an ever expanding gym and human resource team, whose foyer had been witness to so many athlete’s dreams, was to be fully immersed in a culture of excellence.
The commitments made by the 94 Games and government, to ensure that any facility built would be done so with the intention of servicing the needs of both the local constituents and high performance sport, were immediately evident.
The symbiotic relationship that has been achieved at Saanich Commonwealth Place between the community and high performance sport is a world leading vision belonging to those that built this exceptionally designed facility, those that implemented the supporting Operating and Trust Fund agreements, and those who sustained the originating philosophy by making only those day-to-day compromises needed to enhance the high performance and community relationships.
Saanich Commonwealth Place is a gathering place, an ideal proving ground, where community activation, high performance engagement and the rituals associated generate optimized outcomes, optimism, and worthy causes. A Place where outcome is greater than the sum of individual parts; where those whom the years have made wiser may be slowing down, where those who still have so much to learn and yet have room to speed up are exposed to the experience and counsel of those that walked before them. A Place where all share in the aspirations of those who are expanding the limits to which they once felt confined.
Saanich Commonwealth Place has a legacy that needs support to continue. The effects of the facility construction and agreements can be seen not only on podiums where the Canadian Maple Leaf flies high but also at every single day – in the pool, on the deck, and in the foyer.
I ask that you ensure, protect, and support this heritage by renewing the unique access and operating agreements that have enabled 25 years of high performance sport at Saanich Commonwealth Place, and will hopefully be there to support the next generations of athlete and community youth to achieve their dreams.
Olympic Champion Triathlon
Olympic Silver medalist
Four time Olympian
Canadian Flag bearer London 2012
(twitter) Dearest -
I lost my voice when I became afraid of those who might take offence and convict me for what I had to say as they are just words for if we were face to face I would arrive vulnerable humble grateful and in this you will see peace in me constructive defiance an i within a we -Awei
I am tempted by further prouncement, to peacock and support one side; as if I should lend my voice, and yet, i now stay silent, as a gesture, empty space, silence as ease, so you may hear yourself think, and then decide without fear of the echo in this dark chamber-shear
(twitter) Dearest Mother-
it has come to my attention that the postcards I write to you, as previously stated, random musings and irrelevant thoughts, are being read and read into by onlookers and voyagers who may feel the need to comment as to their validity and value; enjoy, with a grain of salt, S
I wrote and I wrote late into the night, and sometimes at the crack of dawn, I scribbled notes and added thoughts, reappropriated, reconfigured, bent and reformed the previously stated, to suit a current agenda, and came up with, well, this..-S
If only I could capture these fleeting thoughts narrating and nattering away inside my head, these whirling snippets, internal proposals to which I wish to add comment, to compose, in concise yet eloquent soliloquies, a tangible response, a discourse, an impactful contribution, or not, just a thought, somewhat irrelevant-S
Rudy, Joan, Brandon and Rustin- on July 1st 1988, I sat on the roof of your house watching Canada day fireworks having decided from our perch that indeed it was not possible to dive from the roof to the backyard pool, and therefor the start line for the Hollywood house triathlon would have to be the deck, and that after endless ten meter laps and a backyard transition the perfect bike course would require us to navigate the block at breakneck speeds on our litespeed geronimos before dismounting and running around the park and sprinting to the finish in time for the bbq!!!
My love of triathlon, as a festival of sport, the community of athletes, volunteers, officials and race directors, began at Sharbot Lake where we, triathletes, trirudy athletes, aspired to see what we were truly capable of, and share in a grand outdoor excursion together, wearing speedos.
I am Grateful to know you and I look forward to once again swimming, biking, running.. and pint’ing with you in the future.
Simon St.Quentin Whitfield
Those who are of singled minded focus, and determined resolve, define themselves by the manner to which they apply themselves, each and every time, within any and all endeavours, and it is in this way one would describe Kyle Jones.
A man of principle, his adherence to a simple ethos, discipline, as a disciple unto himself, consumed by attention to detail, orientated to a standard of excellence, attained through daily ritual and driven intention, based on the belief that satisfaction, a satiation of the hungry that drives us, comes from ones ability to put one foot in front of the other, and endure the grit and the determination required, to accomplish the task, no matter the obstacle.
Kyle, it’s a privilege to know you my friend, in my mind you help define one end of the spectrum, as a man who lives into his values, and expresses his gifts.
At the end of the day what more can we ask.
Simon St.Quentin Whitfield