Jamie Turner Unfurls Triathlon Magic in The Gong
In the late 1990s New Zealander Jamie Turner, Triathlon Canada’s current coach, earmarked the beachside mecca of Wollongong in New South Wales as an ideal locale to train a squad of elite triathletes, who have adopted the unofficial moniker of the “Wollongong Wizards.”
In quick time Turner began to assemble a montage of athletes looking for a home-base that boasted both an ideal climate, world-class infrastructure and a competitive, but welcoming, group training ethos. Word spread of this new training ground with its immense natural beauty, along with the group dynamics and the high quality “all substance, no fluff” style of coaching.
Prior to teaming up with Triathlon Canada in 2013, Turner worked with Triathlon Australia. But after the London Olympics in 2012 the Australian governing body banned national coaches from working with foreign athletes, which prompted his resignation. He believes that a multinational training group offers a better course toward future success.
“It’s a fusion model,” Turner says. “There’s a recent trend where many of the consistent medalists are coming from a multinational environment.”
To his credit, Turner has harnessed a disciplined, competitive yet jovial atmosphere within the squad. He is big on individual responsibility and requires all athletes take ownership of their careers.
“I don’t expect the athletes to make a contribution to anyone else’s environment. Everything has to be for the individual’s betterment.”
His methods embody a long-term approach that pays a lot of attention to specific, individualised detail. There’s not necessarily a goal to create a team environment or dynamic. Rather than homogenizing the group, each athlete gets treated as a single entity. They need to take ownership of their training. Turner suggests that, rather than raw talent, success comes from “the athlete taking control and making change happen as a result of a strong work ethic.”
Original article by Kevin Mackinnon, Triathlon Magazine Canada, August 3, 2016.