March 26, 2024 3 min read

Canadian Women In Triathlon History

Triathlon is a very young sport and it's history is still being written. Cam and I (Elise) have been involved in triathlon one way or another since the beginning so a lot memories we have of our early days in the sport are really our observations of the birth of this sport.  When we read old articles (note: this comment is likely only relevant to those of us who recall the old days of magazines and still have a huge cache of them), it prompts a memory rather than informs us of something we didn't already know.  We have lived this history and we have met many of the legends, men and women.  Here we go!

And please note that this little article isn't intended to be an exhaustive history of women in triathlon, not at all. I just hope it prompts us to be mindful of the fact that our sport might not have a perfect record of gender equality, it has been inclusive from the beginning. Further, issues of equality have a voice in this sport an dthe lines of communication are open which goes is more than we see in many other sports.  But we need to remain mindful and vigilant going forward.  Nothing that has been achieved can be assumed to be permanent new new issues can and will arise in gender acknowledgement and equality.  Women will remain engaged and continue to have a voice if our history tells us anything.


Women Have Been Part of Triathlon History Since The Beginning

The sport of triathlon is younger than many and women have been accepted as relatively equal partners in terms of inclusion. The very first Ironman held on the island of Oahu was a small event with only 15 people. While the reference to "15 men" is common in historical references, one woman, Lyn Lemaire, was there. Women have been in this sport from the beginning. Pay and full opportunity equity took longer and we can never relax and assume the work is done. Women will continue to work to maintain an even footing in this as well as other aspects of life and culture. News flash: we're pretty tough so never rule us out!!! So, let's take today, International Women's Day 2024 to celebrate the brave, strong and powerful women in our sport, ourselves included.

Renowned pro triathlete, Gwen Jorgenson, shared her thoughts on the subject in an article posted on You can find the full article in the link below.

Canadian Women In Triathlon

When I started searching for images and stories on the subject "women in triathlon", most of the references I came across were American. There were a few European, Aussie and Kiwi refences but not a single Canadian reference appeared on the first search page.  I knew better, though, frm our own experience with the many Canadiand women we'd met and watched in this sport.  Canada has a pretty rich and strong history of tough, talented and powerful women who have succeeded in this sport, so I thought today would be a great day to start celebrate the Canadian women who have been or still are putting Canada on the triathlon map.

Left to right, top to bottom:

  • Lori Bowen
    Heather Fuhr
    Sylviane and Patricia Puntous
    Lisa Bentley
    Melanie McQuaid
    Paula Findlay
    Joanne Ritchie
    Carol Montgomery
    Angela Naeth


One final thought on developing a strong mindset:  change how you see something to go from 'impossible' to 'possible'.  

Elise Gaudet
Elise Gaudet

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