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Young Adult Nonfiction Olympics & Paralympics

Simon Says Gold

Simon Whitfield's Pursuit of Athletic Excellence

by (author) Simon Whitfield & Cleve Dheensaw

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Oct 2009
Olympics & Paralympics, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Sports & Recreation
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2009
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2009
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 8 to 12
  • Reading age: 12 to 18


From the moment Simon Whitfield burst onto the world stage at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games as triathlon's first Olympic champion, his winning personality and stellar athletic abilities have inspired young people around the globe.
In Simon Says Gold, Simon describes his personal journey to Olympic glory as he recounts not only that glorious day in Sydney, but also the anguish of failing to repeat as Olympic champion in Athens in 2004, and his dramatic comeback at the 2008 Beijing Games, when his exhilarating race to a silver medal enthralled millions of fans around the world. Simon's stories of the highs and lows of his running career will captivate readers young and old, but his real message—that the simple pursuit of excellence is its own reward—will also inspire and motivate. Not everyone can be an Olympian. Simon Whitfield believes that true greatness is in performing to the best of one's ability. The reward is in the effort, not the outcome.

About the authors

Simon Says Gold includes Simon Whitfield's instructions on training—his advice is bound to surprise young athletes in any sport—and includes stories about family, friends, coaches, teachers and mentors—all those who have had a lasting impact on his life and helped make him a champion. Simon lives in Victoria, British Columbia. For more information, visit

Simon Whitfield's profile page

Cleve Dheensaw has been a sportswriter with the Victoria Times Colonist for twenty-eight years. He has covered a total of six Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Cleve lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Cleve Dheensaw's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Best Books
  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily nominee

Excerpt: Simon Says Gold: Simon Whitfield's Pursuit of Athletic Excellence (by (author) Simon Whitfield & Cleve Dheensaw)

I caught Vuckovic, and not a moment too soon. There were only about a hundred meters remaining. I flew past him, and he could not respond to my push. I was running away from him. Running toward my destiny. Running toward Olympic glory and gold. Running toward a finish line banner that every Olympian dreams of crossing first.

Editorial Reviews

"An interesting book that takes a look at what it really takes to be an Olympic athlete...Any school library that serves a population of sports fans or Olympic enthusiasts should consider adding this volume to their collection."

Resource Links

"The author has captured Whitfield's candour and an engaging sense of humour in a straightforward, balanced writing style that brings this sports hero to the accessible level of the guy next door…For any aspiring young athlete feeding on the climate of high excitement at the approaching 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Simon's story will be inspirational. Highly Recommended."

CM Magazine

"[Simon's] honesty about his failures and uncertainty, as well as the dizzying excitement of victory, provides the drama in this action-packed biography…The star's personal highs and lows (he remembers his first triathlon when he was a teen), along with the details about preparing for the triathlon's three sports--running, cycling, and swimming--will grab teen athletes and fans…Readers will look forward to cheering Whitfield on in 2012."

Booklist Online

"[Whitfield] tells his story with candor, and he sheds light on the dark side of early success and the pressures athletes face…Participants and fans of track and field will enjoy Whitfield's insider's perspective and cheer his determined comeback."

School Library Journal

Librarian Reviews

Simon Says Gold: Simon Whitfield’s Pursuit of Athletic Excellence

This autobiographical account celebrates the famous Victoria athlete, who became the world’s first Olympic Gold medal winner in the inaugural Triathlon event at the 2000 Sydney Games. Whit field’s bright, humorous and determined personality and his relentless drive to become a world-class champion are revealed. Anecdotes from his supportive parents, coaches and other athletes enhance this look inside the life of a sport’s hero. His defeat in the 2004 Athens Games became a springboard for regaining the podium at the 2008 Bejing Games. Several double-pages with captioned colour photographs highlight his friendly nature. Also included are Triathlon 101 sidebars with facts, history and instruction on the sport.

Dheensaw is a Victoria sports journalist.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2010-2011.

Simon Says Gold: Simon Whitfield’s Pursuit of Athletic Excellence

This fascinating biography of Simon Whitfield documents his personal journey to Olympic glory at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games — where he became the triathlon’s first Olympic champion — to the anguish of failing to repeat as Olympic champion in Athens in 2004 and then to his dramatic comeback at the Beijing 2008 Games. It was in Beijing that his race to take the silver medal enthralled millions of fans worldwide.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

Other titles by Simon Whitfield