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Vancouver Playing Host to Top International Ironman Athletes

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“Olympic Battle” pits winter versus summer Olympians.

This Sunday marks the third year of the Subaru Vancouver International Triathlon. The event, held at the beautiful Spanish Banks and University of British Columbia Endowment Lands, will host a record 600 professional and amateur athletes from eight different countries racing either the half-Ironman distance (2 km swim, 90 km bike and 20 km run) or the shorter sprint event. Some of these athletes may be racing for the first time while others use the race as preparation for Ironman Canada or the legendary Ironman Hawaii. With the pro prize purse being $10,000, and the race being nationally televised on Rogers Sportsnet, the event has attracted a number of top international stars.

Returning to fight for the title are 2008’s defending champions and Canadians Jasper Blake and Cheryl Murphy. Blake’s competition this year will consist of five-time international Ironman Champion Jason Shortis of Australia, and top Ironman 70.3 pro’s Brent Poulsen (CAN), Jordan Rapp (US), and Justin Park (US). In the women’s race, Murphy will compete against Canadian favourite Magali Tisseyre, who holds the worlds fastest women’s half ironman time in the world this year, Linsey Corbin (US), top North American finisher at last years Hawaii Ironman (5th), Bree Wee (US), who was in the lead in last year’s race before going off course and falling two spots, and local Rachel Keirs, who narrowly missed the win with a 2nd place after a sprint finish.

To add to the excitement of the upcoming 2010 Olympics, the Vancouver event will host a fun “Olympic Battle,” where a team of 2010 winter Olympians will compete against three teams of summer Olympians in a Sprint distance relay. The 2010 team members include snowboarder, Derek Wintermans, Team Canada bobsledder, Danaka Porter and biathlete, Jessica Sedlock. Summer Olympians participating include swimmers Kelly Stefanyshyn and Mark Johnston, windsurfer and sailor, Nikola Girke, “Men’s 8 Gold Medal Rowers” team with Ben Rutledge as captain, and 2008 “Rockin’ Olympic Rower Chicks” led by Darcy Marquardt.