After making history as the youngest male triathlete to ever compete at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, Tyler Butterfield upped the ante in London this month by delivering his best ever performance. Butterfield’s stellar showing at the 2012 London Olympic Games – which he dubbed "the highlight" of his career - was the culmination of more than a year’s grueling training and competing around the globe to earn International Triathlon Union qualifying points.
The 29-year-old proudly represented Bermuda at the Olympic Games for the second time when he lined up against 55 of the world’s best short-course triathletes on August 7. "I'm truly pleased with my achievement and the effort I put forth in London," Butterfield announced after the epic race where he outdid his Athens Olympic placement and finished in 34th position. "The Olympic journey is a long one. Much more than just the time spent racing in London."
Butterfield, who became Bermuda’s first professional triathlete in 2002 and is sponsored by Cervelo, has followed in the illustrious footsteps of his parents, both elite athletes in their own right. Jim Butterfield is the only Bermudian to ever compete in rowing at the Olympic level, having placed 14th at the 1972 Munich Olympics, while Debbie Butterfield is a former top distance runner in Bermuda. Both were in London to support their son, along with wife Nikki, daughter Savana and dozen other family members as well as friends and sponsors who watched the event. Throughout the course, Bermudian fans were proudly waving their country’s flag and shouting encouragement to Butterfield.
After a strong swim where he emerged from the water in the fifth pack, Butterfield employed his cycling skill on his Cervelo S5 to aggressively bridge the gap between his pack and the next. After seeing that this pack was unable to cut into the gap opened up by the lead group, Butterfield launched a solo attack and rode into T2 20 seconds ahead of the group he had dropped, yet still one minute down from the race leaders. This technique earned him the fastest bike split of the day at 58:32 over the 43-kilometer course. After an intense effort on the bike, Butterfield then ran a 31:52 split, one of the fastest 10-kilometer times he has ever posted.
"I chose to push the pace on the bike, knowing it would be hard to run well off it, but I was not content to sit back while the race was going on ahead," he said of his approach to the race. "Regardless of not being able to bridge the final gap, I was intent on giving it my all until I reached the finish. Because of this I ended up riding the last lap alone."
Butterfield will now focus on non-drafting events, mostly in the U.S., and also hopes to qualify for the 2013 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.