Press Release – Triathlon New Zealand
After more than ten years and New Zealand representation at World Championships, Commonwealth and Olympic Games, and multiple World Cup and World Tri Series events, Auckland triathlete Debbie Tanner has decided this weekend’s Barfoot & Thompson ITU World Triathlon Grand Final will bring the curtain down on her career.
30 year old Tanner has carefully considered her decision but knows that the time is right and will say farewell in the season’s Grand Final in Auckland on Saturday.
“After not qualifying for the Olympic Games this year I took some time to look at my future in the sport, dabbled in some non-drafting events and realized my love was for ITU racing.
“But, you cannot compete in this sport half hearted and only give 90%. The goal is always to medal at the Olympic Games and when I realized I could not do this I knew it was time for me to move on.
“And what an epic finale it is to have the World Champs in your backyard to finish on, so the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Grand Final will be my last race.”
Highlights for Tanner include a 4th place finish at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and a World Cup victory in Ishigaki, also in 2006. Add to that 5 World Cup podiums and 14 top ten finishes and you have a career to be proud of, one Tanner acknowledges would not have been possible without some wonderful support.
“I cannot thank enough my coach Pete Pfitzinger who has been on this journey with me for 12 years, he coached me to my first World Cup win, numerous World Cup podiums and Commonwealth and Olympic Games, I have probably been the cause of a few too many grey hairs and a few sleepless nights but know the success I have had has been largely due to the huge amount of time and dedication that Pete has put into my programme. He has taught me so much not just about sport but about life.
“Also to Damian Pedreschi as my past swim coach and mentor, he made me push myself and believe in myself so thank you. Also to Andrew Nicholls, taking the time and effort to support me and my goals and National Coach Greg Fraine for his tireless support of all of us athletes over the last few years, including many miles of cycling alongside us!
“Also to my sponsors whose support means so much, and of course my family – without them a lot of this would have not been possible, to my mum and dad and sister your love and encouragement means the world to me.
“And to my fiancé Nick who not matter how good or bad things went was always there for me and brought me back to reality when I needed it and after nearly 11 years will be glad to have me home for a winter!”
Pete Pfitzinger was quick to acknowledge Tanner in return, praising character traits that have served her well for a long time.
“Debbie has been in the Triathlon NZ high performance programme for over 15 years and I have had the honour of coaching her for 12 years. She started out as the ‘little sister’ of Hamish Carter and grew into a world class triathlete in her own right, reaching number 6 in the world, winning a World Cup race and finishing 10th in the Beijing Olympics. Debbie’s greatest strengths have been her positive attitude, work ethic and resilience.”
Tri NZ National Coach Greg Fraine has also worked with Tanner over the past four years.
“Debbie’s Triathlon career has been one of planned development from young prospect to a strong Olympic performance in Beijing. Although Debbie came into the sport with a strong swimming background her physical and technical ability quickly allowed her to be very proficient in cycling and running. Debbie’s run progression was so good that she emerged as one of the fastest runners in the sport through 2005-2007.
“Debbie has been an integral member of our women’s programme, her results, her attitude and her professionalism are a credit to her and we see her as role model for any aspiring athlete to look up to. She has done what any young athlete will need to do in their future, plan, achieve, survive financially, and overcome hurdles, all while smiling.”
It is only right that Tanner has the last say as she contemplates a diary that might feature less training and more relaxation.
“It has been the most amazing journey that I could have ever asked for! I will forever have a passion for the sport of triathlon and it has given me so much. Memories I will never forget and forever lasting friends from around the world. I am really excited about the future and what it holds and starting a different pathway on another journey.
“I have been involved in this sport long enough to see so many changes and am excited to see the direction and growth it is going in.”
For Debbie Tanner’s career highlights and record, click here