Tara Whitten

 Tara Whitten, cyclist (born at Toronto, Ont, 13 July 1980). Though born in Toronto, Tara Whitten has spent most of her life in Edmonton. In 2008 she became a top-ranked CYCLIST in Canada, though introduction to elite competitive sports began with cross-country skiing, in which she competed for many years as a member of the national team.

Early Career and Skiing

During her undergraduate years at the UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, Whitten ran cross country as a member of the U of A Pandas team. She took four years off from school and moved to Canmore to train for the national CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING team; the commitment paid off, with Whitten winning a silver medal at the 2003 Under-23 World Championships.

Whitten got her first track bike in 2005, and began cycling for fun and fitness, while continuing to compete in cross-country skiing. In 2007, she made the switch to cycling competitively and quickly garnered international attention in the field. In her first full season (2008) Whitten won the points race and individual pursuit at the Canadian National Track Championships.

International Competition

International success began in 2009, when Whitten took silver medals at the Track World Cup in Copenhagen and the Track Cycling World Championships in Poland; in the same year she won the National Time Trial Championships and the Tour de PEI. Her achievements continued in 2010, when she won her first world title at the Track World Championships in the omnium and the points race. She ended 2010 with a gold medal in the road time trial and three bronze medals in track cycling at the COMMONWEALTH GAMES in Delhi. Her performance earned her the honour of carrying the Canadian flag at the closing ceremony.

In 2011, Whitten retained her world championship title in the omnium at the World Track Championships. At the 2012 Olympics in London, Whitten won the bronze medal--with Jasmin Glaesser and Gillian Carleton--in the team pursuit. She and her teammates also won bronze in the team pursuit at the World Championships in Melbourne that year.

Academic Success

In addition to cycling, Whitten attends the University of Alberta, where she is pursuing a PhD in neuroscience. She has been the recipient of scholarships from Alberta Ingenuity and NSERC during her academic career.

CHERYL WILLIAMS