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Profile of Olympic Athlete Sheila Taormina

Livonia Native First U.S. Athlete to Compete in Three Sports in the Olympics

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Sheila Taormina at the Honolulu Triathlon in 2004

Sheila Taormina at the Honolulu Triathlon in 2004

Photo by Marco Garcia / Getty Images Sport
Updated August 21, 2013

The 2008, Beijing Olympics will be the fourth for Olympic-athlete Sheila Taormina; she competed in swimming in 1996 and in a Triathlon in 2000 and 2004. At 39 years old, Taormina shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, she's adding a lot more skills to her repertoire. In Beijing, she'll compete in the Modern Pentathlon, a sport with five separate events.

Michigan Connection:

Born, raised and lives (when not in training) in Livonia, Michigan

Birth Date:

March 18th, 1969

Olympic Events:

  • Swimming
  • Triathlon (open-water swimming, road cycling, road running)
  • Pentathlon (shooting, fencing, pool swimming, cross-country running and horse-show jumping –- her favorite of the new sports)

Swimming:

Taormina competed in her first Olympics in 1996 as a swimmer after failing to qualify in 1988 and 1992. The disappointment from these prior attempts was forgotten when she set an Olympic record and won a gold medal in the 800m freestyle relay in Atlanta, Georgia.

Triathlon:

Taormina started to compete in Triathlons after she won a Splash’n Dash in Whitmore Lake in 1998. She eventually moved on to become the 2004 World Triathlon Champion.

Modern Pentathlon:

These days, her sport is the Modern Pentathlon. When she competes in Beijing, she'll be the first U.S. athlete to compete in three sports in the Olympics. This benchmark was a motivating factor in choosing yet another sport. She initially tried cross-country skiing -- appropriate to her native Michigan -- but eventually chose the Modern Pentathlon for competition. She initially trained in Coldwater, Florida until 2006, when she moved to Colorado Springs to train under Coach Janusc Peciak.

Personal Life:

  • Youngest of eight children
  • Swam and ran track at Livonia Stevenson High School
  • Earned a B.A. in Business and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Georgia
  • Owns Sheila T. Inc., a company through which she does motivational speaking and swimming and triathlon coaching.

Official Website:

Sheila Taormina

Highlights of Modern Pentathlon Record:

2007: Silver Medal in World Cup #2, Cairo, Egypt.

2006:
  • Gold Medal in 2006 U.S. Open and Senior Modern Pentathlon National Championships, Colorado Springs
  • Bronze Medal in 2006 World Cup #1, Acapulco, Mexico
2005: Gold Medal in 2005 NORCECA/Pan American Championships, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Blips:

  • During the Switzerland World Cup Triathlon Event, Taormina accidentally put on the wrong bike shoes when transitioning from swimming to biking. She was able to correct it without falling too far behind. Later in the race, she crashed her bike during a turn but still finished.

  • Taormina was the victim of stalker in recent years.

Sources:

  • TeamUSA.org
  • MSNBC.com
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