Welch keen to watch nomad’ Butterfield
Greg Welch has hailed Tyler Butterfield as “an epic journeyman” and is excited to watch him spearhead Bermuda’s mixed relay team at the Commonwealth Games.
After the Glasgow Games in 2014, Butterfield decided to focus on the longer form of the sport, with a view to conquering the Hawaii Ironman World Championships in Kona.
However, the appeal of racing for the first time in the same team as Flora Duffy persuaded him to alter his plans.
“Tyler’s a nomad type of guy and he’s got the farm in Colorado,” said Australian Welch, who is considered one of the greatest triathletes of all time.
“He competes all around the world but nobody seems to take any notice.
“He’s very quiet and very good, and happily flies under the radar.”
Butterfield is “up for anything”, says Welch, with the 35-year-old also competing in the individual sprint-distance race tomorrow, which goes against his body’s skill set, and the marathon.
“I’m really happy to see him compete and he knows what the big stage is,” said Welch, the guest speaker at the Bermuda Triathlon Association awards ceremony in 2015.
“He’s been to two Olympics [2004 Athens and 2012 London] and Kona several times. The big names take all of the headlines, but it’s Tyler who ghosts in and takes fifth [in Hawaii in 2015].”
Welch, who won the Hawaii Ironman in 1994, hopes Butterfield sticks around for another two years when the mixed team relay makes its debut at the Toyko Olympics.
“I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Bermuda could pull a nice little team together in 2020,” the 52-year-old added. “Forty seems to be the new 30 and there are guys like Kiwi Cameron Brown, who is 45 and just finished third at the Ironman New Zealand last month.
“Tyler obviously likes a challenge and he’s going to be doing two sports [on the Gold Coast]. He’ll have to work his butt off!”
Welch, who was forced into early retirement at 35 because of a heart condition, will return to the island next month to commentate on the WTS Bermuda.
“I’ll be there and I can’t wait,” he said. “Bermuda is one of the most fun places to visit.
“I got second in a sprint finish in a World Cup race [in Bermuda] in 1997. I’ll be coming back just to run down Front Street flat out again to try and take my own victory!”
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