A triathlon requires you to be a great runner, cyclist and swimmer. Do you have a favourite?
My favourite sport to train can change daily depending on what I am doing well, how tired I am, even the weather. It's awful riding a bike in the rain when you could be swimming. I love that there’s so much training diversity and choices: swim in the pool or in the lake, ride in the mountains, run along the beach or run free in the forests...
You’ve been winning triathlons since 1998. What’s your favourite memory of the sport so far?
Obviously the natural choice is to think of major successes but in reality my favourite memories of triathlon are the amazing locations I have had opportunities to race in. Often we race in the middle of big cities - London Hyde Park, Sydney Opera House, Chicago waterfront, Venice Beach into downtown LA (to name a few) - but my favourites are the tropical island races like Hamilton Island; Hawaii' Ishigakijima, Japan; and Bintan, Indonesia. A lasting experience was when winning the Laguna Phuket International Triathlon getting to race by a baby elephant to the finish line!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Listen to you," when questioning myself to stick true to what I believe. We all have the answers, we just have to take to time to listen to ourselves.
What character traits do you think best describe the Australian Olympic spirit?
Australian grit, the will to work hard and the respect of being an Australian Olympian. We are a small country (in terms of population) that well and truly fights above our weight in international sports.
Where are your favourite places to hang out when you’re at home on the Gold Coast?
There is nowhere like home. I travel so often during the year that there is nothing better than just hanging by the pool or on the couch with my family. Living on the Gold Coast feels like a holiday. I live on a fresh water lake where I do a lot of my swim training
Do you have a favourite holiday destination?
At this stage of my life it is anywhere or anytime I can go snowboarding. My last trip was to Niseko, Japan. A snow trip is special because I grew up on the Gold Coast surfing. Spent the better part of my life following an endless summer doing triathlons. So as much as I love the heat, the cold is something new.
Where will we be seeing you in five years?
Right now I love what I do but who knows how much longer I will race? But to start thinking ahead would only mean that I am not one hundred percent committed to my job at the moment and that is to put together the perfect swim, bike, run combination and have a ball while doing it.
Courtney Atkinson is an accomplished athlete whose talent was realised within one year of entering triathlons. At 16 years of age, Courtney won the U20 Junior National Title, an award which he went onto hold for three years. In 1999, Courtney became the World Junior Triathlon Champion as well as a four time national champion. In 2008, Courtney made his debut at the Beijing Olympic Games and finished 11th in the triathlon. Courtney followed up his Olympic success with a first place finish in the Noosa Triathlon in 2010, which was his third in a row.