Area teen in parents’ footsteps as she competes at the BC Summer Games

Sierra Cooper is competing in the triathlon at the B.C. Summer Games this weekend. - Photo submitted
Sierra Cooper is competing in the triathlon at the B.C. Summer Games this weekend.
— image credit: Photo submitted


The B.C. Summer Games in Nanaimo take place from July 17 to 20. Nearly 3,000 young athletes from around the province are gearing up for what could be the highlight of their athletic careers to date.

This is especially true for Sierra Cooper, a 13-year-old from Kimberley. Sierra will be competing in the triathlon, a grueling event which will see her swim, bike and run her way to the finish line. Coming from a family of athletes, she definitely knows what is in store for her.

“I’m 13 years old now and I’ve been doing triathlon since I was 5 years old, said Sierra. “For the BC Summer Games, I’m a little nervous, but excited. I’ve picked up my training and have been spending more time with my swimming.”

Her event at the Summer Games will see her competing over the entire weekend, with the most strenuous event happening on Saturday, July 19. The Super Sprint Triathlon has the athletes swimming for 500 metres, biking for 10 kilometres and running for 3 kilometres.

Sierra is known locally as being the winner in her category at this year’s Wasa Triathlon and for coming in first last year in both the Wasa and Fernie events. She is also known as being part of a family dynasty of endurance sport participants.

Her father, Charlie, is travelling with her to the Games as an assistant coach. He has completed nine Ironman competitions over the globe, four of which he came in the top 10 overall. Her mother, Cherie, has completed five Ironman competitions, including being the champion of the 2003 Great White North competition.

For those who are not sure of what an Ironman consists of, consider this; after a 3.86 kilometre swim, competitors then bike 180.25 kilometres and finish off with a 42.2 kilometre run. Those competitions are not for the faint of heart.

“My best time was when I did an Ironman with my wife Cherie in New Zealand,” said Charlie. “I came in just under nine hours.”

While Charlie has taken a break from the Ironman for the past few years, he has channeled that energy into being an organizer for the Wasa Triathlon and coaching his children.

“I guess I’m just trying to pass on my love of sport to my kids,” said Charlie. “When it comes to Sierra, she is very coachable, excited and totally into it.”

He added that the local group, Tri 4 Success ( is great for those interested in trying the sport and that as a multi-sport club, it is a casual group brought together by the love of athletics. The Wasa Triathlon is another venue where beginning athletes can get a taste of competition with just a bit of gear and determination.

As for Sierra’s goals for the coming BC Summer Games, she has a first place finish first in mind.

“I really don’t like to lose,” said Sierra. “I just try to focus on myself and my race and no one else. I guess for my future goal, ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to complete and Ironman with my dad.”

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