From Justin Trudeau’s bodyguard to life as a triathlete

From Justin Trudeau’s bodyguard to life as a triathlete
From Justin Trudeau’s bodyguard to life as a triathlete

In the space of a few months, Daniel Jean swapped his hat as national security and intelligence advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for that of retiree and triathlon enthusiast, in order to fill his suddenly free schedule.

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• Read also: When triathlon comes to soothe grief

At the dawn of the Ironman 70.3 of Mont-Tremblant, Daniel Jean sometimes has to pinch himself to realize that he will really be at the starting line of the event of 1.9 km of swimming, 90 km of cycling and 21 .1 km run.

After all, at 63 and retired for five years, it is his career and his family that he has always devoted himself to.

Young, until the age of 15, he was a competitive swimmer, even winning a gold medal at the Quebec Games in butterfly at 14. Subsequently, his studies and work took control.

So much so that as national security advisor, Daniel Jean even held positions in Haiti, the United States and Hong Kong, then becoming Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage and later Foreign Affairs.

His extensive track record then led him into the prime minister’s close guard at the end of his career for thorny issues of crisis management. No time to fool around, as someone else would say!

Never too late

In May 2018, when retirement time came, an observation quickly became clear in the mind of the man who had until then devoted his energies to public service.

“My job was 24/7. The hours are long and the little time left I tried to give to my children to support them in their sport.

“When I retired, my number one priority was to regain control of my life. I just wanted to restore my physical and mental health,” he confides.

An old bike, and off you go!


It was first with cycling that Daniel Jean discovered a passion for triathlon.

Photo provided by DANIEL JEAN

The first step was to take up cycling by buying a used bike from a friend. The sting was instantaneous, but you still had to find motivation to get through the winter afterwards.

“I told my wife that for people like us who had lived in countries where there was no winter, the big danger facing me was a sedentary lifestyle. I had to find an activity and that’s when I thought of the triathlon, even if my pet peeve is running,” he says.

Finally, Tremblant!


Before becoming a good runner, Daniel Jean first had to treat plantar fasciitis.

Photo provided by DANIEL JEAN

Since then, Mr. Jean has taken part in a few short distance triathlons until last year, the Ironman 70.3 of Mont-Tremblant found himself at the top of his bucket list. However, at the last moment, forest fires led to the cancellation of the event.

No choice but to get back on track this weekend, after so much training!

“There’s a pride in being able to push even though I’m getting older. I have three grandchildren aged 10, 7 and 18 months. I’m able to go biking with my grandson or play hockey in the basement with him for hours. I have a good quality of life with my grandchildren.

“All of this fuels me and reminds me every day that I chose myself,” realizes the triathlete.

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