Barrie Shepley had his eureka moment while working a summer job in an auto plant.

Captivated by Canadian swimmer Alex Baumann racing to gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Shepley realized that he wanted to be in elite sport.  His skillset was best suited to being a coach.

Chasing greatness began with hustling. Starting from his residence room at McMaster University, he bootstrapped and helped triathlon move from a loose structure into something with a foundation, a fanbase and young athletes who would become its long-term future. One of them, first spotted in Sharbot Lake, Ont., was Simon Whitfield.

Eventually Shepley became Canada’s national triathlon coach for several years beginning in 1991. In 2000, all his groundwork was validated when Whitfield became the first Olympic men’s triathlon champion at the Sydney Olympics.

In Chasing Greatness, Shepley shares his experiences working with elite athletes and hobbyists who were bent on proving something to themselves. In addition to his commentary work, Shepley is cofounder of Personal Best, a Caledon, Ont.-based health and wellness firm that works with corporate and individual clients.