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Kona Champions: Where Are They Now?

These athletes have all won the coveted Ironman World Championship title—some of them more than once—but what are they doing now?

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The title of “Ironman World Champion” is one that can never be taken away – just ask Chrissie Wellington or Tim DeBoom. But as many of these legends will tell you, that’s not the only title they answer to. These athletes have all won the coveted Ironman World Championship title—some of them more than once—but what are they doing now? We take a look at the full roster of Ironman champs, starting with our most recent and stretching all the way back to the first race in 1978.

Can’t get enough Ironman World Championship coverage? Visit our Kona Hub for news, analysis, history, photo galleries, and so much more – new stories added daily from our team on the ground at the Big Island.

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Women’s Kona Champs: Where are they now?

Daniela Ryf

Years Won: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021

Country Represented: Switzerland

Instagram 

Daniela Ryf has been competing in triathlon since her teen years when she raced at the Junior Olympics. After alerting the world to her prowess in 2015 by taking down then-champ Mirinda Carfrae, Ryf has hardly missed a beat. She had a difficult 2021 and early 2022, citing health problems, but came roaring back to victory when she destroyed the women’s pro field at the 2021 Ironman World Championship in St. George. Ryf has been training in Maui leading up to Kona this year. We know she’s out for blood.

RELATED: Recalled: Daniela Ryf’s Very First Kona Win

Anne Haug

Years Won: 2019

Country Represented: Germany

Instagram

Anne is known for her running prowess, often clocking sub-six-minute miles in 70.3 and shorter races. In 2019, as former World Champ Daniela Ryf faded due to a stomach bug, Anne stepped up and dominated the marathon in a blistering 2 hours, 51 minutes. Today, Anne is still a threat on the course and plans on giving Kona her strongest performance yet next week.

Mirinda Carfrae

(Photo: John David Becker)

Years Won: 2010, 2013, 2014

Country Represented: Australia

Instagram

“Rinny” remains a prominent figure in the pro racing scene while raising two children alongside partner and fellow pro triathlete Tim O’Donnell. Mirinda continues to rack up podiums including multiple top three finishes at a variety of 70.3s this past year.

Leanda Cave

Years Won: 2012

Country Represented: United Kingdom

Instagram

Leanda Cave never left the triathlon scene after her big win in Kona and went on to be a force in long course racing well into the 2010s. Today, Leanda is a tri coach and stays true to her endurance roots by competing in ultra-distance events; she’ll be racing the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii this November.

RELATED: Triathlete Hour Podcast: How Many Distances Can Leanda Cave Win?

Chrissie Wellington

(Photo: Alvis Upitis/Getty Images)

Years Won: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011

Country Represented: United Kingdom

Twitter

Chrissie Wellington resides full time in the UK, raising her young daughter. Chrissie now pushes her limits for the fun of it and can often be found preparing for some epic bike-packing or ultramarathon trail adventure.

RELATED: From the Archive: Chrissie Wellington’s Mind-Over-Body Battle

Michellie Jones

Years Won: 2006

Country Represented: Australia

Instagram

Michellie Jones owns and operates “Giddy Up Coaching” and still races locally in Southern California as an age group athlete. She has also coached the UC San Diego collegiate club triathlon team. She has also served as a guide in the Paralympic Games for gold medalist Katie Kelly.

RELATED: Kona Legend: 2006 Champion Michellie Jones

Natascha Badmann

Natascha Badmann
(Photo: Lois Schwartz)

Years Won: 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005

Country Represented: Switzerland

Instagram

Badmann remains a consistent presence in the Ironman community, offering classes on mental toughness training and frequently sharing the keys to her successful career across multiple Instagram posts. She and reigning World Champ Daniela Ryf even sat down once together to discuss their multiple world titles.

RELATED: Recalled: Natascha Badmann’s Ironman Reign

Lori Bowden

Years Won: 1999, 2003

Country Represented: Canada

Lori Chestnut (née Bowden) has no social media we could find, but some sleuthing revealed that she currently resides in her home country of Canada and helps organize the yearly Victoria Goodlife Fitness Marathon. Lori was inducted in the Ironman Hall of Fame in 2015.

Heather Fuhr

Years Won: 1997

Country Represented: Canada

You don’t have to look far to find where Heather Fuhr ended up – she is currently the VIP and Professional Athlete Services Manager for World Championship Events for Ironman. Fuhr was also inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame in 2015

Paula Newby-Fraser

Years Won: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996

Country Represented: Zimbabwe

Paula was destined to be a legend after her famous 1995 “hitting the wall” moment in Kona. Although she doesn’t have much of a social media presence, Paula remains active in the triathlon scene. She is a Master Ironman U coach and is dubbed the Queen of Kona thanks to holding the current record for most Ironman World Championship titles.

RELATED: Recalled: Paula Newby-Fraser’s First Kona Win

Karen Smyers

Years Won: 1995

Country Represented: USA

Instagram

Karen Smyers is a triathlon coach today and was also the Team USA captain for the 2021 Collins Cup. You can listen to our podcast episode with her from earlier this year here.

Erin Baker

(Photo: Lois Schwartz)

Years Won: 1987, 1990

Country Represented: New Zealand

Erin was the Team Internationals captain for the 2022 Collins Cup. Erin married fellow World Championship winner Scott Molina and the two currently reside in New Zealand, having raised two children there.

RELATED: Erin Baker: Triathlon’s Original Maverick

Joanne Ernst

Years Won: 1985

Country Represented: USA

Instagram

Joanne still enjoys time on two wheels and frequently enters gravel races and completes bike-packing trips. According to her Instagram, she recently completed a four-day bike tour of South Dakota and in June 2022 toured Italy by bike. Can we get in on this?

Sylviane Puntous

Sylviane Puntous finished second in 9:36: 57, a minute and a half behind Erin Baker. Photo: Lois Schwartz
(Photo: Lois Schwartz)

Years Won: 1983, 1984

Country Represented: Canada

Sylviane is one half of the Puntous Dynamic Duo made up of her and her twin sister Patricia. Sylviane bested Patricia into second place at Kona in both 1983 and 1984. The Puntous sisters went on to have careers as operating room nurses and currently reside just north of Montreal. The two remain inseparable and even at age 61 can be found training for marathons together.

RELATED: Recalled: The Puntous Twins Dominate the Early 80s

Julie Leach

Years Won: 1982 (two World Championships were held in 1982)

Country Represented: USA

Julie got her start as an Olympic kayaker and competed in the 1976 Montreal Olympics before switching to triathlon. Today, she resides in Pasadena, California, where she raised two children. Julie appeared on Breakfast with Bob in 2020 to discuss how she won the Ironman World Championship the one and only time she raced it.

Kathleen McCartney

Years Won: 1982 (two World Championships were held in 1982)

Country Represented: USA

Instagram

Kathleen is still super involved in the Ironman world, having raced Kona herself as an age grouper in 2018. Her son, Carter, competes in Ironmans regularly and even raced at the 2021 Ironman World Championship in St. George.

RELATED: The Last Time the Ironman World Championship Was Held Twice In A Year

Linda Sweeney

Years Won: 1981

Country Represented: USA

Linda has had a successful career in philanthropy since her 1981 Kona victory. She is the founder and president of the Alumni and Donors Unite organization, which “believes a college education must allow for thinking outside the box, pressuring testing ideas, assuming no ‘settled science’, taking intellectual chances and actually insisting on reasoned debate.” She currently resides in Southern California.

Robin Beck

Years Won: 1980

Country Represented: USA

Robin proved to be the most elusive of all the former Kona champions when it came to digging up info on her. Even Bob Babbitt, the human encyclopedia for all things triathlon, only had this to say: “No one knows where Robin Beck is or what she is up to. She is a mystery.”

Lyn Lemaire

Lyn Lemaire at the 1979 Ironman triathlon
(Photo: Ironman)

Years Won: 1979

Country Represented: USA

Lyn was the first woman to complete Ironman Hawaii and by default the first female winner. She was the fifth finisher overall (out of only 15 racers!). She came from an athletic background; she was a high school swimmer and the national record holder in the 40K cycling time trial at the time she entered Ironman Hawaii in 1979. She was inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame in 1998.  Lyn spoke with Bob Babbitt earlier this year and advised triathletes “not to take the sport too seriously.”

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Men’s Kona Champs: Where are they now?

Kristian Blummenfelt

Years Won: 2021

Country Represented: Norway

Instagram

Kristian had quite the year in 2021, winning both an Olympic gold medal and Ironman World Championship title in St. George (even though that was technically in 2022). The Norse powerhouse isn’t looking to slow down anytime soon and is currently prepping for the big day in Kona.

Jan Frodeno

Jan Frodeno celebrates after winning 2019 Ironman World Championship
(Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Years Won: 2015, 2016, 2019

Country Represented: Germany

Instagram

Jan announced that 2023 would be his last year racing professionally, much to the sadness of the entire triathlon world. After being victorious at every triathlon distance at the highest level, “Frodo” has been plagued with injuries the past couple years, rendering him unable to complete a full-distance Ironman.

Patrick Lange

Years Won: 2017, 2018

Country Represented: Germany

Instagram

Patrick has been quietly chipping away since his last Ironman World Title win in 2018. He had shoulder surgery in 2021 but came roaring back to the race scene this year with a second place finish at Challenge Roth and a successful day at the Collins Cup, helping Team Europe clinch their win.

RELATED: Who Is Ironman World Champion Patrick Lange?

Sebastian Kienle

Where is Sebastian Kienle, Ironman World Champion?
(Photo: John David Becker)

Years Won: 2014

Country Represented: Germany

Instagram

Sebastian has long been a favorite of the triathlon world thanks to his no-nonsense approach to sport yet ethical and sportsmanlike behavior on and off the race course. Sebastian announced that 2022 would be his last Kona and that he will be retiring from professional triathlon at the end of 2023.

Frederik van Lierde

Years Won: 2013

Country Represented: Belgium

Instagram

Frederik has continued to make sport a big part of his life since retiring from professional triathlon. He is currently the manager for Topsport Belgian Defence, an elite track and field team based out of Belgium.

RELATED: Would Patrick Lange’s Team Tactics Trump Van Lierde’s Old School Grit?

Pete Jacobs

Years Won: 2012

Country Represented: Australia

Instagram 

Pete still races at the professional level and is also a health and performance coach, owning and operating his own business alongside his wife. The pair are also expecting their first child in the coming months.

Craig Alexander

Craig Alexander at the 2010 Ironman World Championship.
(: John Segesta)

Years Won: 2008, 2009, 2011

Country Represented: Australia

Instagram

Craig “Crowie” Alexander is one of the most involved former World Champs winners. He continued to race professionally well into the late 2010s (and win races at that, too!) and formed his own coaching squad, “Sansego” (as in, “Sans ego”). He also does consulting work for endurance sports brands like Hot Shot. You can still catch Crowie entering (and probably winning) a variety of endurance races around the globe.

Chris McCormack

Years Won: 2007, 2010

Country Represented: Australia

Instagram

“Macca” has bridged into the coaching world since winning his last world title in 2010. He is a coach under the Bahrain Victorious team and most recently has been coaching Georgia Taylor-Brown and Cassandra Beaugrand through their Super League races this summer.

RELATED: What is Super League Triathlon? Your Guide to the 2022 Championship

Normann Stadler

Years Won: 2004, 2006

Country Represented: Germany

Instagram

Normann served as one of the captains for Team Europe in the 2022 Collins Cup. He is also triathlon coach and motivational speaker – and is still known to hop on his bike or join a local run race from time to time.

Faris Al-Sultan

Years Won: 2005

Country Represented: Germany

Instagram

Faris isn’t super active on social media, but his website says he resides in Munich and is currently a triathlon coach as well as a father to two young kids.

Peter Reid

Ironman World Champion Peter Reid

Years Won: 1998, 2000, 2003

Country Represented: Canada

Peter keeps his Instagram private and has even been known to voluntarily go missing for long stretches of time, but has been a frequent visitor on Breakfast with Bob in the past five years and was inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame in 2016.

Tim DeBoom

Years Won: 2001, 2002

Country Represented: USA

Tim also lays low on social media, but you can sign up for his newsletter about his life’s learning from sport. He notes that the weekly newsletter shares “fitness and training principles that carried me to the highest level of sport, nutrition in and out of sport… and the latest and greatest gear.”

RELATED: Kona Legend: 2001, 2002 Winner Tim DeBoom

Luc van Lierde

Years Won: 1996, 1999

Country Represented: Belgium

Instagram

Luc – who is shockingly not related to other world champ Frederik van Lierde – has taken his knowledge and formed 3Go, his own triathlon coaching company.

Thomas Hellreigel

Years Won: 1997

Country Represented: Germany

Instagram

Thomas’ Instagram tells the story that he still loves riding his bike and still loves Kona. Although he hasn’t shared if he’ll be in Kona this year, he has returned multiple times pre-2020 to relive the glory (as a spectator).

Mark Allen

Mark Allen Ironman Champion at Ironman World Championship 1991
(Photo: Lois Schwartz)

Years Won: 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995

Country Represented: USA

Instagram

Mark hardly needs any introduction, as he remains so active in the triathlon world. He has his own coaching business and is on the advisory board of Ironman U. You can regularly catch mark still swimming, biking, and running – and coaching others to success, too.

RELATED: The Cooldown Podcast: Mark Allen Has Predictions  

Greg Welch

Years Won: 1994

Country Represented: Australia

Twitter

Greg is now a dad – and paddleboarder. He raced the Molokai2Oahu race (“the race” for paddlers) in 2011 and his Twitter bio lists him as “Husband, father, and paddler.” He attended Kona in 2019 – TBA if he’s back to spectate for 2022.

Scott Molina

Years Won: 1988

Country Represented: USA

Scott was inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame in 2018 and remains an avid triathlete, casually winning his age group at multiple half-distance events in recent years. He is also married to female World Champ Erin Baker and the pair have two now-grown children together. You can see their Babbittville co-interview together here.

Dave Scott

Years Won: 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987

Country Represented: USA

Instagram

Dave is another one who needs little-to-no introduction. He is a respected coach and frequently curates training content as part of serving as a Master Coach for Ironman U. He’s been known to make appearances at Hawaii 70.3 and Kona and currently resides in Boulder, Colorado.

RELATED: Dave Scott’s Guide to Tackling 140.6 Miles

Scott Tinley

Scott Tinley Ironman world Championship 1985
(Photo: Lois Schwartz)

Years Won: 1982, 1985

Country Represented: USA

Instagram

Scott went on to pursue sports in the academic sense and currently teaches sport humanities courses at the college level, according to his website. He still enjoys swimming, biking, and running and a more relaxed pace from his home in Del Mar, California.

John Howard

Years Won: 1981

Country Represented: USA

While it’s hard to imagine being known for something other than the tremendous achievement of winning the Ironman World Championship, John is known best for being a legendary cyclist. He has raced on three Olympic cycling teams and set the world record for bicycle speed at 152.2 mph (yeah, read that again). He remains active in the cycling community as a coach and bike fitter.

Tom Warren

Years Won: 1979

Country Represented: USA

Tom “Tugs” Warren owned a famous San Diego tavern, Tug’s Tavern, from 1969 until it closed in 1985. It had such a cult following, especially after Warren won Ironman Hawaii, that “Tugs t-shirts” became a prized souvenir and you can still purchase them today in honor of Tugs himself.

Gordon Haller

Haller in Kona in 1982. Photo: Mike Plant

Years Won: 1978

Country Represented: USA

Gordon came from a background of swimming and running and won the inaugural Ironman Hawaii in 11 hours and 46 minutes. Since then, he’s raced at Kona 17 times and can sometimes be found joining a local sprint tri like the Tritonman in San Diego. He keeps a low profile, letting his legendary story of winning the first ever Ironman Hawaii speak for itself.

RELATED: The Origins of Ironman: How Kona Became Kona