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Is there anything Michellie Jones can’t do? As one of the most accomplished triathletes of all time, the Aussie has shown an incredible versatility within the sport. The legend of ITU, off-road, Olympic, and Ironman will be honored this week as an inductee of the Ironman Hall of Fame, Class of 2019.
After dominating the ITU scene with back-to-back world championship titles in 1992 and 1993, Jones switched to off-road triathlon, collecting an XTERRA world title in 1996. Four years later, Jones represented Australia at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, where she earned a silver medal.
Despite famously telling a reporter there was “no way I’ll ever race an Ironman,” Jones made the jump in 2005, winning Ironman Florida that year, followed by a second-place finish in her first-ever Ironman World Championship that same year. She returned to the Big Island in 2006, where she delivered a commanding 9:18:31 performance to become the first Australian woman to take the top step of the podium, serving as a model for Australian podium performances that would be followed by the likes of Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae, Kate Major, and Sarah Crowley. To this day, Jones is both the first and only female to win both an Ironman World title and Olympic medal.
Today, Jones uses her success in multisport to help others to the top step of the platform. In addition to serving as the head coach for the University of California – San Diego triathlon team, Jones coaches age-groupers through Ironman University. In 2016, she returned to the Olympic Games in Rio, this time as a guide for paratriathlete Katie Kelly.
“Straightaway, I said yes, I would love to do it,” Jones told Bob Babbitt of being approached by the Australian paratriathlon national team to guide Kelly. “The benefit I have is 27 years of experience with race day, those little things I can teach her…what I bring to the table is that I’ve been there and done that, and now I can help you.”
The pair earned a gold medal, adding to the more than 200 events Jones has won across ITU, Olympic, off-road, and long distance events. Jones adds another distinction to her already-impressive resume with her induction into the Ironman Hall of Fame. The class of 2019 also includes two-time Ironman World Champion Tim DeBoom, Ironman Lanzarote race director Kenneth Gasque, and long-time volunteer Jan War.