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The Contenders Talk: Ironman World Championships 2022 Press Conference

"It's been three years. It feels like almost 10 years...but now we're back and finally we can race again...It gives me a lot of motivation to race here because now it feels like almost the Olympic Games," said 2019 Ironman World Champion, Anne Haug.

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Ironman World Championship 2022 Press Conference: Women’s Race

Athletes at the pro press conference kona 2022
(Photo: Susan Lacke)

Daniela Ryf, SUI

“I feel very grateful to be here and since [winning at the 2021 Ironman World Championship in] St. George. I feel like even more I have nothing to prove. I just feel like I want to play, and I’m here to play hard. And that’s what I’m looking for in the race.”

“The field is absolutely packed. That’s a great thing. It shows that you have to keep improving to be winning. I do feel I’m a better athlete now than I used to be. And all these women are also, so I think it’s great to see the development of the sport. I think what we had in the last three, four years of development also in material is absolutely crazy. And I feel like this race is going to be the first time where we actually bring all this together. And I mean, it’s I’m just really curious how it’s going to be but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be fast.”

RELATED: 2022 Hawaii Ironman World Championships: The Women’s Contenders

Anne Haug, GER

“It’s been three years. It feels like almost 10 years. It’s just three long years. But now we’re back and finally we can race again…It gives me a lot of motivation to race here because now it feels like almost the Olympic Games.”

Lucy Charles-Barclay, GBR

“Getting a hip stress fracture was not ideal and it was super tough to get out of the World Champs at the beginning of this year. Obviously three years away. I thought it might be four. So yeah, I’m just so happy to be back.”

“[My comeback at long-distance worlds] was kind of a dream scenario, to be honest. I didn’t really know where I would be. I hadn’t done a huge amount of run training up until that point, and I just wanted to see where is that and actually, it went really, really well. And then from that race, we decided I think Kona can happen and let’s go and put some more work in and see what happens.

Ironman Pro Press Conference Kona 2022
(Photo: Susan Lacke)

Laura Philipp, GER

“In 2019 I came in fourth. It was my second Ironman. And yeah, I didn’t have an idea of preparation. So I definitely think I am a different athlete [this year]. Now I’m a stronger athlete, I’m more confident in my abilities over the distance. So I’m definitely looking forward to race this first day. I know with this kind of field we have this year, even a fourth place is hard to get. I’m hoping for a very special and good day.”

RELATED: How Laura Philipp Set A New Ironman Record

Sarah True, USA

“I think a happy athlete is always faster athlete, and I’m definitely that. I have nothing to lose. At the end of the day, I’m healthy, I’m relaxed, I’m feeling good. I think ultimately, that counts for something when it comes to a place like Kona.”

RELATED: Sarah True Chose Joy Over Winning. She Got Both.

Sarah Crowley, AUS

“It is a very big deep, field…it brings the best out and I’m so it’s quite excited to see what what the race will hold. What better way to test yourself as an athlete and then against everyone when they’re all here? We’ll be fighting for every single place that you get, and that’s what makes this race so amazing.”

RELATED: Get Race Ready with Sarah Crowley’s Ironman Simulation Session

Skye Moench, USA

“I think I’m the only rookie up here on the women’s side, so that’s special. Everyone says the race will tear you up, spit you out. Rookies just need to go experience it. But I feel like I have a lot of other Ironman experience to draw off of and experience in plenty of fields, including St. George earlier this year, so I kind of got a taste of what a world championship race is like, and just how next level the racing is, and everyone’s fit and everyone’s trying to win. So I think that experience was really valuable leading into my first Kona.”

Ironman World Championship 2022 Press Conference: Men’s Race

Kristian Blummenfelt, NOR

“Even though it’s my first time on the island, I’ve really tried to take advantage of all the knowledge we have, like in terms of the testing we do and the science, working with the heat preparation, trying to do it better than everyone who has been there before their first time. I think that’s maybe one of the reasons why people tend to fail the first time time, because the first time they come into the island, they need to build up that experience in the bank one or two or three times. But we don’t have that time with the focus on trying to go back again to short distance for Paris. So we just collect data and hopefully, we can use that experience on tap today and try to win first time.”

RELATED: 2022 Hawaii Ironman World Championships: The Men’s Contenders

Patrick Lange, GER

“I think out of failure we learn the most if we are open for it, and I learned a lot in 2019 [where I DNFed]. 2021 it was a tough year, but I came back stronger, make some changes to my team and my surroundings. Now I’m better than ever, and I’m ready to go. So I think looking back, it was probably a bad experience, of course dropping out of the 2019. But yeah, so I think it made me stronger.”

RELATED: Who Is Ironman World Champion Patrick Lange?

Gustav Iden, NOR

“This is going to be my second ever full-distance Ironman, so I’m not only a rookie on the island, but a rookie on distance. But I feel I got some good experience from training. I get a lot of confidence from my training. I almost did Ironman this past weekend. So yeah, I’ve done some learning on Ironman. It’s gonna be hot and challenging towards the end, but I think I have a plan and if the plan holds, it would be a good result.”

RELATED: How One Hat Seemingly Conquered The Tri World

Ironman Pro Press Conference Kona 2022
(Photo: Susan Lacke)

Lionel Sanders, CAN

“I guess I’m a veteran. Yeah, I’ve walked this race many, many times. For generally half of the field most of the time, so I am a veteran of that. I will not jinx myself and say that I have that sorted, absolutely not. I do not have that sorted. I don’t think you ever have that sorted in this race. So I’ve learned a lot over the years and I devoted the entire 2021 season to trying to figure out how to race an Ironman and not like race for six-and-a-half hours and survive for an hour and a half. And I had five good performances where I was able each one to get better and better and better and then it kind of culminated at St. George in May. But this is literally a totally different race. This is much more than just an Ironman. Ironman is challenging. Just the distance in Florida on a super fast, easy course, but now this course is hard. The competition’s crazy. There’s a lot of tactical dynamics.”

“It will be interesting to have Kristian [Blummenfelt] and Gustav [Iden] here who are really pushing the limits of the human potential. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s just kind of a human limit here to exert in the heat, and there’s a cap. But if anyone can exceed that cap, it would be these two guys. It’s sort of interesting to see. I’m fascinated to be in it and take part in it.”

Braden Currie, NZL

“We’re all used to doing them now, it’s become a little bit of normality to do an Ironman, it’s just tolerating this heat and knowing how fast you can go. I feel like we can sort of step off the couch and do it. I mean, these days the distance isn’t that scary. It’s more just how fast you can push it that things start getting a bit more nerve-wracking. I know that the rookies here are pretty keen, pretty fired up, and they’ll definitely throw everything at it. I also know that the old ones here will be still gritting their teeth and hanging in there, so it’s going to be really tough day of racing.”

RELATED: How Braden Currie (Nearly) Raced the Perfect IMWC St. George

Tim O’Donnell, USA

“When I say I’m happy to be here, it’s not just racing but to be here after the heart attack in March 2021. It’s pretty crazy. It’s been a long year and a half, but just this is a bonus race for me. The first thing the cardiologist said when I got off the operating table was ‘Looks like you have to find a new career.’ So, for him to say that, then to be up here with the best guys in the world right now. It’s pretty awesome. I’m not gonna lie. I was asked to this press conference, and I was joking with Rinny [wife, Mirinda Carfrae] because I know there’s another press conference for special interest stories.”

Sebastian Kienle, GER

“I have to say when I crossed the finish line in 2019, I wasn’t thinking about the next time here will be my last time here. So now that it it is, I’m definitely trying to make it fun and trying to be on the after-race press conference. That’s a more important one.”

“Maybe I’m talking so much about experience because I realized how that experience matters these days. I’m probably trying to talk myself and a couple of guys a little bit up in this field where we have easily five rookies we had a chance to win the race and probably 10 guys in total who had the chance to win the race. I think I’ve been on pretty much every press conference since I’ve been racing here and every year I say it’s the strongest field ever, and probably it’s true every single time. But we skipped two years. So now it’s like double as strong as it was in 2019.”