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Triathlon News and Notes: More Awards for Chris Nikic, Brownlee’s Olympic “Relief,” Paratriathlete Showdown, and More

A look at some of the buzz we’ve picked up in the sport over the past seven days.

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Chris Nikic continues to rack up the accolades

Last week, we reported that Chris Nikic, the first person with Downs syndrome to complete an Ironman, is nominated for an ESPY award. But the 22-year-old isn’t just up for one honor: He will also receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the July 10 event. The latter award is given to a person in the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination.  “As a Special Olympics ambassador, I represent millions of athletes around the world who can now believe that inclusion is real for all of them,” Nikic said of the honor. “Thank you for me, but more importantly for the Down syndrome community and my fellow Special Olympics athletes.”

Alistair Brownlee “relieved” Olympic distance triathlon is over

After being disqualified for “ducking” a competitor at the Leeds World Triathlon Series race and losing a chance at qualifying for the Olympics, Alistair Brownlee shared that he is relieved that the Tokyo chase—and Olympic-distance racing—is behind him. “That is me done with Olympic distance triathlon,” he said this week. “ I always knew I was pushing my luck to qualify for Tokyo. In the past three months I questioned why I had done this, but that is why the Olympics is special.” Brownlee, who will be going to Tokyo anyway as a member of the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission, is instead focusing on longer distance racing, namely breaking seven hours in an Iron-distance race next spring.


Stars of paratriathlon descending on Wisconsin this weekend 

The U.S. Paralympic triathlon team has yet to be solidified (the final decision is set to be announced on July 6), so hopefuls have one more chance to show their stuff for the Athlete Selection Committee this weekend in Pleasant Prairie, Wisc. America’s Triathlon Para Championships, a key selection event for the Paralympic Triathlon Team, will feature stars of the sports including match-ups between visually impaired athletes Kyle Coon (alongside guide 2004 Olympian Andy Potts) and Aaron Scheidies (guided by Ben Collins), as well as Allysa Seely, Hailey Danz, and Melissa Stockwell—the trio that swept their division in Rio in 2016. A free live broadcast of the Americas Triathlon Para Championships will be available at

Registration opens for Outspoken: Women in Triathlon Summit 

Registration is now open for the 2021 Outspoken: Women in Triathlon Summit. Focused on women’s leadership, equity and fulfillment of physical potential in the sport, the summit is scheduled for the weekend of November 12 as a hybrid (in-person and virtual) model. With a theme of “Back in the Blocks,” the sessions will cover topics including women’s specific nutrition, equity in triathlon clubs, avoiding ableism, and using sport for social activism. Among the confirmed speakers are Alisha Zellner of Black Ride Black Lives, Ashley Eisenmenger of Dare2Tri, diversity infusion syndicate Khadijah Diggs, Lisa Steptoe of the Mid-Marything Triathlon Club, and research scientist Katie Schofield.

Virtual race invites athletes to swim, bike, and run to Tokyo  

You may not be able to travel to Tokyo for the Olympics, but you can swim, bike, and run your way there…kind of. The Virtual Tri to Tokyo challenges teams to swim, bike and run a total of 5,483 miles—the distance from the training center in Colorado Springs, Colorado to Tokyo’s Odaiba Marine Park, which will host the triathlon competitions this summer. The eight-week challenge, hosted by USA Triathlon, is free to enter with athletes contributing to their team’s total mileage goal at their own pace and from anywhere in the world between July 19 and September 12.

Rudy Garcia-Tolson earns fifth paralympic bid 

Rudy Garcia-Tolson, the world’s first double above-knee amputee to complete an Ironman triathlon, is heading to the paralympics…again. The 32-year-old was named to his fifth paralympics team for swimming, sharing his reaction in real time on Instagram. Garcia-Tolson, who was born with multiple birth defects and had both legs amputated by age 5 only to begin competing in swimming and triathlons when he was just 8, came out of retirement to go for the 2021 squad. His path to even be considered for the U.S. paralympic team, documented this week in the New York Times, included training in the actor David Duchovny’s backyard pool during the Covid shutdown, traveling to Brazil for a mandatory evaluation, and competing at the Paralympic Team Trials.

Triathlete’s early celebration goes viral 

As if you never need a reminder that the race isn’t over until after you cross the finish line, here’s another. Footage of Spanish triathlete Mateo Bustos celebrating what he thought was a win in last Sunday’s Sagunto sprint triathlon went viral this week—but not because of his victory. Rather, when Bustos slowed down just steps before the finish line tape to offer a quick fist pump to the crowd, fellow competitor Germán Cister sprinted right by him to take the win. The video, which was posted on Twitter following the race, has racked up nearly 3 million views  and hundreds of comments. Bustos responded to the hubbub on Instagram, posting, “I could say so many things about what happened in the Sagunto triathlon, but it is better to stay with the positive things that this left me. I trusted myself, the emotion of being 3 meters from the goal played a trick on me. At that moment I felt the fruits of so much effort and sacrifice in each training session.”

Podcast Notes

  • Pro Triathlon News reviews all the big races happening this week, including Sunday’s Ironman 70.3 European Champs, which will be missing Daniela Ryf after she pulled out earlier this week, but feature a match-up between Brits Holly Lawrence and Lucy Charles-Barclay.
  • The Triathlon Beat dives into the timely topic of sweat and hydration with Andy Blow, the Co-Founder and CEO of Precision Hydration. Blow also hits up The Oxygen Addict this week as well to chat about the same topic.
  • That Triathlon Show talks about how to train between two races in a row, including recovery, tapering, and maintaining fitness between events.
  • Pro Kim Morrison heads to WITSUP: Women In Triathlon to talk about racing and proving people wrong throughout her life.
  • The Greg Bennett Show digs into managing Heart Rate Variability and Blood Glucose levels to support and optimize performance with exercise physiologist and triathlete Dr. Dan Plews.
  • The MX Endurance podcast brings on pro triathlete Skye Moench, who recently finished third at Ironman Tulsa, to talk about her foray into the sport and what she thinks she needs to do to beat Daniela Ryf.
  • Snag some tips for injecting the power of positivity into your training and racing on the recent episode of the Endurance Nation podcast.
  • Clarice Lorenzini, the second ever female Asian American Pacific Islander to race pro, continues to make the podcast rounds, this week heading to IronWomen podcast to talk about her journey and representation in the sport.