Triathlon News and Notes: Yokohama’s Bubble Test, NYC Tri Offers Spots to Frontline Workers, and More

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

Photo: Tommy Zaferes/World Triathlon

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Yokohama “bubble” shows that Tokyo games can be held safely, World Triathlon says

Despite outcry from certain groups to cancel the Tokyo Olympic games, World Triathlon says that elite events can be held safely this summer—and that last week’s race in Yokohama is proof. For the World Triathlon Championship Series and Para Series, the global governing body adhered to strict COVID-19 safety protocol for the event’s 285 participants, including keeping everyone in a bio-secure bubble, delivering all meals to the athletes’ hotel rooms, and carrying out some 1,200 Covid tests (which all came back negative). British triathlete (and Olympic qualifier) Johnny Brownlee also weighed in on what Tokyo may look like for athletes, saying his takeaway from Yokohama is confidence that the Olympics can be done in a safe manner. 

Summer Rappaport says she wants to be a better biker

Summer Rappaport shares just how far she’s come as a triathlete with Team USA, saying that she “didn’t even know that there were different kinds of bikes for different disciplines of training/racing,” when she graduated from Villanova University as a swimmer and runner in 2013. Rappaport, who is heading to Tokyo on Team USA after securing her Olympic spot at the Tokyo test event in 2019 and got her start in the sport after being selected for the USAT’s Collegiate Recruitment Program, says she’s still figuring out the bike and hopes to improve in the element. Last week, she placed second behind USA teammate Taylor Knibb at the World Triathlon Championship Series in Yokohama, and will next race in a World Cup event in Lisbon, Portugal on Sunday, May 23. 

More teams qualify for mixed relay event in Tokyo

Speaking of Lisbon, the city hosted an Olympic qualifier for the Mixed Relay event on Friday, May 21, with Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland picking up the top three spots. New to the Olympic menu this year, the Mixed Relay features teams of two women and two men battling over a 300m swim, an 8km bike, and a 2km run distance (the order of competitors is female/male/female/male). The countries that qualified in Lisbon will join France, Australia, Britain, New Zealand, Germany, The Netherlands, the United States, and Japan at the Games for what will be a fast and exciting Olympic debut.

Off-road tri, duathlon crowns national champs

Kathryn Lockwood of Irvine, Calif. and Tom Eickelberg of Leonia, N.J. earned overall titles at last weekend’s USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championships. Featuring a 1,500-meter swim, 30-kilometer mountain bike, and 10-kilometer trail run, the race took place in Wawayanda State Park in Hewitt, N.J. This was the second national off-road title for Lockwood, who also picked up the 45-49 age group title in the process. Eickelberg, for his part, claimed the 30-34 national title as well as his overall win. The top performers of the day qualified for Team USA for both the 2021 and 2022 World Cross Triathlon Championship, to be held in Almere, The Netherlands, and Townsville, Australia, respectively. 

And this weekend, athletes face off in Tuscaloosa, Ala. over the standard-distance (10K run, 39.6K bike, 5.4K run) and sprint-distance (5K run, 20K bike, 2.9K) in the USA Duathlon National Championships. As of this reporting, Kirsten Sass of McKenzie, Tenn. and Alex Arman of Boulder, Colo. claimed the women’s and men’s standard title, respectively. 

NYC Tri offers additional entries for healthcare and frontline workers

As a way to honor those who have been at the frontline of the pandemic, the New York City Triathlon is offering limited entries to doctors, nurses, teachers, and those involved in the police and fire departments as well as members of the military. While the lottery to get into the race has closed, those who work on the frontline can receive a unique registration link while entries are still available. The July 11 triathlon will also feature a bike-run division, where participants will follow the same course as triathletes, just skipping the swim. 

Helle Frederiksen releases English-language autobiography

Danish star (and 2018 ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Champion) Helle Friedriksen has been busy in her retirement, coaching and writing her autobiography, The Pursuit of Victory. The book—originally released in Danish and now available in English—shares an “unfiltered view from behind the curtain and a step into my life as a performer,” posted Friedriksen. “ I made mistakes, I learned the hard way, I suffered heartache, injury upon injury, crashes and defeat. This book is the unfiltered view from behind the curtain and a step into my life as a performer, pursuing victory on the biggest stage.” 

Podcast Notes

  • Five-time Ironman champ Matt Hanson joins The Triathlete Hour and tells all about how he fell in love with the sport, how he gave up his job as a professor of exercise science to go all-in as a pro triathlete, and more. 
  • ProTriNews brings back Chelsea Burns to discuss the Team USA Olympic selection on the women’s side, including whether the best bet would be to choose an athlete based on individual or relay performance. Then, Mark Matthews weighs in with his thoughts on how Ironman Tulsa may unfold.
  • ProTriNews’ Lemieux switches from podcast host to guest with a turn on The Real Triathlon podcast, chatting about being a full time professional triathlete agent to clients including Lionel Sanders.
  • Triathlon Taren talks all about FTP this week: What is it—and, most importantly—how to boost it.
  • Canadian pro Jo Brown, who talks about toughing out breaking her nose while warming up for the Yokohama race last weekend (and going on to finish 13th), plus other events in her life over the past year on the World Triathlon podcast.
  • What’s a Whoop? Triathlon coach Simon Ward speaks to the sleep and fitness tracker and how it can boost training on his latest podcast.
  • Triathlete Magazine contributor Tim Heming heads to the MX Endurance Podcast to dissect the races in Yokohama as well as to preview this weekend’s Lisbon World Cup and Ironman Tulsa.
  • Pro athletes Heather Jackson and Paula Findlay are featured on the Inside Tri Show about becoming a “quaranteam” during Covid and balancing being friends and competitors.
  • Bob Babbitt posted two interviews on his YouTube channel this week: One with Helle Frederiksen who chats about her aforementioned book and her triathlete career; the other with Siri Lindley who emotionally shares about her battle with acute myeloid leukemia, the power of forgiveness, and her pivot to coaching.

Jan Frodeno Reflects on His Final Ironman World Championship

Immediately after finishing 24th place at his final Ironman World Championships, the Olympic medalist (and three-time IMWC winner) explains what his race in Nice meant to him.