Triathlon News & Notes: Findlay Wins Canadian TT Title, Kienle Pulls Out of Roth, and Triathlete Survives Shark Attack

The news from around the multisport world this week.

Photo: Chris Falconer

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Findlay picks up national cycling title

70.3 champ Paula Findlay can add another line to her racing resume: Canadian national cycling champion. Findlay, 33, won the elite women’s time trial race at the Canadian Road Championships on Thursday, competing in her hometown of Edmonton. Racing on her Specialized S-Works bike, Findlay clocked 44:38 on the 32K course, beating runner up Marie-Soleil Blais of Montreal by 39 seconds. “I absolutely LOVED riding as hard as I could without swimming before or running after,” she posted, also indicating that she was hoping for a top-five finish. “Not contemplating a career change, but it was so much fun (and painful).”

Action kicks off at Montreal World Champs 

The 2022 World Triathlon Sprint & Relay Championships Montreal kicked off on Friday, an event that includes racing from the elite level down to age-groupers. Part of the weekend’s festivities includes both age-group and elite mixed relays, a relatively new event in the sport and the first major time it will be contested for age-group athletes. The top two teams in the elite mixed relay in Montreal will receive quota spots for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games, with Great Britain, the U.S., and France coming in as the favorites to take the top step. 

RELATED: Want to Get Into Triathlon Mixed Relay? Here’s What You Need to Know

World Triathlon reviewing policy on transgender athletes 

It was reported this week that World Triathlon is currently reviewing its policy on transgender athletes’ participation. This comes on the heels of FINA, swimming’s governing body, voting to ban anyone who has been through male puberty from elite women’s competitions and to establish an “open” category for transgender swimmers in some events. For its part, World Triathlon says it is creating guidelines that will be released after the approval of the Executive Board in November, following a review by the medical committee, women’s committee, and equality, diversity & inclusion commission. A spokesperson for World Triathlon said that the group has reached out to the transgender community to receive feedback and input and that they hope the new guidelines will provide a “fair and inclusive competition for all athletes, including transgender, cisgender and non-binary athletes.”

Sebastian Kienle scratched from Challenge Roth start list

Citing a bout of COVID and a bike crash, German great Sebastian Kienle will not compete at Challenge Roth, he shared via Instagram this week. Kienle, the 2014 Ironman world champion as well as the 2012 and 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Champion, said that he contracted COVID after his disappointing 14th place finish at the Ironman World Championships in St. George, Utah in May, missing three weeks of training as a result. Then last week he crashed during a training ride, an incident resulting in scrapes and bruises and the reality that he is simply not in shape to tackle the full Iron-distance against a stacked field. Kienle also underscored that he is planning to retire in 2023, but in the meantime is still motivated to race for wins.

Autistic triathlete “Super Sam” Holness set to compete in Ironman Frankfurt 

London-based triathlete Sam Holness, 29, is set to become the first openly autistic triathlete to compete in Ironman Frankfurt European Championship this Sunday, June 26. Holness, the first openly autistic athlete to compete at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship last September, will be competing in his first full Ironman, with the hopes of qualifying for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, scheduled for next October. Other noteworthy athletes competing in Frankfurt? Sweden’s Patrik Nilsson of Sweden, Denmark’s Daniel Bækkegård, U.S.A.’s Rudy Von Berg, and Great Britain’s Joe Skipper on the men’s side, while Germany’s Daniela Bleymehl and Great Britain’s Susie Cheetham highlight the women’s field.

RELATED: There’s No Limiting Sam Holness

PTO restructures communications team

Anthony Scammell, a London-based sports communication specialist, has been tapped as the communications director for the Professional Triathletes Organization, the group announced this week. Scammell, who will lead media relations for the PTO, comes from a 15-year stint as a director of London-based Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ award-winning sports and partnership marketing team, working on clients including HSBC, SailGP, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Team GB, and he also also worked with PR firm Weber Shandwick. Meanwhile, Jane Hansom, who had been serving as the head of communications for the PTO since its inception, is moving to a new role supporting the PTO athlete board and helping to “establish and implement policies to strengthen the group’s mission,” according to the statement. 

Triathlete survives shark attack

62-year-old Steve Bruemmer of Monterey, California, is lucky to be alive after being attacked by a shark during a training swim in Monterey Bay on Wednesday morning. Bruemmer, a triathlete who has been swimming in the bay one to two times per week for the past 10 years, was severely injured by the attack with bites to his stomach and leg, but was saved by a series of fortunate events, including the fact that a nurse and a police officer happened to be on stand-up paddleboards nearby, heard his calls for help, and pulled him out. There was also a doctor and a nurse on the beach, who tended to Bruemmer’s injuries immediately before an ambulance rushed him to a nearby trauma center. Despite losing several liters of blood and requiring a transfusion, Bruemmer is expected to make a full recovery. Officials could not locate the shark after the attack, and do not know its species. 

Podcast Notes

  • Karen Smyers, the only woman to win the ITU world title and Kona in the same year, heads to the Triathlete Hour to reflect on her legendary career, which included a series of horrible injuries and an illness—and the lessons she learned along the way.
  • The hosts of Crushing Iron answer a slew of listener questions, including common concerns related to open water swimming, the difference between racing on a tri bike and a road bike, and other issues.
  • The REAL Triathlon podcast offers a preview for this weekend’s Ironman Mont Tremblant 70.3 with insight from none other than the defending champion (and podcast host) Jackson Laundry.
  • Greg Bennett has a fun chat with triathlon greats (and his best mates) Craig Alexander and Simon Whitfield, with the three of them reflecting on their remarkable careers and how the sport has evolved since they retired.
  • Pro Tri News brings on two-time Ironman World Champion Patrick Lange, who shares about what he’s been up to lately and offers his thoughts on what could go down at Challenge Roth.
  • Athletic Brewing’s CEO and co-founder Bill Shufelt is featured on the Yogi Triathlete to share more about launching the U.S.-based non-alcoholic craft beer company, which was named by Time as one of the top 100 most influential companies. 

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