Triathlon News & Notes: Kat Matthews Wins Army Award, Kiwi’s Helmet Buckle Penalty Appeal Denied, and More

Your roundup of news from the multisport world this week.

Photo: Ryan Sosna-Bowd/Getty Images

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Kat Matthews named British Army Sportswoman of the Year

Pro Triathlete Kat Matthews received one of the British Army’s highest honors this week upon being named their Sportswoman of the Year. The 31-year old, a captain in the British Army with the Medical Corps, had a banner season, including winning the Phoenix Sub 8 Project in June and posting the fastest Iron-distance time in history among women, plus victories at Ironman Lanzarote, Swansea, and a runner-up finish at Ironman Worlds in St. George. Matthews, who has been sidelined since September after being hit by a car on a training ride, posted, “Very proud of this achievement. Although it’s really an award that goes straight back to @britisharmysport for the support I have and still receive in my sport.”

Hayden Wilde’s Commonwealth Games appeal denied

Last July, while leading the Commonwealth Games triathlon, New Zealand pro Hayden Wilde was given a controversial 10-second penalty for prematurely unclipping his helmet in transition. The ding ultimately cost him the lead, with British pro Alex Yee ultimately earning gold. A disappointed Wilde, who was the bronze medallist at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, filed an appeal, which World Triathlon dismissed this week. According to the New Zealand Herald, Triathlon NZ, which claimed there was no evidence of Wilde doing what was alleged, “considered whether a further appeal, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), would be appropriate, but decided not to take the matter further.” For his part, Wilde, who will next compete at the finale of the World Triathlon Championship Series in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 27, told media, “I know what I did and I know what I did wasn’t wrong, but at the end of the day you kind of can’t dwell on the past, you’ve just got to look to the future and I think that is what I’m doing currently. I’ve got my eyes set on being crowned a world champ which I think is a huge opportunity for me and for New Zealand.”

XTERRA Tours revamped with new age-group ranking system

Thanks to a recently-launched ranking system, XTERRA is set to “recognize the fastest age group off-road triathlete in every division across the globe” in 2023. The World Performance Index (WPI) is a tool developed by a team lead by 2005 XTERRA World Champion Nico Lebrun, inspired by similar ranking systems used by trail running and skiing, and gives a score for every finisher based on factors including the strength and depth of field, the difficulty of the course, trail conditions, and weather. The scores are then ranked and presented in an easy-to-navigate database that can be sorted by age-group and country. At the end of the season, the rankings will be used to designate champions among the Americas, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific Tours in each age group.

Melissa Stockwell to go for 2024 Paralympic team

Paraylympian Melissa Stockwell, a bronze medalist at the Rio games, recently shared that a bid to the 2024 games in Paris is in her future. The 42-year-old former U.S. Army officer appeared in Forbes this week as part of a Veterans Day story, which highlighted her career and touched on her plans for the future, including competing in the Paratriathlon World Championships next week, and then vying for a berth to the 2024 Paralympic Games, in Paris. “Another race on the path towards giving the 2024 @paralympics in Paris a shot,” she recently posted on her Instagram account. “I will only be 44 so why not, right?”

CLASH Daytona pro field announced

The “Daytona distance” is back. The marquee event at Dec. 2’s CLASH Daytona triathlon—featuring a 1-mile swim, 37.5-mile bike, and 8.2-mile run—will feature a slate of pro athletes vying for a $100,000 prize purse. On the women’s side, returning champion Jackie Hering leads the charge, along with other top names including Sara Perez Sala, Rach McBride, Haley Chura, Lesley Smith, and more. The men’s field is highlighted by draft-legal specialist Vincent Luis, Matthew Hanson, Jason West, Jackson Laundry, and Kevin McDowell, among others. Live event coverage will air on CLASH Endurance digital channels including Facebook and YouTube, and the pro race will air on NBC on December 31 at 4p.m. ET.

Ironman 70.3 World Champs economic impact breaks records in St. George

The 2022 Ironman 70.3 World Championships certainly delivered to its host town of St. George, Utah—to the tune of $62.1 million. According to results from an athlete survey conducted by an independent research team and other data analysis, the two-day event’s economic impact is record-setting, “far outpacing [that of] previous Ironman events held in Greater Zion.” Including the most recent results, the three Ironman-branded World Championship events that have occurred in St. George over the  last 13 months have infused more than $121 million of outside money into the local community.

Outspoken Award winners announced

The 2022 Outspoken Awards—which aim to acknowledge the monumental contributions by women in endurance sports—were announced last week during the annual Outspoken Summit. Winners included Kate Veronneau (Outspoken Woman of the Year); Fernanda Tucci (Athlete of the Year; Triathlon); Tenille Hoogland (Coach of the Year; Triathlon); Alex Forte Howell (Race Director of the Year); and Dr. Stacy Sims (Lifetime Achievement Award).

Podcast Notes

  • Greg Bennett brings back U.S. star Ben Kanute, this time to talk about his dynamic runner-up performance at Ironman 70.3 Worlds and other aspects of his career and life.
  • Ironwomen chats college tri with Hailey Poe and her coach Averi Lewis, of Arizona State, the recently-crowned NCAA champs in triathlon. The hosts also bring on Alex Watt who shares some highs and lows in her recently-launched pro career.
  • Pro Tri News teams up with the How They Train podcast for a crossover episode, which breaks down their picks for the  top 10 triathletes of all time.
  • How They Train has another episode out this week, featuring Olav Aleksander Bu, coach of Kristian Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden. Olav his athlete’s training methods as well as his own philosophies and approaches to training in general.
  • Eric and Paula dish on black toenails, split boarding, winter training, and other topics on the latest That Triathlon Life. 
  • Kelly O’Mara of Triathlonish checks in with  new USA Triathlon CEO, Vic Brumfield, who shares her vision for triathlon and USAT, and how she hopes to grow the sport from the youth level up.

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.