Triathlon News & Notes: Long Flies Solo, Sodaro and Matthews Leave BMC, Jorgensen Returns, and More

Your roundup of news from the multisport world this week.

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

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Gwen Jorgensens’ return to triathlon generates big buzz

The biggest news in the triathlon world by far this week was 2016 Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen’s announcement that she’s returning to the sport to pursue a position on the 2024 U.S. Olympic team. Jorgensen’s news traveled far and fast, with mainstream media picking it up as well as outlets around the world. Jorgensen, who admittedly typically eschews media attention, appeared on both the Pro Tri News and Ironwomen podcasts this week, where she spoke rather candidly about her decision with pro triathletes Paula Findlay and Haley Chura, respectively. She also shared more about her return to the sport on her YouTube channel.

Chelsea Sodaro, Kat Matthews part ways with BMC team

Bike brand BMC announced its pro triathlon team this week, a roster of seven athletes including heavy-hitters Patrik Nilsson of Sweden, American Chris Leiferman, and Brit Lucy Buckingham. Noticeably missing are this year’s Phoenix Sub8 Champion and Ironman 70.3 World Championship runner-up Kat Matthews and Ironman World Champion  Chelsea Sodaro. Both women posted thoughts on their amicable splits from the team on social media this week, with Sodaro thanking BMC for supporting her from the very start of her long-distance career. (On a related note, Sodaro shared seven things about herself in a feature with SELF, including that she often practices vedic meditation, a technique that is based on mantras, to get her in a healthy mindspace and that her medal from Kona is “stashed in a sock drawer.”)

Sam Long goes solo (for now)

On the heels of his win at Ironman Indian Wells 70.3 earlier this month, Sam Long revealed he is now self-coached. “After Arizona, I decided I need a change in my coaching,” Long explained in his race recap on YouTube.“I have been trained by Ryan Bolton for the last four years, he has been a great coach for me, he helped my development massively. But I decided that I needed a new change, a change of pace, so I have been coaching myself for the last few weeks.” Long added that the goal of Indian Wells was to teach himself that he can do well with much less volume, and he’s “looking forward to continuing that development going down the road.” In an Instagram post, Long thanked Bolton, writing, “together  we went from a nobody to where I am now and achieved a total of 2 Ironman and 10 middle distance wins as well as achieving a 2nd place World Championship finish. He is a great coach and someone I would recommend.” Long has yet to reveal who will coach him next.

Carfrae, Alexander inducted into Triathlon Australia Hall of Fame

Aussie greats Mirinda Carfrae and Craig Alexander were officially added to Triathlon Australia’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Queensland last Sunday. Carfrae and Alexander, both three-time Ironman World Champions, were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the sport, especially during a dazzling era in Australian triathlon when an athlete from the country won an Ironman World Championship every year from 2006 to 2014. Carfrae, who is still competing, was back in Australia for the first time in two years; she and her husband, fellow pro Tim O’Donnell, live in Boulder, Colorado, with their two children.

University of Arizona hires triathlon coach

New team, new coach: Wes Johnson, a former National Team Coach for USA Triathlon, has been tapped to helm University of Arizona’s women’s triathlon team. Johnson, the 2021 USA Triathlon Developmental Coach of the Year and the 2019 Paralympic Coach of the Year, will be leading the charge for the Wildcats, which is one of the latest universities to add women’s triathlon to its NCAA program. The team will begin official competition during the 2023-24 academic year.

Lubbock 70.3 discontinued

Texas’s Lubbock 70.3 (formerly Buffalo Springs 70.3), an event that’s been part of the triathlon scene since 1990, is being discontinued. Earlier this week, Ironman issued a statement saying, “Despite our deep appreciation for the history of this event, in evaluating the event portfolio, the difficult decision has been made to discontinue and close this chapter of Ironman 70.3 Lubbock triathlon as we look to continue to refresh the portfolio with new destinations around the world that excite and attract athletes.” Longtime race director Marti Greer told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that she was stunned by the development, and was told about the discontinuation just two days before Ironman announced. This is the second blow to the Greer family in as many years; last July, Greer’s husband and co-race director Mike, died after suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident on his way to the 2021 race.

Ironman Alaska scrapped as well

Lubbock isn’t the only race to not make the 2023 cut. Despite Ironman originally signing a three-year contract with Travel Juneau to host the first-ever Ironman in Alaska, the race has been canceled after just one year. Liz Perry, president and CEO of Travel Juneau, told KTOO Public Media that an Ironman Alaska triathlon organizer told her the decision arose from economic concerns, including inflation, and that low registration and the remote location of Juneau may also have been a factor for it not meeting Ironman’s bottom line.

Podcast Notes

  • That Triathlon Lifetalks about how to master the off-season, with hosts Eric Lagerstrom and Paula Findlay offering insight on how they pull back from the sport.
  • Triathlonish brings on Ultraman World Champion Dede Griesbauer, who has a conversation with her training partner (and the podcast’s co-host) Laura Siddall about her epic three-day race.
  • Newly-minted pro Justin Riele shares his story with The Evidence Based Triathlete, including insight into his pro debut at Ironman Indian Wells 70.3
  • Learn all about the latest bike trends with industry insider TJ Tollakson on The TriDot Triathlon podcast. Tollakson, a former pro triathlete, owner of Dimond Bicycles, and the Founder and CEO of Rüster Sports, shares his expertise about everything from speedy wheels to integrated fuel storage to rim vs. disc brakes, and more.
  • Ironman World Champ Chris “Macca” McCormack is featured on the latest Oxygen Addict Triathlon podcast, where he shares about how he’s working to professionalize the sport of triathlon with his work spearheading Super League Triathlon, the Phoenix Sub7 and Sub8 Projects, and shares some thoughts on the future of triathlon.

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.