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Triathlon News & Notes: New NCAA Program, COVID Hits Gomez & Skipper, and a Boston Finish

The news from around the multisport world this week.

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Javier Gomez, Joe Skipper out of Ironman World Champs with COVID 

Javier Gomez and Joe Skipper, both legitimate contenders for the Ironman World Championship, both revealed this week they will not be able to compete at the May 7 race after contracting COVID-19. 

Spain’s Gomez, a multi-time world champion at the Olympic distance, postedI managed to dodge the virus for two years but it eventually caught me. And even though I’m fully vaccinated, it’s hitting me quite hard, with high temperature, headache, sore throat, achy muscles. So in this situation, racing at the Ironman World Championships in two weeks wouldn’t be either realistic or responsible.” Gomez said that training had been going well and that he plans to race at the next Ironman World Championships in October. 

Meanwhile, Great Britain’s Skipper shared on Friday that he tested positive two weeks ago and has been feeling fatigued ever since. “I’m still unable to train anywhere near like I would normally do or like I would need to do to be competitive at the world championships,” he posted. “I feel if I was to line up in St. George, I wouldn’t do myself justice and…I would also run the risk of long term damage and potentially writing the rest of this year off.”

Gomez and Skipper are the latest major players to drop from the World Championship start list, with Jan Frodeno and  Lucy Charles Barclay both pulling out last month with a partial tear of the Achilles tendon and a stress fracture, respectively. 

RELATED: A Running List of the Pros Not Starting St. George

Duquesne University adds women’s triathlon to its slate of varsity sports 

Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University is slated to become the tenth NCAA Division I program to offer women’s triathlon at the varsity level next fall, USA Triathlon reported. Duquesne is the third school in 2022 to commit to offering women’s collegiate triathlon, and the first since USA Triathlon added its 40th school in February. Duquesne also added women’s golf and acrobatics and tumbling for next year. 

Super League drops drafting for Arena Games in London 

Super League Triathlon revealed a “major shake-up” in Saturday’s Arena Games Triathlon in London: Drafting was disabled on Zwift. This means that pack riding during the 4km bike legs will be eliminated, making it more of a pure pure triathlon with the best swim-bike-runner taking the title, according to Super League’s data expert Graeme Acheson. “Now, however, weaker swimmers won’t be punished in the same way—they have the opportunity to make up a few seconds on the bike, and run it home if they have the legs,” said Acheson. “We should see a different format of racing with athletes able to make ground in different sections of the race depending on where their strengths lie.”

Watch the Super League events on Outside Watch app.

Melissa Stockwell finishes Boston Marathon in sub-4

Melissa Stockwell, a 2016 Paralympic bronze medalist in paratriathlon, completed the Boston Marathon in 3 hours, 58 minutes, good enough to finish second in the women’s para division. “I went into today hoping for a sub 4:30 race but managed to pull off a 3:58 and I’m still in shock from it,” Stockwell posted. “I never dreamt a sub 4 hour marathon was in the cards but here we are.” 

Czech athlete DQ’d from Arena Games for spitting 

Be careful where you spit—especially if you’re competing in an indoor triathlon. In the last Super League Arena Games in Munich, Czech athlete Petra Kurikova was disqualified from the competition when she spit on the pool deck. Kurikova, who was leading her heat at the time, was about to dive into the pool for her second stage of competition when a referee pulled her from the race. Later, Kurikova, who was seen distraught and in tears following the DQ, took to Instagram to defend her actions. “Spit is a natural reaction in sport,” she posted. “I did it nearby and not during the race.” The DQ sparked some debate on social media about the rule and punishment, some calling it “ridiculous” and “unfair,” with others pointing out the unhygienic act of spitting, especially during Covid.

Podcast Notes

  • The Triathlete Hour brings on Taren Gessell, AKA “Triathlon Taren,” about some lifestyle changes he’s made recently after struggling with overtraining and burnout. Taren also shares more about how he got into the sport and more about some of those popular YouTube videos he’s posted through the years.
  • ProTriNews offers a short course racing preview with pros and top Jess Learmonth and Marten Van Riel to rehash Super League Arena Games Munich and discuss the format of the series, which will ultimately crown the E-Sports World Champions.
  • The World Triathlon podcast also focuses on the Arena Games, bringing on Australia’s Max Stapley, who finished second in Munich, and Great Britain’s Kate Waugh, an up-and-comer who will compete this weekend in London.  
  • One more Arena Games-focused podcast: The Short Cute Triathlon Show brings on Great Britain’s Siân Rainsley. She discusses navigating a pro triathlon career while managing Crohn’s Disease.
  • IronWomen chats with Aussie pro Ashleigh Gentle, who recently won Clash Miami and finished fourth at Oceanside 70.3 in her first season of non-draft, middle-distance racing. (The two-time Olympian retired from draft-legal racing last year.)
  • The MX Endurance podcast offers a preview of the Ironman World Championships in St. George, with the hosts giving their predictions of the outcome in both the men’s and women’s races. 

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