Triathlon News & Notes: New Pro Team, Retirements, and Otter Attack

All the news from around the multisport world this week.

Photo: Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Flora Duffy is a Dame

Just call her Dame Duffy! This week, Flora Duffy was awarded Damehood in the Queen’s New Year Honours List, which recognizes achievements and service of “extraordinary people across the UK.” Duffy was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire (OBE) (the female equivalent to knighthood) for her services to sport in Bermuda—in particular, winning the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games (her medal was also a first in history for any Caribbean at the Olympics). 

Other triathletes make British Honours List, too 

Duffy wasn’t the only triathlete on the Honours List, though. Brits Jonny Brownlee, Jessica Learmouth, Lauren Steadman, Georgia Taylor-Brown, and Alexander Yee are also among the 1,278 people to nab a spot on the prestigious list. They earned the nod for bringing home gold medals in the Tokyo Olympics (Brownlee, Learmouth, Taylor-Brown, and Yee in the mixed relay event and paralympian Steadman in the PTS5 category). Another honoree of note? Sarah Springman, the former president of British Triathlon and pro triathlete (and a one of the world’s most accomplished academic geotechnical engineers), was designated a Dame Commander for “services to engineering and to international sports administration”

Rinny Carfrae and Tim O’Donnell launch Waterfall Racing 

Pro triathlete super couple Mirinda Carfrae and Tim O’Donnell are heading up an age-group team in 2022. Earlier this week, they announced the arrival of Waterfall Racing, a new team sponsored by Waterfall Bank that will have both a pro and age-group component. They’ll be joined on the pro team by Justin and Jeanni Metzler, and Andre Lopez and Rachel Olson; the age-group team is open to all for a fee of $275 (although anyone who registers before Jan. 15 using the codes “TO” or “Rinny” will have the fee waived). Perks include local coach-led meet-ups in various locations, weekly interactive livestreams with the pros, access to training camps, and more. 

New sponsors for many pros

This week, pro triathlete Sam Long announced he has signed with both Zoot Sports and DT Swiss for 2022.  The former his bike and tri clothing partner, and the latter for wheels. “This partnership is about being as fast as possible and working together on aerodynamics and maximizing my potential on the bike,” Long posted about his choice to sign with DT Swiss. Later, he shared a photo of his new hot pink Trek Speed Concept with his new wheels, asking his followers for name suggestions. 

It’s that time of year, and a number of other pro sponsorships were recently announced: Spain’s Javier Gomez left Specialized and has partnered with Orbea; Craig Alexander and Josiah Middaugh have both been named to sports nutrition company The Feed’s Sponsored High Performance Team (Middaugh also signed with Go Sleeves last month); Carrie Lester shared that Zoot will be the clothing sponsor for her KIS Triathlon Team; Sam Appleton signed with Wyn Republic; Jason West and Lara Gruden joined Team Varlo; Justin Metzler inked a deal with Deboer wetsuits; and Joe Skipper teased a new bike sponsor, posting that his contract with Quintana Roo was up. 

Joe Gambles retires

Posting that “all good things must come to an end,” Joe Gambles has retired from the sport after 20 years of racing as a professional triathlete. “Triathlon has been my life and I am so thankful to everyone who has played an integral part in a very long and enjoyable career,” wrote Gambles. “I am grateful for the adventures I’ve had, the places I’ve visited, and most of all, all the people I’ve met along the way.” Career highlights for the Boulder-based Australian, who will turn 40 on Jan. 16, include more than 13 70.3 wins (including five at Boulder 70.3 alone), a bronze medal at the 2013 70.3 World Championship, a victory at Ironman Wisconsin in 2010, and a silver and bronze at the ITU Long Distance World Championship in 2011 and 2017, respectively. As for his next steps, Gambles shared that he plans to pursue his passion for coaching and “pass on the experience that I have gathered along the way.”

Join the Dreaming Season with USAT

Dreaming big in 2022? USA Triathlon wants to hear about your plans. As part of its fifth-annual #DreamingSeason campaign, a socially-media driven effort meant to inspire athletes to reach their greatest potential in the sport, USAT will be sharing content focused on training, goal-setting, and more all month long. By commenting on any USAT social media post related to #DreamingSeason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with your own goals and USAT-sanctioned race of choice, you’ll be automatically entered in a giveaway for a free race entry (up to $150) to any USAT-sanctioned event. (You must comment between Jan. 6-19; winners will be selected at random. More info can be found here.)

Triathlete recounts scary otter attack 

In this piece about wild animal attacks on humans, age-group triathlete Leah Hiller shares her harrowing brush-up with an otter while training in a Minnesota lake back in 2012. “One morning, I went for my usual mile-long swim. I’d done it 100 times before,” Hiller said. “I was on my way back to shore when I was bitten on the heel. It was a really sharp pain. Then I was attacked on the calf. Something grabbed my leg and just started biting.” Turns out, it was an aggressive otter, which bit her 25 times before she was rescued by her father. Crediting her neoprene wetsuit for saving her from serious injury, Hiller endured 25 rabies shots (one for each wound). Still, she competed in a triathlon just two weeks later, wearing a wetsuit that said “otter girl” on the back.

Podcast Notes 

  • The Ironwomen podcast welcomes surfer, marine scientist, and climate activist Finn van der Aar for an interesting conversation on climate change and its impact on the ocean, with takeaways on how to make simple changes to protect the planet at home and on the race  course.
  • Emma-Kate Lidbury is the featured guest on the 80/20 podcast, where she shares about her careers as both a pro triathlete and as the managing editor of Triathlete.
  • Yogi Triathlete brings on David Richman, who transformed himself from a sedentary overweight smoker to an accomplished triathlete and author of three books, including his latest, Cycle of Lives.
  • Pick up helpful tips covering everything from maximizing your race-day skills to nutrition to mental training and everything in between on the TriDot podcast.
  • Marni on the Move chats with Ventum bikes founder and CEO Diaa Nour about the company’s journey,   sprinkled with entrepreneurial tips and advice, and insight on how he stays fit.
  • The TriDoc discusses off-season training and has a conversation with mental endurance coach and triathlete Vanessa Faye Foerster, who describes how found her way to a big breakthrough in the sport (and how she’s helping others reach their own potential).
  • The Coaches’ Corner edition of the Rich Roll podcast touches on topics applicable to all endurance athletes, including endurance, training, goal setting, and more. 

 Get all the latest triathlon news in your inbox twice/week. Sign up for the Triathlete email newsletter.

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.