Dispatch: Kona Lessons From Hoffman And Potts

Americans Ben Hoffman and Andy Potts both pulled off top-five finishes at the 2014 Ironman World Championship.

Photo: John David Becker

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On a day at the Ironman World Championship when 16 out of the event’s 52 pro male starters were unable to finish the race, the accomplishments of those that triumphed are especially impressive. Not only is it athletic talent and training discipline that enables certain athletes to persevere and reach the podium–strategic approach and mental attitude are equally important. At the post-race press conference in Kona, the two top-performing Americans–Ben Hoffman who finished second and Andy Potts who finished fourth, the first American men to grace the Ironman World Championship podium since Chris Lieto’s second place in 2009–shared some insight into what made their days successful.

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A trio of important lessons can be learned from Hoffman’s comments:

  • Race your own race
  • Take calculated risks
  • Be prepared to push

Here’s what Hoffman had to say:

“To think that I could have gone with Sebastian [Kienle] would be naïve. He was riding very well today. I had a plan coming into this race. The logical step for me I thought would be to go to the top 10 this year, and I felt I had that fitness and ability and the mental strength as well. I did roll the dice a little bit, actually, on the way up to Hawi. I saw a few opportunities and I took them. I did ride with Frederik [Van Lierde], which I thought was a smart move. He’s very steady and solid and I felt good at that time so I took that opportunity. But especially on the marathon I did my own race. I tried not to ever panic or do anything that wasn’t part of my plan and in the end it turned out really well. I think in Hawaii you have to be smart and you have to do your best race. And then occasionally it comes down to racing. [Jan] Frodeno was closing on me at the end. I probably would have slowed down a bit but you have to race, especially when you’re up front like that.”

And from Andy Potts, grateful to compete after having to withdraw last minute in 2013 due to an injury, another valuable lesson:

  • A positive perspective pays off

Potts shared the following:

“Last year the opportunity to perform was not in the cards for me. I was very appreciative to be here and to be healthy this year, to show thanks and to show appreciation and to have an opportunity. That’s really all us athletes want–to have a chance to show our good days. I was appreciative to be out there on the Queen K all day. I wasn’t exactly happy, but I was very appreciative!”

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