Recalled: Finish Line Love
It's Valentine's Day, and love is in the air. What better way to celebrate than with the most romantic and magnetic finish line moments ever captured on camera?
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The Couple: Mirinda Carfrae and Tim O’Donnell
Hollywood could not have scripted a more spontaneous, more passionate embrace than the one between Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae and Tim O’Donnell after her win in the 2013 Ironman World Championships. The Aussie had just won her second world title with an overall run course record of 2:50:35 and still had energy to leap into the arms of her fiancé O’Donnell (who had placed fifth in the men’s race). As cameras rolled–and spectators swooned–the power couple’s pure joy for one another was palpable. The pair married a couple of months later and are now the parents of two.
The Couple: Patrick Lange and Julia Hofman
In 2018, Patrick Lange of Germany not only won the Ironman World Championship, but he broke the course record, too. Yet Lange still had unfinished business when he reached the finish line. Mike “The Voice of Ironman” Reilly barely got a few words out of the champ in his interview before Lange pulled his girlfriend, Julia, from the crowd and got down on one knee. “Julia, do you want to marry me?” he asked a clearly shocked Hofman. She managed a nod and a yes between sobs as Lange comically fell to the ground, awash in relief and exhaustion. Reilly roared, “She said yes!” into the microphone and the crowd erupted in cheers. The kicker? This all happened before the second place finisher, Belgium’s Bart Aernouts, even crossed the line. Lange and Hofman were married in August of 2019.
RELATED: Who Is Ironman World Champion Patrick Lange?
The Couple: Cody Beals and James Cooper
Beals’ win at Ironman Mont Tremblant in 2019 was a breakthrough for more than one reason. Sure, he finished in 7:58:34–a PR and course record. But when he hugged and planted an enthusiastic kiss on his partner, James Cooper, Beals made a powerful, positive statement for the LGBT+ community. As the first openly gay male pro triathlete, Beals’ finish line lip lock celebrated that love is love, in triathlon–and beyond. Beals recently reminisced on the magnetic moment, posting on Instagram for National Hugging Day on Jan. 21. “A hug can convey so many different emotions,” he posted. “Love, respect, friendship, relief… I hope hugs are back soon!”
RELATED: PROfile: How Cody Beals Found Self-Acceptance
The Couple: Ashleigh Gentle and Josh Amberger
Talk about saving up for the wedding: 2022 was the year Gentle took home more than $350,000 in prizes, mostly from her wins at PTO Opens in Edmonton and Dallas. Amberger, her fiancé, missed the Edmonton victory, but famously celebrated from afar with a very excited (and expletive-laden) reaction to his beloved’s big win. He wasn’t about to make that mistake twice – Amberger was there when Gentle won in Dallas, greeting her at the finish line with a big smile and even bigger hug. The two married a few months later, with even more stunning photos (albeit with more fashionable outfits than tri suits).