If Jan Frodeno and Daniela Ryf can win their third straight titles, they will join some heady company in the world of triathlon.
September 29, 2017 | NEWS|
Peter Reid has said it for years: the hardest thing to do in the sport of triathlon is to defend the Ironman World Championship. A three-time winner in Kona, Reid wasn't ever able to defend a title. He won in 1998, 2000 and 2003.
According to Reid, the pressures and demands placed on the Kona champion make it really difficult to arrive in Kona ready to take the title again.
Despite that challenge, though, there are a few athletes who have been able to take multiple Ironman World Championship titles in a row. Three-peat victors, though, are a rare breed. How many three-peat Ironman world champs are there? (You'll have to work your way to the end of the story to find out.) Here's a look at some of the numbers around Kona champions:
20 different men have won in Kona since the inaugural race in 1978.
18 different women have won the event over the years.
Paula Newby-Fraser earned the title of "Queen of Kona" thanks to her eight wins - 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996.
There are three people who have won on the Ironman World Championship six times:
- Natascha Badmann - 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005.
- Dave Scott - 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986 and 1987.
- Mark Allen - 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1995.
There is only one person who has won the title four times:
- Chrissie Wellington - 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
In addition to Reid, there are two other three-time winners:
- Craig Alexander - 2008, 2009 and 2011.
- Mirinda Carfrae - 2010, 2013 and 2014.
The list of two-time champs is extensive:
- Sylviane Puntous - 1983 and 1984.
- Scott Tinley - 1982 and 1985.
- Erin Baker - 1997 and 1990.
- Luc Van Lierde - 1996 and 1999.
- Lori Bowden - 1998 and 2003.
- Tim DeBoom - 2001 and 2002.
- Normann Stadler - 2004 and 2006.
- Chris McCormack - 2007 and 2010.
- Daniela Ryf - 2015 and 2016.
- Jan Frodeno - 2015 and 2016.
One-time men's winners include: Gordon Haller (1978), Tom Warren (1979), John Howard (1981), Scott Molina (1988), Greg Welch (1994), Thomas Hellreigel (1997), Faris Al-Sultan (2005), Pete Jacobs (2012), Frederik Van Lierde (2013) and Sebastian Kienle (2014).
One-time women's winners include: Lyn Lemaire (1979), Robin Beck (1980), Linda Sweeney (1981), Kathleen McCartney (1982), Jule Leach (1982), Joanne Ernst (1985), Karen Smyers (1995), Heather Fuhr (1997), Michellie Jones (2006) and Leanda Cave (2012).
So, to finally get to the crux of the matter - those who have managed to defend their Ironman World Championship titles, here's the list of repeat and three-peat (and even four- and five-peat winners):
- Mark Allen won five in a row from 1989 to 1993.
- Paula Newby-Fraser won four in a row from 1991 to 1994. She also defended her title in 1989.
- Dave Scott won three in a row from 1982 to 1984 and defended his title in 1987.
- Natascha Badmann won three in a row from 2000 to 2002 and defended her title in 2005.
- Chrissie Wellington won three in a row from 2007 to 2009.
- Timothy DeBoom defended his title in 2002.
- Craig Alexander defended his title in 2009.
- Mirinda Carfrae defended her title in 2014.
- Jan Frodeno defended his title in 2016.
- Daniela Ryf defended her title in 2016.
So, if Ryf and Frodeno successfully defend their titles on the Big Island, who will they be joining on the three-peat list?
Dave Scott, Paula Newby-Fraser, Mark Allen, Natascha Badmann and Chrissie Wellington.
That is some impressive company.