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TTL 2021 End of Year Awards

With every man and their dog currently handing out their end of season awards, we thought it would only be appropriate to jump on the bandwagon and do our own. These awards will be a bit different however, whilst they will include athlete of the year and race of the year, the ceremony will also reward the biggest flop & fail of the year and the best Strava account in the world of Triathlon.

Athlete of the Year

It’s impossible to look past our two Olympic champions for this award. Both backed up their Gold medal with a WTCS world title in Edmonton and then another outstanding performance to close out their season, Duffy took the Xterra world title in Maui and Blu posted the fastest ever Ironman time in Cozumel. No arguments here, Kristian Blummenfelt and Flora Duffy are our Athletes of the Year for 2021!

Race of the Year

The closest fought race of the year and most entertaining to watch was undoubtedly the early season Ironman 70.3 St George. Sanders vs Long vs Von Berg vs Baakergard vs Ditlev. Sanders took the win in a nail-biting downhill sprint to the finish, narrowly edging out Long and Baakergard (later disqualified for not serving a penalty) as well as Ditlev and Von Berg who had broken away on the bike. The kicker? The last 5km were broadcast on Instagram live by Talbot Cox, Sanders’ videographer right at the heart of the action.

Most Improved

Two athletes who began to make a name for themselves in 2020 but well and truly announced their presence on the world stage in 2021 are Sam Long and Taylor Knibb. Sam had shown some potential heading into the season, but his Ironman Coeur d’Alène win and 2nd place at the 70.3 worlds cemented his position as a world class triathlete. Taylor Knibb on the other hand already had multiple junior world titles to her name and hit the ground running in 2021 at WTCS Yokohama. Taylor demonstrated her versatility throughout the summer with her astounding performance at The Collins Cup, breakaway win at WTCS Montreal and strong performance at 70.3 Worlds.

Best Performance

The all-around best performance in 2021 is without a doubt Lucy Charles-Barclay’s win at 70.3 Worlds. She dominated the field with the best Swim-Bike-Run splits to win by over 8 minutes, this is unheard of at a World Championships level. With her eyes set on the Sub-8 project and an Ironman world title next year, the new collaboration with Jan Frodeno’s coach Dan Lorang has already proven a success!

Biggest Flop

The biggest flop of the year is awarded to the Australian Triathlon team at the Tokyo Olympics. Once upon a time a powerhouse of the sport, the Aussie team had several athletes who could have delivered in Tokyo but both the men, women and mixed relay races proved bitter disappointments.

Biggest Fail

The biggest Fail of the year is awarded to Ironman California. Hyped up for weeks on end as the unofficial world championships, the start list was worthy of Kona. Unfortunately, the weather decided it didn’t want to play ball and professional and age group athletes alike were informed on race morning that the race was cancelled due to wind and floods. We will forever be left wanting of the Frodeno vs Iden battle we so craved!

Best Youtube Channel

With almost every professional triathlete now delving into the world of Youtube, triathlon fans are spoilt for choice when it comes to video content throughout the season. Having started his Youtube channel as a passion project before it became fashionable, the triathlete with the best channel in 2021 is Eric Lagerstrom. That Triathlon Life is a channel that delivers weekly content, following Eric Lagerstrom and Paula Findlay as they train for and race over the Ironman 70.3 distance and Xterra format recently. In my opinion Eric is head and shoulders above all other Youtube channels when it comes filming quality, production standards, storylines, and consistency. Check out some of his best videos here, here and here.

Best Podcast

The Greg Bennett Show hosted by Australian Triathlon superstar Greg Bennett was launched in 2020, and in 2021 Greg cemented his position as the best Triathlon podcast on the interwebs. He had his work cut out to dethrone Bob Babbitt’s Breakfast with Bob show, but Greg’s ability to deliver quality insights week in week out with the best triathletes in the world is unmatched. Greg’s in-depth knowledge of the sport and credibility as a former athlete means the superstars can let their guard down compared to normal media commitments and share a side of themselves with listeners that we don’t find anywhere else.

Best Social Media

With Social Media being an integral part of a professional triathlete’s lifestyle these days, most athletes use tools such as Instagram and Twitter to deliver value for their sponsors and share stories from their day to day life. Unfortunately, this means most social media feeds are very similar. The breath of fresh air amongst this thankfully is none other than Tommy Zaferes. Combining behind the scenes insights with witty comedy, magic tricks, incredible photography and the occasional surfing or skateboarding video, Tommy has nailed the art of Social Media. Checkout his Instagram to see some of his recent content, or head to his Twitter to read some of his great/terrible jokes.

Best Strava

Everyone knows the saying, “if it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen. The two Norwegian superstars Kristian Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden take this to heart, posting every single one of their workouts on Strava for the world to see. Combining witty workout titles with silly photos, some crazy workouts and lots of volume at controlled intensities, Kristian and Gustav are both great follows on Strava.

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