A year of new races, world records, contaminated salt tablets and an unexpected retirement. Here’s a round-up of some of the big news headlines in the triathlon world, by month, in 2017:
January — Flora Duffy tops 2016 prize money earnings
Triathletes were curious to see who the top-earning triathlete in 2016 was — turns out it was Flora Duffy, who made nearly $225,000 USD in prize money thanks to her world champion titles in ITU and Xterra racing. It looks like Duffy may be the top earner in 2017, sitting at nearly $300,000 as of right now according to Challenge Family’s weekly report.
February — Two positive ostarine tests
Two female pro triathletes — Beth Gerdes and Lauren Barnett tested positive for ostarine in a press release that came out in February. While Barnett could prove her positive test came from a contaminated salt tablet and therefore given a shorter sanction, Gerdes could not, and was given two years. This was not the first positive ostarine test in the news that year, and would not be the last.
March — FVL attacked in South Africa ahead of IMSA
The 2013 Ironman world champion, Frederick Van Lierde, was mugged and robbed while out on a training ride ahead of Ironman South Africa. It was particularly concerning news as triathletes from around the world will be heading to the Port Elizabeth area in 2018 for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.
April — #Comeback2017
When Andrew Starykowicz was in recovery from being dragged behind a truck in summer of 2016, he announced he would be making a comeback to pro racing. The uber cyclist impressed the world when he clocked a 4:01:14 bike split at Ironman Texas, breaking the record for fastest bike in an Ironman event.
May — Tim Don sets IM world record
Just seven months after Lionel Sanders made history with the fastest Ironman to date at Ironman Arizona, Tim Don shattered that record at Ironman Brazil.
June — Canadian age-grouper disqualified at Ironman 70.3 Syracuse
One of our biggest news headlines of all time was the story of Canadian Kristen Johnson letting air out of a competitor’s tires at Ironman 70.3 Syracuse, the event being caught on camera and Johnson checking herself into a mental health facility after the news came out.
July — No more Ironman Canada?
There wasn’t any big international news that came out of July, but one headline that got lots of attention in Canada was a report that the village of Pemberton, B.C. would not support the renewal of Ironman Canada in their community. Fortunately, the iconic event will return to the Whistler area through 2020.
August — Brownlee announces withdrawal from Ironman 70.3 World Champs
After making an incredible debut in 70.3 racing at Ironman 70.3 St. George in May, double Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee announced he would be getting surgery and therefore out of competition for the remainder of 2017, including September’s Ironman 70.3 World Championships. Many were disappointed as his long course battle with Gomez, Kienle and others was a hotly anticipated race.
September — New world champions crowed
Daniela Ryf and Javier Gomez win Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Flora Duffy and Mario Mola win ITU World Championships.
October — Ryf three-peats in Kona, Lange breaks Kona course record
There was no shortage of excitement at the Ironman World Championships this year. Daniela Ryf made history as one of few athletes to win three straight titles, and Patrick Lange broke the Ironman World Championship course record on his way to winning his first title. Lionel Sanders took second, a huge accomplishment for Canadians.
November — Jorgensen retires
One of the most accomplished triathletes in history, Gwen Jorgensen announced she would be switching to the marathon with the goal of trying to win gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Triathlon was sad to see one of their favourite athletes retire.
December — GoFundMe campaign causes outrage
The month isn’t over, but so far one of the biggest headlines in the world of triathlon is American rookie pro Danielle Dingman‘s GoFundMe page to help fund her burgeoning triathlon career. It caused outrage on social media by athletes and industry folks who claimed Dingman shouldn’t be asking the public to help launch her triathlon expenses.