After her back-to-back wins at Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells / La Quinta and Challenge Daytona, it seems all-too-appropriate to celebrate Paula Findlay’s incredible string of WTS wins earlier this decade. Over a two-year period between 2010 and 2011, the Edmonton native set the Canadian standard for wins at the World Triathlon Series.
With the ITU shifting from a single-race world championship to a points-based format in 2009, no Canadian athlete had reached a WTS podium when Findlay stepped on the start line at the London event in July of 2010.
The Edmonton native went out and won the race, defeating Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig (who would go on to win Olympic gold in 2012) on the run for the biggest win of her young career.
Findlay, now 30, followed that up by winning the next WTS event three weeks later in Kitzbühel, Austria, out-sprinting Sweden’s Lisa Norden and New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt. The two wins in 2010 made Findlay the only woman with back-to-back wins on the circuit that season, a feat made even more impressive by the fact that it was her rookie year.
After closing out the 2010 campaign with a fifth-place finish at the Grand Final in Budapest, which put her fifth in the overall standings, she turned things up a notch in 2011.
Findlay won the opening race of the season in April, taking a close sprint to the line with Chile’s Barbara Riveros in Sydney, and then in June, claimed back-to-back battles with Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins in Madrid and Kitzbühel.
The unprecedented three straight victories made the Canadian the most successful woman in WTS history, giving her five wins to surpass Emma Moffatt’s four, and launched her to the top of the ITU world rankings. The crazy part was that those five wins had come in her last six races.
“It’s kind of indescribable,” Findlay said once the season had wrapped up. “I went into it not really certain of my goals because I was injured last season (stress fracture in her foot) and I’ve been building from a junior into a senior, and new to the World Cup and racing these international athletes. So I just wanted to get used to that, maybe Top 15 finishes in the WCS races.”
“I just kept on surprising myself as I kept racing. It was beyond any of my expectations.”