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Jan Frodeno calls it a season

Defending Ironman world champion confirms he will be racing in St. George and Kona next year

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Defending Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno has announced that he won’t be racing at Ironman South Africa on November 21 – the cold he picked up on his way to Ironman California continues to bother him, so he’s decided that he’s done racing for 2021.


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After getting “a little better and getting stuck back into training … I’m still not 100 per cent,” the 2019 Ironman world champion said in a video posted from the “fun fair” with his kids. “I’ve decided to call it a season – a little bit sad not to make it to South Africa, I really did want to have a crack at a good race there, but that’s the way sports sometimes works. Its time for an off-season for me, then getting into the 2022 season. Two world championships – really looking forward to it.”

Welcome to the Jan Frodeno show – a masterful win at Challenge Miami

Frodeno grew up in South Africa, living there between 1992 and 2004. He learned to swim at 15 and started competing in surf lifesaving competitions in 1999. After watching the triathlon event at the 2000 Olympics, Frodeno turned his sights on that sport.

“After my first tris back in S.A., I sold my bike for a plane ticket to Europe to race in the German League,” Frodeno wrote in his biography for World Triathlon. “Having a successful season I made the jump to the U-23 national side, which enabled me to return to Germany in the following European summers.”

Frodeno would take the silver medal at the 2004 U23 world championships, then take the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, outsprinting Canadian Simon Whitfield.

In July Frodeno set a new world best for a full-distance triathlon at the Tri-Battle Royale where he raced against Lionel Sanders. Frodeno improved on his time from Challenge Roth in 2016 (7:35:39) by going 7:27:53.

The good news for triathlon fans from this announcement is that Frodeno, who turned 40 on August 18, will still be racing next year.