There was lots of attention paid to athletes gearing up for the Paris Olympics next year, especially for those trying to guarantee their spots on the pontoon on the Seine this July. That made for some exciting racing, which, in turn, makes it a challenge to come up with one athlete to name the “triathlete of the year.” We gave it a go, though – but before we announce the winner, here’s a list of those we also considered for the title.
Yeah, we know. We’re throwing you off by beginning our list of those who didn’t take the title with the man many think was a shoe in. While Yee did win a number of World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) races including Abu Dhabi, Cagliari and the Paris Test Event, a tough day at the finals in Pontevedra meant that for the second year in a row he managed to dominate in so many places … and still not come up with the world championship title.
The Frenchwoman enjoyed a stellar 2023, nailing her spot for the Paris Olympics with a runner-up finish at the Test Event, and enjoying WTCS wins in Hamburg and Sunderland. She was remarkably consistent throughout the year, finishing on the podium in all but two of her races.
The Kiwi rounded out the season with a few impressive wins down under, taking the 40th anniversary event in Noosa and then a big win at Ironman 70.3 Melbourne (pictured above) a week later.
Wilde’s year included a number of big short course wins (WTCS Hamburg, WTCS Yokohama, Super League Malibu) along with some bad luck. A crash just before the Paris Test Event meant he couldn’t finish that race. He was DQd for riding through transition at Super League Toulouse and then ended up finishing 10th at the Grand Final, 23 seconds away from taking the world championship.
For the second year in a row a Frenchman took the world championship thanks to a dramatic win on the day when it meant the most. Dorian Conninx was consistent enough throughout the early season (fifth in Abu Dhabi, fourth in Yokohama, fourth in Cagliari – pictured above, third at the Test Event) to put himself in a position to win the world title as long as he won the Championship Finals in Pontevedra, and Hayden Wilde and Alex Yee had poor finishes. Conninx followed through with his end of the bargain, taking a dramatic sprint to the line and the world title.
Short Course Triathlete of the Year
After representing Great Britain at the 2016 Olympics on the track, Beth Potter is now on her way to a second Olympics, this time as a triathlete. Potter enjoyed a truly stellar pre-Olympic year build up, starting the season with her first WTCS win in Abu Dhabi, taking the Arena Games finals in London, finishing with a rare, non-podium event in Cagliari, winning in Montreal, taking second in Hamburg and rounding out the season with wins at the Paris Test Event and the Championship Finals in Pontevedra to nail the world title.
Potter will head into Paris as the favourite, which may or may not be a good thing – there will be lots of pressure and expectations on her throughout the year. For now, though, she’s a very worthy triathlete of the year, in our minds, anyway.