Well we’ve figured out why Olympic gold medalist Kristian Blummenfelt won’t be competing at WTCS Montreal later this month – that same weekend the Norwegian will be racing at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt, Germany, taking on the likes of full-distance specialists like Patrik Nilsson (SWE), Germany’s Andi Boecherer and Canadian Brent McMahon.
You can find the full pro list for Frankfurt here.
After his impressive win at the Olympics, Blummenfelt told World Triathlon that his plans for the rest of the year include the race in Frankfurt, where he hopes to earn a qualifying slot for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
“I want to win Kona this year,” he said in the World Triathlon podcast.
Blummenfelt says he also intends to go after the WTCS championship, too – he plans to race in Edmonton a week after his full-distance debut as he hunts that world title, too. To take that title, though, he’ll likely have to beat Great Britain’s Alex Yee, who currently leads the WTCS standings and took the silver medal in Tokyo.
There’s a lot of history of Olympians moving up to full-distance racing – Jan Frodeno being the most famous example as the 2008 Olympic champion and three-time Ironman world champion. Alistair Brownlee would win his first full-distance effort in Ireland, and also set a new course record when he dominated Ironman Western Australia in 2019. In 2000, the year of the first Olympic event in Sydney, American Joanna Zeiger finished fourth in the Olympics, then took fifth in Kona.
Qualifying for Kona would hardly be a surprise for Blummenfelt, who holds the world-best time for the half-distance – a 3:29:04 that featured a 21:36 swim, 1:56 bike and a 1:06 run at the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship in Bahrain. In 2019 he took fourth at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France, a week after he won the WTS Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland (photo above). Turning around a week after his Ironman debut to win the world title over an Olympic distance event would certainly be quite a feat.
It’s not as if Blummenfelt’s ambitious schedule will end after this year, either – he’s one of the four athletes involved in the sub-7 and sub-8 project next year where he and Great Britain’s two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee will try to break seven hours for a full-distance race, while Great Britain’s Lucy Charles-Barclay and Switzerland’s gold and silver Olympic medalist Nicola Spirig will try to break the eight-hour barrier for a full-distance race.