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Much more than Jan Frodeno’s training partner

Jan Frodeno says he's the best swim/biker in the sport. Can he step up and complete the package?

Photo by: Jose Luis Hourcade

Kyle Smith might not be a familiar name to the average triathlon fan, but avid fans might be aware of the New Zealand both from his impressive results down under, but also because he’s Jan Frodeno’s training partner. (A. chance meeting in Girona turned into a training partnership that has benefitted both.)

In a video produced by the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) today, though, we learn why we’ll want to keep an eye on Smith as he moves from being one of the sport’s best “swim/ bikers” (Frodeno’s take) to a full-fledged star in the sport.

“Triathlon as a sport is where hard work is rewarded,” says Smith, who travelled to Europe from New Zealand with literally nothing other than local success and a burning desire to succeed. “It’s a brutal sport. We’re training more than 30 hours a week, and it’s almost a sport where the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Unlike some other sports where talent kind of prevails a lot more.”

“I really feel like my swim and my bike is world class, but now I’ve got to improve the run,” Smith continues. “And so now it’s going to be really working on that, working on myself, working on my running, and just committing to developing myself as an athlete and just accepting that maybe I won’t be world class yet in the next two, three months. But if I commit to being world class in the next two years, that’s what I’m going to do.”

“As an athlete, I’m extremely hungry. I’m not in the sport to get rich,” Smith says. “I’m in the sport to be the best in the world. I’m super passionate for the sport. Last year, I really felt like I could have been top ten ranked in the world. I really believe that I’m a better athlete then, I guess, than what I’ve shown on paper. I just want to be the best athlete that I can be.”

Smith is quick to recognize how much of a game changer the PTO has been for his career. When he was selected to Team International for the Collins Cup in 2021, the US$20,000 he earned was enough to allow him to stay and train and race in Europe.

“You could say that the PTO is literally life changing…and allowed me to be a full-time athlete and actually be secure in Europe.”