Kristian Blummenfelt triumphed in Utah
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Ironman

History maker: Blummenfelt charges to IRONMAN World Championship win

Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt triumphs in St George to become the first triathlete to hold both the Olympic and IRONMAN world titles at the same time.
Written by Matthew Ogborn
3 min readPublished on
Kristian Blummenfelt battled back brilliantly on the final run leg in the Utah city of St George on Saturday to claim the IRONMAN World Championship title at his very first attempt, while Switzerland's Daniela Ryf powered to her fifth title in the women's race.
In a historic performance, Blummenfelt not only became the first male triathlete to win on debut since Belgium’s Luc van Lierde in 1996, but also the first to simultaneously hold the IRONMAN and Olympic world titles.
The Norwegian – who also holds the World Triathlon Championship Series crown – was a doubt to start due to illness. However, he made it to the line with compatriot and pre-race favourite Gustav Iden sadly ruled out with a similar cold and respiratory infection 24 hours before the start.
Triathlete Kristian Blummenfelt is seen during practice in Bahrain.
Blummenfelt put in plenty of training miles
Even though the likes of reigning champion Jan Frodeno, Alistair Brownlee and Javier Gomez also did not take part, it was still a strong field with France's Sam Laidlow, Denmark's Daniel Baekkegard, German Florian Angert and New Zealand's Braden Currie excelling in the swim.
Blummenfelt emerged from the water leg in 10th before producing a powerful performance during the brutal 112-mile bike leg to move up to eighth, trailing the leaders by 4 minutes and 26 seconds.
Kristian Blummenfelt cools down after warmup for the IRONMAN 70.3 Middle East Championship in Manama, Bahrain on December 7, 2019.
Blummenfelt made history in Utah
That was the most insane race that I have ever participated in
On the final marathon run leg, Currie eventually broke out on his own at the front to put victory within his sights only for Blummenfelt to crank up the pace behind to overtake him with just over nine miles remaining.
The Bergen native then pulled away superbly in his event debut to record a 2:38:01 marathon leg and triumph overall in 7:49:16, with Canadian Lionel Sanders passing Currie near the finish to claim second.
"That was the most insane race that I have ever participated in,” said the 28-year-old. “It was a giant individual time trial and everybody played to their strengths. Hats off to Braden, it was an amazing battle. I didn't take anything for granted. My only goal was to execute my absolute best performance. I just did my own race."
Baekkegard eventually finished in seventh as the strength-sapping hot and windy conditions saw many drop out thanks to more than 7,000ft of elevation on the bike and 1,400ft on the run to combat.
Daniela Ryf performs during the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, United States on October 12, 2019.
Daniela Ryf cruised to a fifth world title
In the women's race, Switzerland's Daniela Ryf powered to her fifth title by nearly nine minutes from Briton Kat Matthews to silence her doubters following a big defeat at IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside just over a month ago.
Ryf was more than four minutes off the leader in fourth after the opening swim leg, then went hard on her bike to move more than seven minutes clear of Matthews. She then produced a steady run leg to cross the finish line in 8:34:59 as Matthews held off German Anne Haug for second.
The 34-year-old said: "I'm just so stoked, after a really hard few months, to bring it together today. What a day! The swim was tough. On the bike, Kat was pushing, I was pushing. I thought to myself on the bike, 'even if I'm not going to win, I had fun today,' and that's really important."