On Sunday, Jan Frodeno crossed the finish line at the Ironman World Championship in Nice, France, wrapping up an incredible professional career spanning 22 years.
The first man ever to win both an Olympic gold medal and an Ironman World Championship, Frodeno has earned palmares across multiple distances in the sport of triathlon. Not only did he win the Ironman World Championship in 2015 on the famous course in Kona, Hawaii, but also defended the title the following year and won it one more time in 2019. He set the fastest-known time over the full triathlon distance in 2016 at Challenge Roth with a 7:35, then lowered it by 8 minutes in 2021 at the Tri Battle Royale. He also won the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in 2015 and 2018.
He has garnered not just adulation from the crowd but also respect from his peers and the sport’s legends, figuring prominently in any conversation on who is the greatest of all time.
The German star kicked off his last race swimming in the lead pack over the 3.8 kilometres in the Baie des Anges, exiting the water after 47 minutes in second place. He then rode 4:44 over the 180-kilometre cycle course in the mountains with over 2,400 metres of elevation before running the marathon on the Promenade des Anglais in 3:08:12 soaking up the cheers, atmospheres, and high fives to finish in 24th place. Bahrain Victorious 13 teammate Joe Skipper battled through to finish six spots down in 30th.
Frodeno’s final Ironman finish was the grace note to the symphony that has been this final year of racing. As he came back from a major soft tissue injury that ruled him out of racing the latter half of 2022, he notched asolid fourth-place finishes at the PTO European Open and Ironman European Championships before winning the PTO US Open and Ironman 70.3 Andorra.
“It’s been such an incredible journey,” Frodeno said at the finish line, drawing a parallel between Ironman racing and gladiators fighting in an arena. “Going in with the gladiators for the last time, the lion got me. But that’s all right. I died doing what I love, so I’m a happy guy.”