Thomas Gerlach wrote:
IMHO not sure if we can put Russell at 37 in the young pup division. Hanson is still 35 and a solid swim and bike and I still like his chances but if you can't swim front pack you really need to be a diesel strength athlete like Lieferman or Russell to survive and thrive on the bike and put yourself in a good position. I am not sure how engaged Kanute will be going forward. We shall see. He is getting married, probably having kids and family, plus he has been doing this sport as a kid. He is someone who through my interactions with always had big life goals outside of triathlon and I wonder about the tug-of-war between those and triathlon. Kanute is a super intelligent kid as well.
Long is a relative newcomer. Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. The euphemistic punch in triathlon is always that first serious injury. It is too early to say. He is a big strong athlete as well and he has ran well and I don't know enough about his background but Russell was equally as strong of athlete and comes from a steeplechase background. One of Russell's strength is he runs so well in the heat and I think that is a big question mark with Long still.
I haven't had a lot of interactions with Long. I only raced him at Ironman Wisconsin 2017 where he was not quite the same athlete he is today by any stretch, but Lionel is an absolute beast. Lionel is one of those athletes and when you see how hard he trains, how much pain he is willing to endure, it almost like, f*** **, because you are so demoralized. You saw a little bit of that from Frodo back at Oceanside many moons ago. Frodo, just kind of shook his head thinking how much better Lionel was on the bike and you could see the wheels turning in Frodo about Lionel's ability. I am always taken back with Lionel's 2010 Ironman Louisville bike ride as an amatuer on who knows what equipment and position on the hardest Louisville course by a long shot. It showed just how big of a potential Lionel has. Factor in his gait and it is amazing what Lionel has accomplished.
Ben and Courtney got married in January. She left her broadcasting career so that she could be in full support of his triathlon career and travel the world with him. Yes, the bundle of joy is incoming. But I don't see him leaving the sport anytime soon.
Washed up footy player turned Triathlete.