Born in September 1997 in Taupo, New Zealand and now 25 years old, Hayden Wilde is one of the most exciting triathletes in the world.
In his youth, Wilde grew up in Whakatane, New Zealand, and attended Trident High School. As a child, he had a keen interest in swimming, cycling and running as well as adventuring and kayaking. By the age of 16, Wilde became the youngest winner of the two-day Coast to Coast, which consists of running, cycling and kayaking over 243 kilometres.
In 2016, Hayden moved up the coast to Tauranga as he pursued his dreams of representing New Zealand on a global stage. He is currently trained by Craig Kirkwood, a former elite runner and Kona finisher. Kirkwood, whose best performance at the IRONMAN World Championship came in 2015 with a 194th-placed position, also trains athlete Sam Tanner, who represented New Zealand in the 1500m at Tokyo 2020. Although Kirkwood trains Wilde in the running and cycling department, Liz van Welie oversees the Kiwi’s swimming development.
The New Zealander, who comes from a mountain biking background, was a two-time XTERRA U19 and World Triathlon U23 Cross Triathlon World Champion as a youngster. He then decided to concentrate fully on triathlon after watching the great Alistair Brownlee win his second Olympic gold at Rio 2016 and dreamed of competing at an Olympic Games – which he achieved in 2021 when he won the bronze medal at Tokyo 2020.
Nicknamed the ‘Maltese Falcon’, Wilde earned that moniker whilst racing at Super League Malta in 2019 when he overcame a road rash and open wound on his face following a bike crash in the semi-finals to finish third in the final.
Hayden Wilde record and results
In 2016, Wilde added his third world title at the age of 19 when he won the Snowy Mountains ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships – in addition to his two XTERRA U19 titles. By 2017, Wilde had begun competing at elite men ITU level – finishing 13th and 25th at the Weihai and Miyazaki world cups respectively. Wilde also recorded top 10 finishes at three ASTC Sprint Triathlon Asian Cups at Takamatsu (third), Osaka (fourth), and Gamagori (seventh).
Wilde achieved his first podium finish at an ITU event in 2018 when he came second in Cagliari as well as finishing eighth in Chengdu and ninth in Lausanne. Wilde also finished on the podium at the Glenelg OUT Triathlon Mixed Relay Oceania Championships and ITU World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series Edmonton – coming third in both events. There was also success at U23 level for Wilde in 2018, when he came second at the Devonport OUT Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup and Sprint Triathlon Ocean Championships.
In 2019, Wilde began to make an impression in the triathlon world. He entered his first ever WTS elite race in Yokohama, finishing 22nd, and came 16th at the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds. However, it was in August when triathlon fans started to realise Wilde’s potential when he came third in the Tokyo Olympic Qualification event. Wilde also picked up wins at mixed relay level in Devonport, Edmonton and the U23 ITU Grand Final in Lausanne.
In the run-up to Tokyo 2020, Wilde produced solid performances, coming 2nd at the 2020 Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup and fifth at the AJ Bell 2021 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds, before another podium at the 2021 Europe Triathlon Sprint and Relay Championships Kitzbühel (third).
At Tokyo 2020, Wilde’s first ever Olympics, the New Zealander put in a stunning performance to win bronze behind Great Britain’s Alex Yee and winner Kristian Blummenfelt. Finishing on 1:45:24, Wilde was 20 seconds behind the Norwegian, with Wilde producing the third fastest run time (29:52) in Japan. After competing in the men’s event, Wilde then represented New Zealand in the mixed relay in Tokyo, producing the fastest time for the Kiwis in leg 4 (20:35) before they went on to finish 12th.
Following his success in Tokyo, Wilde came eighth at 2021 World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi, before embarking on a four-race win streak in 2022, winning at the Oceanian Triathlon Cups in New Plymouth, Mt Maunganui and Taupo before coming first at the Super League Arena Games Triathlon Finals Singapore.
He continued a fantastic – and sporting rivalry – with Alex Yee in the WTCS events in the first half of 2022 and the pair when then first and second at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, with a time penalty costing Wilde the chance to battle it out for gold on the run. Wilde eventually finished 3rd in the overall 2022 WTCS rankings, after a 6th place finish at the WTCS Grand Final in Abu Dhabi saw him lose out to Leo Bergere and Alex Yee in the battle for the world title.
At Super League Triathlon, Wilde has enjoyed some fantastic performances. In the 2021 Championship, Wilde came second overall after winning in London, coming third in Jersey as well as producing two fourth-place finishes in Munich and Malibu. In 2022, the Kiwi went one better, as he overcame Aussie Matt Hauser to take the 2022 Championship title with wins in London, Malibu and Toulouse.
Hayden Wilde family
After winning bronze at Tokyo 2020, an emotional Wilde spoke during an interview and dedicated his medal to his late father, who had passed away 12 years earlier.
Hayden Wilde gear
Wilde has partnerships with Orca, Canyon, SunGod, Nike (SportsShoes) and Red Bull. He is a member of the 2023 Bahrain Victorious 13.