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The TRI247 Triathlon Awards Companion: Your Guide to the 2023 Categories

Our companion guide for the 2023 TRI247 Triathlon Awards.

Staff Reporter
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With an action packed year of triathlon racing drawing to a close, we couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to look back and reminisce about the great performances and world class races that made this season one to remember.

To celebrate such a memorable 12 months of racing, the team at TRI247 decided to put their heads together and honour the athletes and races that kept us on the edge of our seats throughout the year, with the 2023 TRI247 Triathlon Awards.

In our companion piece, we reveal the categories for the awards, our list of nominations and explain the criteria we established when taking on the tough task of trying to decide the winners.

Triathlete of the Year Award

When picking our ‘Triathlete of the Year’, we split the category into two, with a separate award for the best male and female triathlete. This award recognised the best athlete across the board, which meant picking from a list of nominees who had excelled in one or more of a number of disciplines throughout the year.

Whilst a case could have been made for the inclusion of some select athletes who raced phenomenally in a big event, such as Sam Laidlow at the IRONMAN World Championship in Nice, we favoured the racers who had continually proved themselves to be the best during the course of the season.

Amongst the nominees were winners of World Titles and PTO Tour races, with a common theme being athletes who like Kristian Blummenfelt and Taylor Knibb, had shown their prowess in both the short course world and long distance triathlon.

On the men’s side, the decision was a close call between a number of Olympic gold medal candidates in Paris 2024, whilst on the women’s side, the list was dominated by an incredibly versatile list of stars.

Male Triathlete of the Year NomineesHayden Wilde, Kristian Blummenfelt, Alex Yee and Leo Bergere.

Female Triathlete of the Year NomineesBeth Potter, Anne Haug, Taylor Knibb and Ashleigh Gentle.

Paratriathlete of the Year Award

For our next award, ‘Paratriathlete of the Year’, we once again split the category into two, with a separate list of nominees for the best male and female paratriathlete.

World Triathlon Para Cup Paris 2023 -Lauren Parker
Photo Credit: Wagner Araujo / World Triathlon

When deciding on the winner of this category, one of the main challenges came with comparing the achievements of athletes from different classifications, with nominees ranging from PTWC Champions to PTS5 racers.

Fortunately, we had TRI247 Chief Correspondent and Paratriathlon commentator John Levison on board to help us decide on the winners, with the athletes dominance across the season one of the main sets of criteria for this category.

We also looked ahead to Paris 2024, where most of our nominees will be battling it out for a Paralympic Gold medal, some for the very first time, with their classifications newly included in the Games.

Male Paratriathlete of the Year Nominees – Jetze Plat, Alexis Hanquinquant, Daniel Molina and Dave Ellis.

Female Paratriathlete of the Year Nominees – Lauren Parker, Francesca Tarantello, Grace Norman and Elise Marc.

Breakthrough Athlete of the Year Award

Next up, our ‘Breakthrough Athlete of the Year’ award perhaps inspired the biggest debate amongst our expert panel, as setting the criteria for the award proved to be a real challenge.

In the end, we managed to settle on one that looked primarily at the strides forward an athlete has taken in the past 12 months, with the progress of American Jason West, who has risen from PTO World #23 last year to World #3 in 2023, a great example.

In deciding this category, whilst age played some part, a number of our nominees had been racing in the sport for a number of years, especially on the men’s side, but had experienced a major turn in fortunes thanks to their hard work and dedication that had finally come to fruition this season.

Female Breakthrough Athlete of the Year Nominees – Kate Waugh, Emma Lombardi, Marjolaine Pierre and Fanny Szalai.

Male Breakthrough Athlete of the Year Nominees – Rico Bogen, Frederic Funk, Mathis Margirier and Jason West.

Performance of the Year Award

One of the toughest categories to decide a winner for was undoubtedly the ‘Performance of the Year’ award, as there were just so many potential candidates to choose from.

Lucy Charles Barclay wins 2023 IRONMAN World Championship photo credit Getty Images for IRONMAN
[Photo credit: Getty Images for IRONMAN]

Narrowing the list down to a handful of nominees was tough enough, with great efforts such as Anne Haug winning the PTO Tour European Open and Dorian Coninx clinching the WTCS title in a sprint finish at the Grand Final in Pontevedra missing out.

To pick the winner for the men and women’s performance of the year, we tried to look at the wider circumstances, with the narrative following the athlete into the race just as important as the race win itself.

Perhaps with a touch of nostalgia, we looked back especially fondly on the performances of triathlon legends, such as Daniela Ryf’s record breaking day at Challenge Roth, whilst also considering the performances that bordered on the unbelievable, like Alex Yee’s domination at the Paris Test event.

Female Performance of the Year NomineesLucy Charles-Barclay (Kona), Daniel Ryf ( Challenge Roth) and Kat Matthews (IRONMAN Texas).

Male Performance of the Year NomineesJan Frodeno (PTO US Open), Magnus DItlev (Challenge Roth) and Alex Yee (Paris Test Event).

Race of the Year Award

For our final category, we looked at the ‘Race of the Year’, with the nominations including the races which combined the best organisation with the most competitive fields and the best experience for spectators and viewers.

Whilst the men’s IRONMAN World Championship in Nice was great, it didn’t quite make our list, with the incredible battle at the women’s IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, the spiritual home of triathlon, one of the three nominations.

As far as atmosphere goes, a race with the history and pedigree of Challenge Roth is hard to match, and combined with record breaking performances from Ditlev and Ryf, it was one event that we just couldn’t ignore.

Finally, a race that also ticked all three boxes of a great field, strong organisation and a brilliant atmosphere was the PTO Tour European Open held in Ibiza, which will return for the second time in September 2024.

Race of the Year Nominations – IRONMAN World Championship Kona, Challenge Roth and PTO Tour European Open.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.

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