Daniela Ryf turns ‘fangirl’ as ’emotional rollercoaster’ ends in a fairytale result

'The Angry Bird' was ecstatic as she cheered Van Berkel to victory

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Daniela Ryf is more accustomed to being the subject of adulation from her supporters around the world, so becoming a ‘fangirl’ herself on Sunday was quite the experience.

The 36-year-old five-time IRONMAN World Champion, fresh off that incredible fastest ever full-distance time at Challenge Roth last month, was at IRONMAN Switzerland to cheer on long-time friend Jan Van Berkel. Clad of course in custom Van Berkel merch.

Ryf went through all of the emotions as the 37-year-old Van Berkel came from off the pace to land a fairytale victory to end his career in the most special of circumstances.

It was the fourth victory for Van Berkel in his home race, and afterwards he celebrated with his very own superfan – Daniela herself.


Ryf delight at Van Berkel victory

‘The Angry Bird’ took to Instagram after the race to share photos of herself with Jan, accompanied by a heartfelt message full of pride and relief. It read:

“Simply proud πŸ₯Ή

Congratulations @janvberkel on your win at @ironmanswitzerland. What a perfect way to round up your amazing career. It all started together over 20 years ago, and it means so much to share this moment with you. πŸ’ž

Thanks to @sarah.van.berkel for the fan shirts and taking care of his fans. I never realized how much of an emotional rollercoaster spectating can be πŸ˜…


All roads lead to Kona for Daniela

While retirement now beckons for Van Berkel, Ryf is still very much the woman to beat when it comes to long-course triathlon. She silenced the doubters (again) with that Roth masterclass to smash the long-time world best set by Chrissie Wellington more than a decade ago.

Now Daniela will put the focus on her build-up to the bid for a sixth IRONMAN World Championship title at Kona in October.

Graham Shaw
Written by
Graham Shaw
Graham has been involved with TRI247 & RUN247 since the summer of 2021. Since then he has provided strategic direction for all news and is passionate about the growth of triathlon as a fan sport.
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