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Jan Frodeno on the process of developing the “mentality of a champion”

Staff Reporter

Jan Frodeno retired from professional triathlon this season as one of the greatest athletes to ever grace the sport, as the German waved goodbye at the men’s IRONMAN World Championship in Nice.

Looking back on his career in a video recently released by the PTO, the PTO World #5 reveals what it means in his eyes to be a champion and the mentality you need to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

With an Olympic gold medal and multiple IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship titles to his name, nobody knows better than Frodeno what it takes to achieve greatness.


“You have to find your calling”

Reflecting on the journey to embodying what it means to be a champion, Frodeno pointed out that it was not something that he had always had, but rather something that had developed throughout his career.

Jan Frodeno PTO Tour US Open 2023 Milwaukee
Jan Frodeno wins the PTO Tour US Open in Milwaukee (Photo – PTO).

“I think I developed the mentality of a champion for sure. When I won the Olympics, I would have said yeah I won the Olympics, but I wasn’t necessarily a champion as such, because as a champion you stand for a little bit more in the sport.

“Despite this not sounding very humble, I do think that I am a good ambassador of the sport and I take people along on that journey to a certain degree.” 

Whilst a number of the best athletes have a champion mentality, the 2023 PTO Tour US Open winner said that each individual’s journey to that point is very unique.

“Champion mentality, I think is a tricky one, because it’s very individual. You can’t apply something across all athletes. To a degree, we are all running from something and when you do that, you have to find your own calling.

“You have to know what it is that makes you get out of bed when it’s all closing in and you just want to rest and your legs are so sore and you keep on pushing.” 


What makes the G.O.A.T tick?

For Frodeno, his personal motivation came from a desire to make it to the top, combined with a need to change his circumstances and find his limits.

“For me, it’s been a complex mix of trying to be at the top, feeling self worthy, feeling that I want to supersede myself and finding my limits. However, it’s also something that changes a lot on the way.

“I just used to want to change my stars and have different circumstances and make it as such, whereas financial motivation nowadays is none, it’s something that doesn’t motivate me, if anything it sabotages me.

“Therefore, it’s interesting to keep on analysing that, because after 20 years as pro, you need to reinvent yourself and you need to refine that reason. Otherwise you’re going to have a short space of time and once you fulfil whatever you’re running from, then the journey is probably coming to an end.” 

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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