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Can the Norwegian hype train go the distance at Paris 2024? Mark Allen verdict

Mark Allen shares his thoughts on Blummenfelt and Iden going for Olympic glory

Staff Reporter
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Having dominated long-course triathlon last season, Kristian Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden now have their sights set firmly on Paris 2024. But is this mighty challenge the one which could finally derail the ‘Norwegian hype train’?

The Norwegian duo have struggled to make a mark back on the short-course scene so far this season, with a number of pundits questioning the wisdom of coming back in distance after so successfully stepping up.

Mark Allen, six-time IRONMAN World Champion, recently shared his thoughts on the matter, underlining what he thinks has been the missing ingredient in the pairs programme – recovery.

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“Kristian and Gustav look like they’re struggling”

With season best results of fifth for Blummenfelt and 32nd for Iden on the WTCS circuit, Allen spoke eloquently about the challenges the two have faced coming down in trip.

“I’ve been thinking about something. I’ve been watching some pretty damn good athletes, IRONMAN champions and World Champions, try and make it to the Olympics.

“The two that I’m looking at, Kristian Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden, have both won an Ironman World Championship, and are both trying to make it to the Olympics in Paris.

“So far, Kristian and Gustav look like they’re struggling to make that happen. They’re struggling to even make it up on the podium, so, what’s happened?

“Kristian and Gustav are super-talented athletes and have a smart coach, but this is what I think is happening, it has to do with recovery.” 

“The Ironman has been normalised”

Further explaining his belief that last year’s IRONMAN World Champions may have underestimated the lasting fatigue that comes with long-course racing, Allen pointed out that the distance isn’t given the same respect as in days gone by.

Kristian Blummenfelt wins Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Photo Credit: Wagner Araujo / World Triathlon

“The Ironman has been normalised to a certain extent. I think a lot of athletes, maybe Kristian, maybe Gustav, have fallen into the trap of thinking they can do an Ironman, then take a couple of weeks easy before then getting straight back at it.

“The deep reserve of energy you put out – not just in your racing but also your training – to get ready for that Ironman World Championship takes a long time to replenish.

“I don’t think they’re recovered. They went from full-distance racing to 70.3 racing to Olympic racing, without taking the time to really put that energy back in, which you can’t do when you’re training hard.

“I think the reason that Kristian and Gustav are struggling to come back down to the Olympic distance is because they haven’t taken the time to recover from the long training it took for them to excel at the Ironman distance.” 

Blummenfelt and Iden have never ever shirked a challenge – it is a hugely impressive trait of the Norwegian stars of today. Next month they will take it up a further notch with an insane schedule which will see them take in massive events in Paris, Singapore and Finland in the space of nine days.

Whatever happens on the road to France next summer, they will – as always – be box office.

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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