T100 World Tour

Lionel Sanders says triathlon CAN be a big deal like cycling and TDF, and this is how

He's set a perfect example himself and 'No Limits' is calling on others to make themselves heard

News Director
Last updated -
T100 Triathlon World Tour
Redefining triathlon

Lionel Sanders has done more than most to raise triathlon’s profile in recent years and he’s set out how he thinks his fellow pros can help amplify the sport by making themselves heard.

‘No Limits’ has over 160,000 subscribers on YouTube and proved a big draw when dropping right down in distance earlier this season in the short-format Arena Games.

Speaking on the latest Super League ‘Face To Face’ podcast he cited the Tour de France – which has gripped a global audience over the last couple of weeks with that absorbing Jonas Vingegaard vs Tadej Pogacar battle – as an example of what’s possible.

“If cycling is on the TV for 21 straight days in six-hour stages, without doubt we can also be a bona fide professional sport. But it’s certainly going to take a lot of work over the next few years,” he reckons.

Sanders says athletes must have personality

The Canadian believes part of that process is cultivating and building personalities, saying: “Some of the young guys now are seeing that to grow the sport, you’ve got to say something. You’ve got to have a personality.

“You just amplify your personality, you don’t have to be an asshole. But if you’re a little bit of an asshole you can amplify it a little bit and be the polarising guy. There’s dudes who are doing that now, and they’re starting to see that, and it’s fun.

I don’t think behind the scenes as a bunch of pros we should take it personally, it’s part of the game. It’s part of if we want to grow the sport, we make it entertaining.

“I think if we continue to do that, and guys continue to express themselves and continue to have fun and be good personalities, most definitely we have a very interesting sport. We can grow this and the general population would find it interesting.”


Extreme – and entertaining

Sanders passionately believes there are many different aspects that can help triathlon stand out, adding: “You’ve got IRONMAN, and that’s where I came up. I came up as an Age-Group triathlete, and then I watched a Pro lap me at IRONMAN Louisville and I was like ‘wow, that’s an amazing performance’ and that’s what kind of inspired me.

“So there’s always going to be that side of our sport. It’s an extreme sport, a lot of people do it to try and finish an IRONMAN, or a 70.3. We can never forget about that part of our sport – that’s how we all begin, trying to accomplish something that we don’t know if it’s possible to accomplish.

“And then there’s our entertainment side and that’s where we’re headed now. Is there a bona fide sport here? Is there an entertainment value in this sport that will grow to a larger audience and grow our entire sport and still have that other component here? I think so.

Lionel Sanders Arena Games Montreal heats 2023 photo credit Darren Wheeler That Cameraman SLT
Lionel Sanders – always box office [Photo credit: Darren Wheeler That Cameraman / SLT]

“Are we trying to make a bona fide professional sport like MMA for instance? You listen to the press conferences and stuff and some of them you’re like: ‘I’m not that interested in this fight, there’s no personalities, there’s no rivalry, there’s no nothing. I’ve always thought if you don’t say something then there’s no interest. So you’ve got to say something otherwise no-one cares.”

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
Discover more
TRI-FIT Geo Coral women's tri suit
TRI-FIT GEO Women’s Tri Suit Review – How does it fare in our quest for the ultimate long course kit?
TRI-FIT women's sleeveless tri suit
5 race day mistakes that are sabotaging your triathlon times (and how to fix them)
Kate Auld riding on an indoor trainer
Rouvy vs Zwift: our indoor cyclists put them to the test
Professional triathletes on the bike course at Challenge Almere-Amsterdam
Fastest triathlon courses: Best IRONMAN, long course and middle distance races for a sure-fire personal best
Patagonman swim start
6 tips for taking on an Xtreme triathlon from a PATAGONMAN champion
latest News
Chelsea Sodaro takes the tape at the 2024 IRONMAN New Zealand.
Former IRONMAN World Champion delighted after bouncing back to first full distance win since Kona
World Triathlon Cup Miyazaki 2023 Gwen Jorgensen
Olympic gold medalist praises Boulder training environment ahead of WTCS season opener
Chelsea Sodaro PTO Asian Open 2023 run [Photo credit: PTO / Darren Wheeler]
IRONMAN New Zealand results: Steve McKenna and Chelsea Sodaro take the tape in Taupo
Third placed finisher Braden Currie sits on podium at St George photo credit IRONMAN
Former champion makes shock last minute withdrawal from IRONMAN New Zealand
Lucy-Charles Barclay and Daniela Ryf - IRONMAN World Championship 2023 Press Conference
Triathlon legend Daniela Ryf announces SHOCK retirement and reveals calendar for final season
Story to tell?
Share interesting & inspirational stories with our news team
The SBRX Group

Proudly elevating endurance sports through content, products & services

Share to...