The 26-year-old ‘Big Unit’ would have been among the contenders for glory on triathlon’s eagerly-awaited return to the ‘Big Island’.
But he raised some eyebrows earlier this week when the announcement that he would be racing at Challenge Roth in early July was accompanied by the footnote that he would not be going to Hawaii.
Sam Long explains Kona no go
Later Long confirmed the fact in a post on Facebook, explaining: “The news is true. I have no Kona intentions this year. I have decided to focus on @challengeroth and then after that I will focus on the middle distance.
“For my development and career I do not want to be focused on full distance all year. Roth has always called to me and following my heart is number .”
Long’s main focus during the second half of the season – once Roth is out of the way – will be the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in St George. The American was second there last year behind Gustav Iden, and will aim to go one better in 2022.
St George the next big test
While Kona is not on his schedule, the first IRONMAN World Championship of this unique triathlon year most definitely is – the delayed 2021 vintage set for May 7, also in St George.
Long has full focus now on preparing for that huge test, after registering impressive back-to-back wins at CLASH Miami and Challenge Puerto Varas to start his 2022 campaign. There had been a possibility he might also race IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside next Saturday, but that now appears to be off the table.