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What makes Taylor tick? Knibb on learning from experiences, Kona and Nice 2024

Taylor Knibb on her 2023 season, the IMWC in Kona and looking ahead to Nice next year.

Staff Reporter
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Redefining triathlon

Having proven herself to be one of the most versatile athletes in the world this season, Taylor Knibb can look forward to a season full of opportunities to test herself against the best next year.

The American, who defended her IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship title in August, also secured selection for next year’s Olympic Games in Paris and made her debut over the full distance in Kona during an action packed second half of the season.

Debriefing her sensational schedule on the Talking Triathlon podcast, Knibb spoke about the importance of keeping an element of fun in her racing, competing in Kona for the first time and her thoughts on future IRONMAN World Championship title attempts.

“It’s part of the fun”

Finishing the season ranked PTO World #3 after wins at IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder, the PTO Tour US Open and the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, Knibb only missed the podium in one long distance race, finishing fourth in Kona.

Taylor Knibb IRONMAN World Championship Kona 2023 Bike Leg
American triathlete Taylor Knibb during the bike leg of the 2023 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii (Getty Images for IRONMAN).

Reflecting on her performance on the Big Island, Knibb says that despite being forced to walk on the marathon, the race taught her a lot and is all part of the process towards eventually achieving success over the distance.

“I think it’s part of the fun [racing]. Unfortunately, when it’s your job, you kind of lose that sight, but I try to keep it in and I would prefer to have something like Kona, where in a way I feel like I fell flat on my face, walking on the Queen K, versus not even lining up, because that’s a little more painful.

“You just don’t know if you never line up and in terms of learning, I didn’t win my first WTCS race and I didn’t win my first IRONMAN 70.3 Worlds. In order to get to the results you what to get, sometimes you have to have some very humbling learning experiences.” 

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“I will be on the start line if I can”

Looking ahead to next year’s World Championship in Nice, Knibb highlighted the close proximity of the race to the Olympics as a reason she may not make the start line, whilst also stating that the technical nature of the bike course means the race in the South of France requires additional time to train.

“If I only have 53 days between Paris and Nice, there might not be time to build up that muscular strength [required for an IRONMAN] and then to run a marathon off the bike, but I don’t know, so we’ll see. If it works out, great, but if I doesn’t, I hope it’s still a great race.” 

With regards to her long term goals, the American underlined that winning Kona in 2025 is a big dream and if Nice can help her prepare for that race, she will do her best to be on the start line.

“If racing Nice next year helps me in the build for Kona 2025, then I will be on the start line if I can.” 

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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