Singapore – Chelsea Sodaro knows the importance of having sporting heroes. The American drew inspiration from triathlon legend Australian Mirinda Carfrae who, like Sodaro, returned to the top of the sport after motherhood.
So the PTO World #18 was pleased to share her journey as a professional athlete with over 280 students aged seven to 18 from the NEXUS International School in Singapore earlier today, ahead of the PTO Asian Open this weekend.
Drawing inspiration from Carfrae, Sodaro said: “I looked up to her because she’s a really good runner and my favourite part of the triathlon is the run. She also had a baby at the peak of her career and she showed me that you could choose motherhood and professional sport at the same time. I had a baby myself in 2021 and then came back to racing, so she really paved the way for me to pursue both of those things in life.”
Also in attendance were fellow PTO athletes Gustav Iden and Ben Kanute, with the trio answering questions from the students before a photo and autograph session, which saw students presenting their shoes and arms for signatures.
Sodaro’s story has already rubbed off on future generations, with aspiring local triathlete Yuma feeling inspired to train more. Yuma, 16, who occasionally competes in the MetaSprint race, said: “It was really inspirational, especially Chelsea who is a mum and who started in her late 20s. It really showed me that you can start triathlons any time so I could start training more often now. It’s also really cool that she’s a mum because it shows that she can do anything and everyone can do it too. It made me want to continue with triathlon because I’ve had doubts, but now I feel more reassured.”
Her schoolmate Lachlan, who competes in triathlons regularly, added: “It was very helpful to know the background of everyone because what you see is usually just what they do on the course, but it was nice to know how they train and what they do outside of triathlons too.”
“Knowing that they too have ups and downs in their career helps. Sometimes in training, you think there’s something wrong, but knowing that you can relate to someone who’s at the highest level also having ups and downs kind of reassures you that you can have those periods too, but there’s always a way out of it.”
NEXUS International School, Singapore, students Lachlan (far left) and Yuma (second from right) pose with Gustav Iden, Chelsea Sodaro and Ben Kanute. Photo credit: Professional Triathletes Organisation
Homeroom teacher Suzie Bacon, who also attended the session, hopes the students learnt from the athletes’ growth mindset. She said: “It was a really valuable session because they got to ask questions relevant to them and hear answers from the athletes themselves. Seeing them in person and realising they’re just normal people who look and sound like us is also valuable. A lot of people think school is about learning in the classroom, but we believe it’s about a lot more than that, like having a balanced life and a growth mindset. To be able to come out of the classroom and have these guys come to us and pass on their thoughts and insight has been a valuable experience and we’re very grateful.”
The visit to the NEXUS International School, Singapore, was the second school visit undertaken by the athletes yesterday as part of a concerted effort to explore and engage with the local community ahead of the race weekend, with Josh Amberger and Ellie Salthouse also visiting the Australian International School earlier in the day.
The inaugural PTO Asian Open takes place on 19-20 August and will host the world’s top male and female professional triathletes competing for a total prize purse of US$600,000 in the heart of Singapore. Led by reigning Olympic triathlon champion Kristian Blummenfelt, the star-studded field will take on a specially designed 100km course – comprising a 2km swim, 80km bike and 18km run – that takes in iconic landmarks, including the Benjamin Sheares Bridge, the Merlion, the Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Barrage. The 100km race for professional athletes and experienced amateurs begins with a 2km freshwater swim in the Marina Bay and ends near the Marina Bay Sands.
All the action will be broadcast live around the world to 195 territories courtesy of the PTO Tour’s partnerships with Warner Bros. Discovery and a series of other regional and national broadcasters. In Singapore, the PTO Asian Open will be shown ‘live’ on meWATCH, Mediacorp’s digital streaming platform.
For further information:
Anthony Scammell – [email protected]
About the Professional Triathletes Organisation
The PTO is a new body, co-owned by the professional athletes, seeking to elevate and grow the sport of Triathlon and take it to the next level. Each PTO Open is raced over 100km (2km swim, 80km bike and 18km run). The PTO European Open on 6 May kicked off the 2023 PTO Tour and is followed by the PTO US Open in Milwaukee on 4-5 August and then the PTO Asian Open in Singapore on 19-20 August. The season will be underpinned by the new PTO World Rankings, helping to create a compelling season-long narrative in the sport for the first time.