London, UK: Taylor Knibb’s unstoppable wins at the PTO US Open and then 70.3 Ironman World Championships last month, combined with her Olympic qualification, have secured her the vote for August’s PTO Athlete of the Month.
In a stellar month of racing and performances, the American star confirmed her place at the top of the sport by beating off tough competition from a six-athlete shortlist that included:
- Jan Frodeno, who capped his last pro race in the US with a spectacular win at the PTO US Open in Milwaukee;
- Kristian Blummenfelt’s heroic 10-day global rampage, which saw him compete at the Olympic test event in Paris, claim victory in Singapore at the PTO Asian Open just a couple of days later and then put up a brave defence of his 70.3 World Championship crown in Finland despite ‘running out of energy’ as he put it; Rico Bogen’s first-ever World Championship crown;
- Ashleigh Gentle’s sublime performance to retake the PTO top step in Singapore’s women’s Asian Open; and
- Imogen Simmonds’ impressive performances in Singapore (4th) and Finland (3rd), which have propelled her into the PTO World top 10 for the first time.
Giving her reaction to winning the award yesterday, the PTO World #2 said:
“I’m honored and I heard that I won by a tiny point. So I’m grateful for that and it shows the depth of racing in August. That’s probably the biggest thing because you look at all the athletes nominated and in any other month anyone could win. August was a stacked month because you had two PTO Tour races and the 70.3 Worlds and the Paris Qualification race. So August was a huge month for triathlon.”
Reflecting on her win at the PTO US Open in Milwaukee, Taylor said:
“I was very grateful that Milwaukee was so close for me. That’s always a treat to race at home. I think it was very special that the PTO joined forces with USA Triathlon for the National Championships which was both youth, junior and [national] age-group.”
“The day before my race, I got to talk with my first triathlon coach and I was talking with some of the kids there and you don’t get to do that at a lot of races and that was special for me… it reminded me of where I’ve come from but also that everyone’s in the same boat and everyone gets nervous before a race. It’s very grounding.”
“I raced the youth and junior racing, Ben Kanute did too, so for those youth and junior athletes looking at the Olympics is one way that they could go…but also, hopefully, these PTO races will be here in 10, 15, 20 years time and maybe there’s someone there who is like ‘I want to race this’, ‘This is an option, this is an opportunity, I want to be there someday’. So those will be the fun stories in, say, 10 years time.”
Clearly a fan of the PTO’s partnership with USAT for this year’s PTO US Open, Taylor made an obvious comparison with her US Open race in Dallas last year and also spoke warmly about the opportunities on the expanding PTO Tour next year:
“Well, it [the 2024 PTO US Open] ended up better, but the race was just completely different and I think that’s the nice thing and that’s going to be the tough thing about the PTO Tour now that more and more races come, in that each race stands on its own. It’s not like if Ashley [Gentle] wins 5,000 of these she gets a head start. Everyone starts at the same time regardless of your previous result.”
“I love these races. I was talking with my manager and Milwaukee is one of my favorite races of the year now because it’s a great atmosphere. It’s just fun – and I love the racing and the intensity and just everything about it.”
She also had some advice on the 2024 schedule:
“Last year we were told that there wouldn’t be any conflicts with the Olympic test schedule but the Asian Open was two days after the event which is the biggest short course race of the year. So, as long as there’s not a tour race like July 18th to August 5th 2024, we’re great and I’m excited.”
“If the PTO Tour in 2024 was heavily backcast [after the Olympic] it would be excellent for a lot of short course racers. Then you could have a combination of everyone. Especially because the women will race Nice in September and then it’s just this big block of the year that you could have fantastic racing.”
The PTO Athlete of the Month is a new accolade introduced for the first time this season by the Professional Triathletes Organisation to celebrate its members across the year and recognises a female or male PTO athlete each month based on: outstanding race performances, significant movement up the PTO World Rankings and/or challenges overcome.
The six-athlete shortlist for August 2023 was voted on by a panel of triathlon media as well as fans. The media panel includes: Global Triathlon Network (GTN), Triathlete, Triathlon Magazine & Tri-Mag.de Each give their 1, 2, 3 based on the shortlist and fans voted during Thursday 31 August and Friday 1 September, 2023, across the PTO’s social channels. Three points are awarded for being voted #1, 2 pts for #2 and 1 pt for #3. The points are then added up to determine the winner. Taylor Knibb collected 12 points, Rico Bogen 11 and Jan Frodeno 6.
For Further Information
Anthony Scammell E: [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 was 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 has been underpinned by the new PTO World Rankings, helping to create a compelling season-long narrative in the sport for the first time.