Nicola Spirig is undoubtedly one of the most successful professional triathletes to ever compete in the sport and 2022, after 25 years in triathlon, marks her last season racing as a professional.
From short to long-course, there are few accolades that Spirig does not have to her name. Olympic gold from the 2012 London Olympic Games – where she beat Lisa Nordén in a historic sprint finish – is one of those absolutely stand out achievements.
Spirig also secured Olympic silver at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in a throwdown run battle with Gwen Jorgensen. That was on her way to another Olympic appearance in Toyko, giving her an astonishing record of representing Switzerland at the Olympic Games an incredible five times over the course of 17 years!
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Since transitioning to long-course racing Spirig has been equally as impressive, using her dominating bike and run to great effect. In the 11 long-course races she has taken part in, Spirig has finished on the podium every single time. Whatsmore, in 2021 Spirig won every long course race she lined up for.
This leads us to 2022, which is to be Spirig’s final year racing as a professional and has saved perhaps the biggest challenge for last! Spirig is one of the two female athletes who will be taking on the Pho3nix Sub 7/8 Project where athletes will attempt to break eight hours for the women and seven hours for the men over the full (ironman) distance. Athletes will have tools at their disposal not typically allowed in competition, with the event set to be an ‘Ineos 1:59’ style show of human endeavour.
Spirig is confident that she will be able to break the ambitious target despite a recent injury setback. We join tri fans around the world in feverish anticipation and cannot wait to see her exhibit her triathlon prowess on this incredible stage before signing off on her professional career, which will come to a close with some events in a ‘farewell tour’ of sorts.
Finally, it cannot be overlooked that Spirig has achieved these great heights in triathlon alongside becoming a mother to three children. All mothers will know the momentous challenge of returning to fitness following pregnancy, indeed it’s a situation that would end careers in many professional sports. But each time, Spirig has come back to triathlon at the top of her game and inspired triathlete mothers everywhere to do the same.
This, along with her many years of promoting children’s physical activity, only highlights to an even greater degree the scale of her achievements and the legacy of her epic career.
That just leaves us to say congratulations on an incredible career Nicola! Good luck for your ambitious goals for the year ahead – and enjoy your retirement!