November 26, 2020

Unbreakable: From personal pain, Lisa Norden targets a lasting tribute

Lisa Norden has special reason for wanting to star in the PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA® on December 6.

2020 will be remembered for far more than sporting achievement, and Lisa herself has had to deal with personal heartache as well as the trials presented by a COVID-ravaged triathlon calendar.

The passing of her grandfather will be firmly in her mind as she bids to provide a fitting tribute to him in Florida next month.

Personal pain

“The challenge of 2020 has been mainly for the world. Personally, my grandfather has passed away. He was probably my biggest fan out there, so that was quite difficult.

“He just loved sport and he loved being proud. He loved the racing mentality and spirit, so I think I probably got a lot of genes from my grandparents. He would love to see me go out and smash it.”

Lisa was speaking as she appeared in the PTO’s new documentary series ‘Unbreakable’, which gives a fascinating insight into the lives of elite triathletes, ahead of the Daytona showpiece.

The 35-year-old Swede sums up the title of the series perfectly – her partner Calle Friberg explained: “Lisa is unbreakable. The body no, but the head is probably unbreakable!”

Unbreakable: From personal pain, Lisa Norden targets a lasting tribute

Daytona opportunity is like nothing else

Lisa, an Olympic silver medalist and ITU World Champion back in 2012, is really fired up for her appearance at the famous Daytona International Speedway®.

“With the head I have, I am always trying really hard and I can go really hard. You have to try to find a way to go a little bit faster, just to have that like the sniff of the front of the race.

“I love big races, but this is like extreme, this amazing arena for triathlon that I haven’t seen anything like anywhere else in the world.”

To add to the iconic surroundings, Norden will also have the strongest field ever to contend with. She gave a fascinating insight into those moments on the start line in the final seconds before battle commences.

Preparing for battle

“I love being on a start line. You have to be there and be ready. Everything else is really quiet and you can feel and sense the nervousness and the tension. I would hear my heartbeat and I would hear my thoughts.

“You can see the clock is ticking down and getting closer and closer to it. Breathe. Relax. Unleash yourself when the start gun goes.”Unbreakable: From personal pain, Lisa Norden targets a lasting tribute

Norden knows that there will be other triathletes in the field who have been suffering as she has in this terrible, pandemic-affected year.

“Most times if you have problems, you don’t want to talk about them too much. Sometimes it is nice to put the pressures on your shoulder and tell people you have problems, but most times I think you only get only like 80% of the truth and you don’t know other athletes’ struggles to get to the line.”

The ultimate victor at Daytona will need to display many qualities over the 100km distance to reach the tape first, as Lisa was quick to emphasise.

“It takes a lot of willpower and a lot of sacrifice to get to where you want to be. Believe in yourself winning it until you are so close to the line no one can take it away from you.”

The countdown is truly on now to the PTO 2020 Championship. Lisa and more than 100 other elite triathletes will form the strongest field ever on December 6. The drama will play out in front of a global TV audience and promises epic storylines to elevate the sport to new levels.

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