Age / DOB
Apr 26 1996
Daniel Baekkegard raised, or ‘smashed’, the bar in 2019 for how to make your mark in a first full season as a triathlon pro.
Born in 1996, the Dane’s background is in elite swimming, with a total of 20 National Championship medals. But he switched to triathlon in 2015 via the Danish Triathlon Federation’s youth programme, and took part in his first 70.3 event in 2018.
That was Marbella, and quite a jump given his previous longest race had only taken a quarter of the time out on course. It didn’t bother him though as he led on the bike at one point from the likes of Andi Dreitz and David McNamee, before eventually finishing seventh.
“It was the toughest thing I’ve ever tried,” he admitted afterwards. “I was exhausted – but elated!”
That promise was underlined later that year with a first podium when third behind triathlon legend Sebastian Kienle at Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee.
And then in 2019, in the space of just eight days, he really announced his arrival in style with two impressive victories.
First up was 70.3 Finland in Lahti, where he was part of a leading trio alongside Nick Kastelein and Manuel Kueng. But it was Daniel who blew his rivals away on the run with a 1:13:20 half marathon.
The following weekend came his IRONMAN debut at Austria-Kärnten, amid stormy conditions in Klagenfurt. The distance may have doubled but the pattern was similar as it was nip and tuck until the run, with Daniel’s 2:53:11 marathon seeing him surge more than 10 minutes clear of his rivals, crossing the line in 8:14:26.
If the victory itself wasn’t eye-catching enough, he then produced one of the celebrations of the season. Triathlete magazine dubbed it the ‘Baekkegard Smash’ and awarding it their ‘Best Finish’ of the year!
Those two wins qualified Da