Javi Gómez Noya is a five-time ITU World Champion, a five-time ITU European Champion, a two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion, an Olympic medalist and a Xterra World Champion.
All this despite the fact that, as a child, he was told to stop competing due to a heart condition. What makes him tick today? We asked his pro triathlete wife Anneke Jenkins.
Hey Anneke, what's your earliest memory of Javi?
It's when we first met in Wanaka, New Zealand. We were both on training camp there. I was new to the sport of triathlon and didn't realize how successful and talented he was as an athlete, but his smile and kind nature caught my attention. After seeing him during training over a few weeks, I realized how focused and hardworking he was. Attributes I really admired.
When you think back to these times, did you ever think he would go so far?
At that stage Javi was already a very successful and established athlete. When you watch him train for one day, you can see why he is so good. His attention to detail, his focus, determination and commitment to being the best he can be, is second to none. He is a true professional.
How does he consistently perform at the highest level?
Javi has never put all his eggs in one basket. He wants to be the best he can and race the world's best. This could be why he’s been so consistent over so many years. I think he's starting to see, now, what he has achieved during his long career. He has always been so focused on the next goal, the next session, that he doesn't fully celebrate each individual success.
How do you feel watching him competing on the world’s biggest stage?
I was so excited for him to race in Tokyo. He works so hard and had prepared so well. It was great being part of the team in the build up for the race and he had been training really well, as well as being really relaxed and happy.
I was super nervous for him. It's a crazy amount of pressure, so much riding on one moment, I can only imagine. But he's been there before and he knows what to do. I always just hope that he makes it to the start line at 100% and has the race that he deserves.
What was he like as a child?
From what I have learned, he was always pretty talented and passionate about endurance sports.
He started as a swimmer but for fun he would run 10km to the pool and then back home after the session.
Or he would time himself doing a lap around the neighbourhood on his bike. He had a pretty good base to work from, and he has been working so hard over years and years. He's one of those few athletes with incredible talent, a strong mind and a good work ethic all combined.
Any tough moments or stories that you feel define him?
Missing out on the Rio Olympics was devastating for him and he was upset about it. But the way he could turn off his mind and focus on the recovery of his elbow and then move forward to the next goal was really amazing. He was a favorite for the race on a course that was made for him. Yet he was able to move past it all really well. I guess that's part of what helps him to be as successful as he is.
He is never overly emotional. In hugely successful moments or really low times, he is always pretty calm and level headed. For example, right after winning a world title, he got on his bike to train for the next race.
He's not interested in the after party, or a huge celebration. He's totally happy with going out for a burger and fries and to keep on working.
Was it difficult not being able to be with him physically in Tokyo?
Yeah, I would've loved to be there, to be part of the experience and help him any way that I could. But he was totally fine without me. He had the Spanish team, his coach and other support staff there with him. He is also the most consistent and experienced athlete out there, so he knows what he needs to do. I'm a phone call away if he needs anything from me. Normally, I can only help with emotional support anyway.