2 x Olympic Medallist. 5 x EU Triathlon Champion.
Regarding my sports career, I think you could say the most important seconds were the ones during the sprint finish at the London Olympic Games in 2012 which made me Olympic Champion for the rest of my life. While I was sprinting towards the finish line, trying to drop the three other athletes left, I was watching the live coverage of the race on a big screen in the finish area. I saw myself 100m from the finish line and more importantly, I saw the Swede Lisa Norden catching up on me!
I was already giving everything I had and didn’t know where to find some extra speed to not let her pass me. At the same time, I was extremely aware that this would probably be the one and only chance to become Olympic Champion, that I have worked for this single moment for years and how much I had been investing to get to this stage and now succeed. So I just knew I had to find a way to cross that finish line first, no matter how. To make myself and more importantly my coach, my family and everyone else in my team who had supported me proud.
I think in the end I ran more with my head and will than with my legs - as they were absolutely empty...
But I found that extra little bit of strength and speed in the last seconds to get over the finish line first - even if it was just a few millimetres in front of Lisa.
In the minutes after the race we weren’t sure who had won, it was a photo finish decision. I was just lying on the ground and was relieved it was over and I had given everything until the last meter. Knowing I had won a medal was a very good feeling. But to really enjoy the emotions, I had to know now if it was the gold or the silver medal - as it does make a huge difference! When they finally came to announce I had won - when I was standing on the top of the Olympic podium listening to the Swiss national anthem - the emotions were overwhelming and indescribable. It was definitely one of the best moments in my life: very relieved I had reached my goal, very thankful to my whole team who had helped me get there and also very proud I had fought with all I had until the end and had succeeded. Definitely some very important seconds in my life without doubt.
Frederik Van Lierde
Ironman World Champion.
The most important seconds of my career so far? Those just before - and just after - crossing the finish line at the Ironman World Championships in Kona (Hawaii), 2013.
It's a mix of emotions that is so hard to describe. Your mind is receiving so many different thoughts and emotions all at once. Euphoria is maybe the best word to describe it: happiness, relief, love, proudness, satisfaction. All those feelings in those few seconds - they will stay with me for the rest of my life.
3 x Olympian. 4 x ITU Champion.
The most important seconds in my career were way back in 1998 in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was the Junior World Championships and I had already come a close second in the Junior European Championships, but I realised to further my triathlon life and try and go “pro” I needed to be on the top step of the podium. I decide if I did not win the race there in Lausanne, I would go to university and then go on to race age groups but not go “pro”.
The racing scene at the Championships was mostly Aussies, Germans and Spaniards as well as a few other Brits like me. Out the swim, six or so of us got away and on a tough, hilly bike course, we forged ahead to build up a substantial lead. At about 4km into the run there were only two of us left: myself and an Australian. I decided to test the waters and push on ahead at an aid station – I remember it so clearly - and I opened up a small lead. It was then I went all in and turned up the gas, that, right there, as I started pulling away, they were the most important seconds of my career. That’s where it all clicked.
I became World Junior Champion that race, went pro and, well, the rest is history.