Home » Daniela Ryf is an Ironman legend. Now she is announcing her resignation.

Daniela Ryf is an Ironman legend. Now she is announcing her resignation.

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Daniela Ryf is an Ironman legend.  Now she is announcing her resignation.

The 35-year-old from Solothurn is contesting one final season. In doing so, she allows herself another full dose of suffering.

Daniel Ryf.

Simon Tanner / NZZ

The heroes of the Ironman don’t just retire head over heels. The former world champions Sebastian Kienle and Jan Frodeno had recently announced months in advance that they would add one last season. But then it’s over.

Now Daniela Ryf is doing the same: the endurance athlete will retire at the end of 2024. «It’s time for me to start a new chapter. I can proudly say that I have achieved everything I ever dreamed of,” the 36-year-old announced in a communiqué on Friday afternoon. This final year of competition will once again be very busy – there are eight races over longer distances on the calendar. The Ironman World Championship in Nice in September stands out as a highlight.

The Solothurn woman is a legend in Ironman history. She became world champion over the original distance five times, four times in Hawaii and once in St. George. She won the Ironman 70.3 World Championship just as often, on a route that was half as long. Between 2015 and 2019 she was considered virtually unbeatable; During this period she once bagged prize money of one million dollars because she was able to win all the important races of the year.

Ryf didn’t have any real weaknesses; she was top-class in swimming and running – but she was really outstanding on the time trial bike. That’s where she made the difference; she was almost always able to save her reserves over the course of the race. Today she still holds the record for the 180-kilometer cycle route in Hawaii, by far.

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As hard as Ryf could work in training and racing, her health was always fragile. As a short-haul specialist, she suffered from stomach problems for a long time, and more recently she has had problems with corona and other viruses. In recent years she has rarely been able to perform as dominantly as she once did; in Hawaii she never made it onto the podium again after 2019.

Farewell to Hawaii, so to speak: Daniela Ryf finished fifth at the Ironman World Championships last fall.

Imago

The coup she achieved last summer seems all the greater: at the iconic Challenge Roth, she improved the Ironman world best time by ten minutes to 8:08:21 hours. This was to show that her return to successful coach Brett Sutton a few months earlier had been the right thing to do. She separated from him in January 2021 in order to have more freedom.

After her world best time in Roth, she said: “I felt so good that the eight hours felt like two hours. It was like flying over the track.” The times of such high flights will soon be over, next Friday she starts her final racing season in Miami. The start of the brand new “T100 Triathlon World Tour” series will take place there, which is only open to the best professionals and offers hefty prize money.

Ryf says she will “not disappear from the scene” after her career. In any case, there is life after triathlon for the food technologist. She has invested in a sports nutrition company and an app for endurance sports and is already contributing her professional experience there.

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