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Ironman Lawyers Up, Threatens Defamation Suit Against Triathlon Ireland

And how to nail your swim breathing

Good morning everyone,

Today is the biggest day for our little team here at the Tempo since we launched over eight months ago.

Why? We’re officially launching Tempo Pro, our membership program for the Tempo community.

Our mission is simple — build the most engaging, helpful, and fun online triathlon community. A place to dig deep into the best training advice, learn from experts, and explore new ways to take your racing to the next level.

We’re starting with a members-only newsletter. It’ll be a comprehensive deep dive into the training tactics you need to perform your best. In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out monthly calls, a podcast, a membership community and so much more.

But here’s the deal. We want this to be a special community, not just another message board. So to start, we’re opening it up to 20 people only this month. We’re even including a discount for the first month.

So if you’re reading this now, chances are many are already signing up. So if you like the Tempo, and want to join an exclusive community of triathletes from around the world, consider becoming a member today.

Now enough of that, let’s get to the newsletter.

In today’s edition:

  • ⚖️ Ironman threatens defamation suit against Triathlon Ireland.

  • 🏊‍♂️ How to nail your swimming breathing.

  • 👶 And tips on how to train through pregnancy.

Thanks for being here.

-Matt Sharpe, newsletter editor

Headshot of Matt Sharpe

Have a triathlete in your life who can't stop swimming, biking, or running? Fire this off to them. Forwarded from a friend? Sign-up for free. 


Triathlon Ireland Defamed its Name According to IRONMAN


After threatening legal action last week, Ironman has taken another step in its fight with Triathlon Ireland over the disputed sanctioning of last month’s Ironman Ireland that resulted in the deaths of two athletes.

What happened: Triathlon Magazine Canada has reported that Ironman has retained legal counsel and is mulling over different options for how to proceed, though they did not identify the source of this news.

Where we’re at: After conflicting stories over who notified who after the deaths of two triathletes at Ironman Ireland in Cork, it’s been reported that Ironman’s lawyers had notified Triathlon Ireland’s lawyers that it would initiate a defamation action unless Triathlon Ireland Ireland withdraws its statement regarding the timeline of events. The hiring of legal counsel would be a natural next step is legal proceedings were to take place.

The evidence: As noted by Triathlon Magazine Canada, there would appear to be a lot of evidence in favor of Ironman, including:

  • Triathlon Ireland continued to officiate the race even after they claimed to have not sanctioned it.

  • No announcement was made about the sanctioning.

  • Triathlon Ireland’s website continues to show the statement.

To underscore the seriousness of the issue, police in Ireland have called for video footage from participants of the swimming portion of the event, according to BreakingNews.ie.


👶 Pregnancy points: Olympic medalist Jessica Learmouth has ambitions to be on the start line at next year’s games in Paris. But first, the birth of her first child. Jessica has plenty of advice for expectant mothers who want to train through their pregnancy, like the importance of listening to your body, and keeping a strong pelvic floor! [220 Triathlon]

🍝 Ironman diet: Cam Wurf is an Olympic rower turned pro cyclist turned Ironman-winning triathlete. So, how does he fuel his incredible training ahead of major races like this weekend’s Ironman World Championship? Fish, smoothies, and lots of carbs. [Olympics]

🏊‍♀️ Swim breathing: Are you a beginner (or advanced!) triathlete and having trouble nailing your swim breathing? It’s not an easy skill, but this video gives three great drills on how to improve your breathing while swimming. Smoother strokes ahead! [MōTTIV]

⭐ Triathlon trailblazer: Limited training venues and a smaller endurance athlete community haven’t stopped Mohammed Shamsuzzaman Arafat from becoming Bangladesh’s first-ever Ironman World Championship finisher. He’s also had some pretty crazy setbacks in his journey, check out this article for more on his trailblazing journey. [Triathlon Magazine Canada]


How Safe are Triathlons?

With the recent deaths in Ireland, as well as the death of an athlete at Ironman 70.3 World Championships, we wanted to take a deep dive into trends around deaths in our spot.

The data: All of this data is available on Wikipedia. We used the last ten years of data, from 2014 to 2023. It’s worth noting that there are still just under four months left in 2023.

Sport safety concerns: While people aren’t dying in droves (thank goodness), a major US study showed that there were 1.74 deaths out of every 100,000 competitors.

Looking at Wikipedia, in the last ten years there have been 116 triathlon deaths. Of those, 73 percent were during the swim, 12 percent were on the bike, seven percent were later after the race, and six percent were on the run.

  • Of those who had their age listed, the average age was 49.

Deaths peaked in 2019, and on average, have increased in the last five years to an average of 15.75 per year compared to 10.6 from 2014-2018. In terms of the types of races, Ironman accounted for 41 percent of all deaths since 2014.

When broken out by the percentage of deaths at Ironman races, we can see a trendline of an increasing percentage of race deaths at Ironman events compared to other triathlon events.

Yes, but: Ironman is running many more races, so it stands to reason that as the number of races increases, the number of deaths would also rise.

What it means: What we can say for sure is that the average number of deaths has risen over time in triathlon and that Ironman races have accounted for a higher percentage of races where an athlete died.

But this data comes with a few caveats:

  • We cannot account for the number of races per year, or the average number of Ironman races.

  • It could also mean that deaths have stayed constant as the number of races have increased.

Do these numbers surprise you?

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A classic triathlon day, who else can relate? 🙋


Day as a triathlon beginner 🏊🏼‍♀️🚴🏼‍♀️🏃🏽‍♀️ #triathlontraining#triathlonbeginner#outdoors#triathletelifestyle#motivation#worklifebalance#f... See more


🔢 World Champs numbers: 2,200 athletes, 1,700 volunteers, and countless energy gels! This weekend’s Ironman World Championship in Nice may be the first edition, but there are plenty of bigger numbers to wrap your head around. [Endurance.biz]

🏁 Triathlon vision: This weekend, Kentucky’s Sandy McCoy will be toeing the line at her second-ever triathlon alongside her guide. McCoy suffers from partial blindness, but that hasn’t stopped her from embracing the multisport lifestyle. Her ultimate goal? Compete at the Paralympics in Triathlon. [Spectrum News]

🏰 Winning in Wallonia: On September 16th and 17th the Openlakes Triathlon will be held at the Eau d’Heure lakes. 3,800 athletes are expected to participate in the full, half, Olympic, kids and disabled races. [NRJ]


Here is what readers said about whether they think Ironman made the right decision to split Kona into two races.

Reader: I like mixing other venues for the championship, but don't like splitting male and female venues. IMO, males and females should have the same parcours and be World Champion at the same venue during one calendar year. And one small note, by my calculation, this is actually the second non-Kona World Championship, or are we not counting St. George? 🙂 

Tempo: Thank you for the flag on this! Terrible oversight as St. George was the first non-Kona IMWC.

Reader: I really like the idea of Women having their own stage, let's see how this whole thing unfolds before we make decisions!

Reader: It’s a bit of a retrograde step in equality to split the men and women, and Nice might be a bit of a testosterone-fest 🤯 but I think moving the venue is a good idea as it makes it more accessible. Travel and accommodation to get to Kona takes it out of the reach of many triathletes financially, but a venue like Nice increases opportunities

Reader: Kona is mythical for all men and women. There may be many beautiful and even superior venues but Kona is the ultimate challenge. Splitting us? Absurd. The franchise is after the business, it's long since the focus was on the athlete.

Reader: Kona days are numbered. Ironman has worn out their welcome. It is time to move to places that are more accessible, affordable, better courses, and more spectators


For those following the Ironman centerline drama.


Men’s IRONMAN World Championships


Two weeks after the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Lahti, Finland, the World Championship season continues in Nice, France, where professional male triathletes will compete for the Ironman World Champion title.

When: The race starts on Sunday, September 10th at 6:50 am local time (6:50 CET, 0:50 EST, 14:30 AEST).

How to watch: The race will be broadcast live, for free, on Ironman’s Facebook page and IronmanTri YouTube channel. You can also follow the race by using the Ironman Ticker.

Big prize: The total prize purse is $750,000. The breakdown for top five is as follows:

  1. $125,000

  2. $65,000

  3. $45,000

  4. $25,000

  5. $20,000

Favorites: Jan Frodeno (GER), Patrick Lange (GER), Sam Laidlow (FRA), Magnus Ditlev (DEN)

Check out Klemen’s full preview for full athlete breakdowns and intriguing under-the-radar picks!


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