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Javier Gomez Noya - 9 x Triathlon World Champion

Javier Gomez Noya - 9 x Triathlon World Champion

Episode Name: Javier Gomez Noya

In today’s episode of BE With Champions, host Greg Bennett welcomes Javier Gomez Noya, who Bennett calls “one of the greatest triathletes of all time.” At only age 36, Javier has already won nine world championship titles, stood on 11 podiums in the ITU World Triathlon Series, and has taken home the silver triathlon medal at the 2012 Olympics. A Spanish triathlete, Javier played football as a child and was a competitive swimmer, placing sixth in the Spanish nationals his sophomore year. When he was fifteen, some older people in his club were training for a triathlon and asked him to join them. At the time, the triathlon was a newer, amateur sport in Spain. Javier found that he had a talent for triathlon racing and could be much more successful as a triathlete than as a swimmer. Only one year after his sixth-place finish in the Spanish swimming nationals, Javier won the national triathlon in his age group without any training. Another important step in his early career, Javier says, was his win in the under-23 category at the ITU Triathlon World Championships in Queenstown in 2003, when he was only 20 years old.

However, between 2000 and 2006, Javier fought a tough battle with the Spanish Institute of Sport and the Spanish Federation. When he was 18, he was kicked off of the national team when a doctor found an abnormal valve in Javier’s heart. At first, the news was devastating, and Javier was told that he could never race professionally again. Throughout this period, he continued to train for the love of the sport, and didn’t give up hope that he would race again. He visited multiple doctors to get different opinions, and soon realized that there was no risk in competing at a high level. However, this began the battle with the Spanish authorities, and it took him three years to get his license back, at which point he ran the Queenstown race. Soon after, in 2005, new cardiology guides surfaced and were used to stop him from racing again. This ban lasted another year, forcing Javier to seek advice from English and American cardiologists until he was finally freed to race professionally again in 2006.

This battle took Javier out of the sport for the majority of six years, and was a major setback to his career. However, Javier decided to see the positives in the situation. He says that it made him appreciate the sport more, helped him in his career later, and caused him to mature more quickly. He won his first world cup in Madrid in 2006, a cathartic moment as it was his first race back in the sport, his first world cup win, and took place on home soil. Though many other victories followed in the next 13 years, 2008 marked another hardship in Javier’s career. He went into the 2008 Olympics as a favorite, but injured himself earlier in the year and ended up placing 4th, which resulted in much criticism from the Spanish media. However, after Javier recovered from his injuries, he went on to win world titles in 2013, 2014, and 2015. In 2016, Javier broke his arm on a bike ride, had to have surgery, and couldn’t compete in that year’s world cup or Olympics. Again, he chose to embrace a positive outlook and focus on what was next. He freely admits that he won some of his races because he was “lucky,” and that breaking his arm was an instance in which he was “unlucky;” life is full of both.

When going into a race, Javier tries to not overthink. He trains until he is confident in his ability, and then treats a race day just like any other day. He goes into it ready to give his all, but also ready to be flexible, knowing that many unplanned things can happen in a race. He advises other athletes to be ready for everything, stay relaxed, and save up energy for the race. Javier knows that he can’t control what happens in the race; he can only focus on himself, control his own fitness, and be ready to race at his best level. In 2020, Javier is aiming for the Olympic Triathlon gold medal in July in Tokyo. He may also be racing the Kona Ironman. Kona and the Olympics are the two big races Javier aims to win in the remaining years of his career. At age 36, he could still have his best races ahead of him, and we are excited to see where his career takes him in 2020 and beyond.

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Twitter: @Jgomeznoya

Instagram: @Jgomeznoya

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