To date, you have won 14 titles in Ironman Triathlon that you have completed. An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride, and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run, raced in that order. It is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world. What motivated you to choose this extremely enduring sport both physically and mentally to compete?
I won 6 Ironman World Championship titles. The World Championship used to be in Kona / Hawaii every year and is comparable with Wimbledon in Tennis. I explain this because 25 years back there were not so many Ironman races as there are today. So having my first race over this distance in Hawaii was quite special. Back then there was no Internet. So the only information’s in Switzerland I got was from Triathlete Magazine and from an athlete that already was racing there.
When I landed in Kona I fell in love with this island. When I raced I hit my limits, went beyond, and saw the beauty of this sport. I wanted more of these feelings that you can’t buy, that no one can give it to you that you have to earn yourself.
You in 1998 became the first European woman to win the Ironman Triathlon World Championship. Tell us more about your experience with this exceptional achievement?
In Switzerland, this sport was not much known back then but started to grow fast with these results. Today we have a very strong triathlon community and host also an Ironman Event.
You have won Six times the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005. How do you manage such a remarkable achievement and which of these wins is most dear to your heart and why?
Looking back is winning the WC for the first time is the easiest because there are no expectations. From then on there’s the burden of the previous winner and the dangerous thinking of others that you get confronted with, that you have to win again to be enough. For us, the secret of winning, again and again, was built on the 4 poles of success that we teak today in our speeches and seminars.
As a mosaic picture, success is built by different little or bigger stones. And to stay on the top you have to improve each day, week, month, and year. You have to control your mind, work your body in different ways, and watch your nutrition and your recovery. Everything counts on day X and no mistakes are forgiven this day.
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