Is it natural talent or hard work that makes a top pro triathlete? The age-old question as to what makes a champion never goes away and will likely never be fully resolved.
To be the “best of the best” in triathlon you certainly need a healthy dose of good athletic genes. If you haven’t picked up some great genes from someone in your family tree then no amount of training is going to win you a world champion top spot. Equally though, no amount of genes are going to make you a champion unless you’re prepared to add a daily dose of relentlessly hard training to the mix.
Sure, fine-tuned athletic technique can also carry you a long way, especially in swimming, and without it don’t even bother lining up at the start with realistic expectations of victory, but technique isn’t an end in itself. Far from it.
The gap between good triathlete and champion is a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon. Most good triathletes don’t know how to push themselves in training – physically and mentally – to separate themselves from the also-ran pack. You would think that would change when a successful triathlete moves from being a good age grouper up into the pro ranks, but more often than not it doesn’t.
The harsh reality of trying to be a “best of the best” triathlete is that it takes great technique learnt from long hours under coaching instruction, a massive dose of superior athletic genes, and an every-day regimen of relentlessly hard, hard work in training.