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Chrissie Wellington
September 21, 2011 9:38 PM   Subscribe

She won the World Championship less than a year after turning professional. She is undefeated in her event. She has repeatedly broken her own world record. Sports Illustrated calls her the world's greatest female athlete.

After winning the Ironman World Championship in 2007, 2008, and 2009 - but being unable to compete in 2010 - Chrissie Wellington will attempt to regain her crown as the Queen of Kona on October 11.
posted by Trurl (44 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
This woman is a beast. Nobody has dominated the sport like she has, with the exception of Mary Beth Ellis, who's won something like three iron-distance races in eight weeks. Unreal. Chrissie Wellington is crazy fast on the bike, but the run is her specialty.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:55 PM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


that's a really big beer.
posted by Hoopo at 10:00 PM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


that's a really big beer.

Not for Hawaii it isn't.
posted by dobbs at 10:02 PM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


She is a beast. Her mental toughness is beyond what us mere mortals can relate to. She seems like a really great and fun person too with a terrific sense of humor. And she likes BEER!
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:19 PM on September 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


To prove it wasn't a fluke, Wellington went back and won in 2008 and again in 2009 (she couldn't take part in 2010 because she had pneumonia, strep throat and West Nile virus).

This woman doesn't do anything half-assed.
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable at 10:22 PM on September 21, 2011 [32 favorites]


I stand in awe of Chrissie Wellington. I can't imagine the sheer force of will required to do what she does. Why isn't she BBC Sports Personality of the Year yet?
posted by arcticseal at 10:42 PM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


To prove it wasn't a fluke, Wellington went back and won in 2008 and again in 2009 (she couldn't take part in 2010 because she had pneumonia, strep throat and West Nile virus).

An athlete like her can't be stopped by just one problem.
posted by vidur at 11:08 PM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


So I guess it takes one virus apiece to keep her out of each leg of the race? Makes sense to me.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:12 PM on September 21, 2011 [14 favorites]


Impressive. However, her accomplishments pale in comparison to Esther Vergeer's.
posted by yellowcandy at 11:43 PM on September 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I remember being asked as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up and replying, "As strong as a man" ..
posted by TangerineGurl at 12:02 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


A woman I work with does ironman events. Her second was in South Africa earlier this year. Checking the results for that race was when I first heard about Chrissie Wellington. She finished 8th overall (that is, including male athletes) and had the fastest time for the run of anyone.
posted by markr at 12:07 AM on September 22, 2011


Wow. That is impressive.

In other female athlete news, Paula Radcliffe's 2003 marathon world record of 2h 15 25s no longer stands because she ran in a mixed race - i.e. with men.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:07 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


How does running in a mixed race confer an advantage? Is it easier to run faster if you're in a group of people? Drafting isn't a factor at these speeds.
posted by Justinian at 12:20 AM on September 22, 2011


She had male pacers. It's easier for someone else to set the pace and to just follow then to set the pace yourself out in front.

Same principle as rabbits in track races that drop out half way through.
posted by imabanana at 1:03 AM on September 22, 2011


"An athlete like her can't be stopped by just one problem."

Sounds like she needs to hook up with Chuck Norris - imagine the children!
posted by greenhornet at 1:13 AM on September 22, 2011


the world's greatest female athlete.

When her career's as long as Jeannie Longo's, then, maybe.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:29 AM on September 22, 2011


When her career's as long as Jeannie Longo's, then, maybe.

Given Longo's recent missed doping controls and EPO purportedly purchased by her husband, we may want to hold off on that. EPO or not, Longo's longevity is amazing, but...
posted by The Michael The at 4:08 AM on September 22, 2011


I'm too jaded to see her athletic victories as anything other than a doping scandal in waiting.
posted by humanfont at 4:21 AM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there any real money in Iron Man competitions? I mean, enough to make drugs viable?
posted by flippant at 4:54 AM on September 22, 2011


People dope in amateur cycling competitions. I don't think money is the primary incentive for dopers.
posted by 6550 at 5:02 AM on September 22, 2011


Wellington's a beast but when I saw "world's greatest female athlete" my mind jumped to Marianne Vos. She's a 24-year-old Dutch cyclist who's won the Cyclocross World Championships, the Road World Championships, multiple National Championships (as early as age 15!), la Fleche Wallone, and the Giro Donne (/ Giro d'Italia).

Phillipe Gilbert is the male Marianne Vos - definitely not the other way around.
posted by entropone at 5:14 AM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


She has no sense of embarrassment either. She will regularly greet her boyfriend after a training session, her face whitened with dried-up dribble. "If you've got time to wipe away the dribble then you're not working hard enough," she says. She thinks nothing of stopping on the roadside in the middle of a race, whipping down her shorts and going to the toilet. "You lose all sense of modesty because a lot happens to your body during the eight or so hours it takes to do an ironman," she says. "I've done diarrhoea in my shorts and left it trickling down my leg, but I've never been one to be ashamed of that kind of thing." On her blog she cheerily apologises to the cyclists caught behind her for the "six pees" she did as she went. "If you do it on a downhill," she says, "you don't make too many friends."

Well. I've certainly learned something new to start the day.
posted by mediareport at 5:17 AM on September 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is there any real money in Ironman competitions?

Not women's tennis money. But a Kona win is $110,000. And her official page (at the last link above the fold) has a lot of sponsor logos on it...
posted by Trurl at 5:39 AM on September 22, 2011


She went from nobody, just a normal woman in her 20s, to being a spectacularly successful endurance athlete? As an unathletic kid, and big fat guy into my mid-30s, who is now running every day and training for a marathon, this is the kind of thing I dream about every night. Literally.

I'm so jealous. I'll think of her on my run tonight and push myself a little harder.
posted by I am the Walrus at 6:29 AM on September 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm too jaded to see her athletic victories as anything other than a doping scandal in waiting.

I hear you. Though it's good to remember that at this level of competition, no one is finishing first without being a world-class athlete even before doping.

And she has a whole page publishing her test results. So at least you can't say she's ducking the question.
posted by Trurl at 6:51 AM on September 22, 2011


Among other things, I'm the Minister of Pizza for Ironman Arizona... this gives me access to the entire athlete area including the finisher chute. I was there when she set the IM record. The atmosphere was electric.

Want a good illustration of her determination? Check out this photo I shot of her feet after she set the new world IM record. I apologize if it's not super clear -- just a guy delivering pizzas to athletes -- but that's blood seeping through her left shoe.

How brutal is that?
posted by ph00dz at 6:53 AM on September 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


> Check out this photo I shot of her feet after she set the new world IM record.

Why are her legs completely red?
posted by ardgedee at 7:09 AM on September 22, 2011


Bleeding feet is brutal. Not stopping to poop because you don't want to miss a spot on the podium is brutal as well (guy won his AG).
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:26 AM on September 22, 2011


Before Chrissie, there was Paula Newby Fraser, who also placed top-10 overall and dominated the women's field at Kona for years. Perhaps there's something about triathlon that levels the playing field a bit between men & women? (And perhaps Wellington has a little work yet to do before she eclipses Newby-Fraser's track record?)
posted by richyoung at 7:34 AM on September 22, 2011


Impressive. However, her accomplishments pale in comparison to Esther Vergeer's.
posted by yellowcandy at 11:43 PM on September 21 [2 favorites +] [!]


Your favorite athlete can beat up someone else's favorite athlete! You win the internet discussion, here is a medal.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:41 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I remember being asked as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up and replying, "As strong as a man" ..

Women will out do men in distance events. Its just a matte
posted by Ironmouth at 7:44 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


you write a post about Chrissie Wellington and not even bother to mention the many interviews she did with competitor radio? blasphemy!

blind item links suck. if you want to talk about someone, mention their name.
posted by krautland at 8:15 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


blind item links suck. if you want to talk about someone, mention their name.

Sorry, no.

That most readers will not, I suspect, know who such a phenomenon might be is part of Wellington's story.

If I have successfully provoked their curiosity, clicking a "more inside" link strikes me as a non-onerous price to pay for satisfying it.
posted by Trurl at 9:01 AM on September 22, 2011


University of Birmingham is pretty much my backyard. I pray I never see her on the park paths around here while jogging or they will have to pick up the pieces of my already depleted ego using magnifying glasses and tweezers. Fortunately, she now lives elsewhere so now all I have to worry about is running into Usian Bolt next year.

Bleeding feet is brutal. Not stopping to poop because you don't want to miss a spot on the podium is brutal as well (guy won his AG).


I run 5 miles 2 or 3 times a week and I absolutely will not leave the house until my digestive system reports an all clear. There is something perverse about running and pushing your physical limits that seems to make you need poop at the point where you have the least strength to hold it back.
posted by srboisvert at 9:29 AM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, I suspect drugs. Not because of her atheletic performance mind you. It is because she smiles too much for an English person.
posted by srboisvert at 9:30 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, fuck blind links. You'll get all sorts of wankers like me in here to say stuff like "Who gives a shit about triathlons? I thought you were talking about real sports." :D
posted by mrgrimm at 12:49 PM on September 22, 2011


In other female athlete news, Paula Radcliffe's 2003 marathon world record of 2h 15 25s no longer stands because she ran in a mixed race - i.e. with men.

I checked a bit further into this and it seems this is still an ongoing case. they are currently talking to the IAAF about this issue and the final word hasn't been spoken. the reason this isn't said and done yet is that the last time major marathons like boston, chicago, london or berlin started women separately was in the eighties. if they were to invalidate all female records that came of mixed races they would end up with a chinese woman who ran one season really well because she had turtle blood in her system and then never again showed up to any races or a doped-up east german from that period (I am not saying uta pippig was one of them).

as for male pacers being an unfair advantage - I call poppycock on that at least in paula's case. she runs next to her pacers, not behind them. look at her london record and she dropped all of them. she got her own drinks, which the male leaders in that race didn't, she ran her own race. there was just one kenyan cheering her on because he realized he was gonna see her break the record next to him.

I actually know a guy who plans on using her as a pacemaker (without her knowledge) on sunday's berlin marathon. if you see a kiwi doing sort of an airplane-motion as he crosses the goal line right next to her you'll know it worked.

and if you're going to be there, get in touch. I'm doing press photo work at the race.
posted by krautland at 1:04 PM on September 22, 2011


srboisvert: "It is because she smiles too much ... "
No, that's what joy looks like.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:58 PM on September 22, 2011


For what it's worth, pretty much every top athlete in the world ever has been involved in some form of pharmaceutical assistance. When everyone else is doing it you do what you need to do to win.
posted by schroedinger at 5:42 PM on September 22, 2011


[Take debates about the post formatting to MetaTalk, please. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 7:26 PM on September 22, 2011


pretty much every top athlete in the world ever has been involved in some form of pharmaceutical assistance
that's an inflammatory, self-righteous and empty statement that adds nothing but insult for all those that didn't. I realize this is the internet but come on.
posted by krautland at 1:28 AM on September 23, 2011


that's an inflammatory, self-righteous and empty statement that adds nothing but insult for all those that didn't. I realize this is the internet but come on.

Wait, seriously? It's only inflammatory if you think PEDs are a Big Terrible Offense that only Horrible Cheating Cheaters use. I know Americans have a mad-on for hating PEDs, but that's primarily because steroids got the same DARE treatment that marijuana did. In a lot of the world they're simply seen as a tool to help further high-level athletic development. I mean, shit, in China and Russia they have development labs for this shit.

And when every other guy around you is taking and you want to be #1, 95% of the time you take too. Sure, it's more prevalent in some sports than others (i.e. cycling), but the idea of a totally clean world record is kind of naive.
posted by schroedinger at 6:19 AM on September 23, 2011


In a lot of the world they're simply seen as a tool to help further high-level athletic development.
I am in "the rest of the world," of which you have a distorted picture. worse, you have a serious deficit when it comes to your knowledge of performance enhancing drugs. I could launch into a tirade here but instead will recommend this interview with mark zeigler from june. it's 100 minutes but if this topic is of any real interest to you I'll promise it'll influence your point of view like nothing you've read or heard about this so far.

95% of the time you take too.
you don't know that, you are just making up that number and presenting it as a fact. stop being so fox news.
posted by krautland at 8:20 AM on September 23, 2011


Well, the rumor mill is saying that she might miss Kona due to an injury. I hope that's not true.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:06 AM on September 26, 2011


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