2022 IRONMAN™ World Championship Photo Essay (Saturday)

Photos © Tony Svensson/IRONMAN™

Dig Me Beach with a wave of swimmers entering the water.

Wave starts notwithstanding, the swim can be a bit messy.

Some 20 swimmers exited the water within a couple of minutes. Leading one pack is Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt followed by Braden Currie from New Zealand. Behind them are, among others, fellow Norwegian Gustav Iden and Frenchman Sam Laidlow. All would battle for the lead.

The Frenchman would assume the bike lead a bit after Kawaihae on the return and entered T2 with a gap of over six minutes.

He started the run with the same six-minute lead over the Norwegian duo.

Only second’s behind his fellow countryman, Gustav leaves T2 with cap in hand (more about the magic cap later).

The Norwegians quickly teamed up on Ali'i Drive and started closing the gap on the leading Frenchman. Some 41 minutes later, they power up Palani Hill.

Having gained the lead with less than 7 km to go on Queen Ka'ahumanu, the Ironman rookie cruises to the finish a full two minutes ahead of second (Sam Laidlow) and three minutes ahead of third (Kristian Blummenfelt). He captures a course record and finishes the day with a 2:36 marathon split.

A handshake between #1 and 2 to celebrate a job well done.

Brazilian-Belgian former professional basketball player Sebastien Bellin, seen here on Ali’i Drive approaching the hot corner on the return from the first turnaround. In 2016, Sebastien was seriously injured in the Brussel Airport bombing and had resolved not to be a victim, but a survivor. Indeed!

Sebastien hiding his 2.05 m frame behind a signed Belgian flag.

As is the custom, Aunty Mele Kekai sings Hawai’i Aloha after the last official contestant has crossed the finish line, capping an extraordinary two days.

The story behind the winner’s magic blue cap according to Norwegian media: While at a training camp in Japan, Gustav had picked the cap up from the ground on a side street. It had brought him racing luck since. The yellow text on the front translates into Puyan Shunze Temple, a 300-year-old temple in Taiwan. (Apparently, the cap quickly sold out and has become The Thing, as evidenced by this group of Taiwanese fans in the King Kamehameha lobby.)

The top ten men at Sunday’s awards banquet.