One of the most consistent British triathletes in recent times, Jodie Stimpson’s CV contains some notable highlights, no more so than when she surged to Commonwealth Games gold in 2014. Now the world of long-course racing beckons…
Who is Jodie Stimpson?
Jodie Stimpson is one of the stalwarts of British triathlon of the last decade. Having first competed at the age of eight, it’s consumed her life ever since. There are few – if any – more enthusiastic triathletes out there. She is truly one of the sport’s most committed ambassadors.
Over the years, this native of Oldbury in the West Midlands has amassed plenty of honours. She was a world champion at just 22, being part of the victorious British mixed relay team that claimed the title in Lausanne in 2011.
From there, she’s been a highly consistent competitor on the WTS circuit, making frequent appearances in the top five in races across the globe, including four victories.
Her greatest WTS season was surely in 2013 when she took silver overall in the series. The following year came Stimpson’s greatest triumph: the Commonwealth Games gold she won in Glasgow, which she swiftly paired with victory in the mixed relay too.
There is an elephant in the room, though. Despite these honours, despite this consistency, Stimpson has never been an Olympian, missing out on selection for London 2012, Rio 2016 and Japan 2020. Who knows what she might have achieved on the biggest platform of all?
At the end of 2020, Stimpson left the world of short-course racing to try her hand at middle-distance events. Jodie Stimpson 2.0 was launched.
How old is Jodie Stimpson?
Jodie Stimpson was born on 8 February 1989, making her 33 years of age.
Jodie Stimpson’s career highlights
August 2011: A world champion at just 22
Alongside Helen Jenkins and the Brownlee brothers, Stimpson becomes a world champion as the British quartet secure gold in the mixed relay in Lausanne.
September 2012: World Cup success gives maiden elite victory
Stimpson takes her first major win as an elite triathlete in the ITU World Cup race in Guatape in Colombia, winning by almost five minutes.
October 2012: Stimpson proves a point in New Zealand
Stimpson achieves her first top-five World Triathlon Series finish at the Grand Final in Auckland.
May 2013: First top-three finish in WTS competition
Third place in Yokohama, behind Gwen Jorgensen and outsprinted by Emma Moffatt, gives Stimpson her first appearance on a WTS podium.
July 2013: Victory in the Austria Alps takes Stimpson to new peaks
A second podium finish, this time in Madrid, is followed by Stimpson’s first WTS victory in Kitzbühel, the margin of victory a clear minute over a shorter race distance.
The win is followed by further top-five finishes in Hamburg, Stockholm and London, giving Stimpson second place overall in the series, pipped to the world title by fellow Brit Non Stanford’s victory in the on-home-turf Grand Final.
July 2014: Double Glasgow gold at the Commonwealths
After WTS wins in Auckland and Cape Town, Stimpson heads to Glasgow and the Commonwealth Games in strong form. And this bears out, as she grinds down her opponents on the run to take gold in Strathclyde Country Park.
Stimpson makes it double gold a few days later as part of the triumphant England mixed relay team.
March 2016: Impressive pre-Olympics victory in Abu Dhabi
Her fourth career WTS win, this time in Abu Dhabi, sets up Stimpson for the last available spot in the GB team for the Rio Olympics, while second place the following month in Cape Town strengthens her cause even further.
However, Helen Jenkins gets the nod, joining Non Stanford and Vicky Holland on the plane to Brazil. Stimpson misses out on Olympic selection again.
March 2017: A final climb onto a WTS podium
A return to her happy hunting ground of Abu Dhabi lands Stimpson another WTS podium appearance, but it’s to be her last. Over the next couple of seasons, overtaken in the rankings by the likes of Jess Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown, the West Midlander’s dream of finally competing at an Olympics dissolves.
March 2021: Victory in Miami confirms the future is long
Hinting at the impact Stimpson could make at longer distances, she wins Challenge Miami, impressively beating her much more experienced and decorated long-course compatriot Lucy Charles-Barclay. It’s an emotional day, as it comes just over a year after the tragic loss of her beloved father, Ian.
Jodie Stimpson in quotes
On the inspiration for winning Commonwealth Games gold in 2014: “I didn’t meet the criteria for London, so it wasn’t my spot. Obviously I was devastated to miss a home Olympics, but that gave me the kick up the backside I needed.”
On devoting her life to the sport: “I love triathlon and all elements of it, so I want to do as much as I can. I think I’ll be the oldest finisher at Kona one day!
On moving on from Olympic-distance racing: “My heart is always going to be for the Olympics. It’s taken a while for me to go, ‘You know what, the Olympics just aren’t in my career.’ It was just never meant to be.”
On her debut middle-distance race at the 2020 PTO Championship at Challenge Daytona: “I got my ass absolutely handed to me in Daytona. I didn’t really know what to expect and I was so unprepared for it.”
On getting injured at the end of 2020: “What bit me in the arse a bit was that I was so consistent but without any races. So I didn’t get that ease into a race, I didn’t get that recovery for my body, which sounds really weird when there were no races. I was ticking all the boxes, not doing anything super special, but I just didn’t have that easy period. And then I got injured, and that’s why I didn’t race the WTS races at the end of the year. I was so annoyed because I was like, ‘Hang on a minute, I’m doing all the right things. I’m being super consistent.’ But yeah, the body just knows.
On moving into long-course racing: “I wanted to beat the best in the world and always be there at the pointy end of races. And that hasn’t changed going into 70.3s. The challenge is still to beat the best.”
On winning Challenge Miami in March 2021: “Miami was a big thing for me – I’ve proved to myself that I can do this, so now I’ve done that I need to take a step back.”
What’s next for Jodie Stimpson?
As the chapter of Stimpson’s success-laden time in short-course racing closes, a new one opens – that of the long-course world. A blank page greets this most enthusiastic, most committed of triathletes. And, on the evidence of her performance at Challenge Miami in 2021, Stimpson will have plenty to fill it with.
Top image: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images