Kristian Blummenfelt: Background, career highlights, quotes

Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt is the only triathlete to have held the Olympic, World Triathlon and Ironman world titles… at the same time. Here's everything you need to know about the golden man of triathlon…

Kristian Blummenfelt poses on the podium with his gold medal for winning the men's individual triathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, on 26 July, 2021

With jaw-dropping success in the World Triathlon Series, Ironman 70.3, Ironman and some gathering called the Olympics, the world is Kristian Blummenfelt’s oyster.

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But you suspect the Norwegian won’t be satisfied until he’s obliterated the common consensus of what a triathlete can achieve.

Who is Kristian Blummenfelt?

Known and highly respected as one of the hardest-training triathletes in the world (he freely admits to putting his body through its paces for more than eight hours a day), Kristian Blummenfelt is testament to the dictum that the rewards go to those who put the effort in.

He is – pretty much indisputably – the best triathlete in the world right now, a man who continues to prove himself over a range of distances.

Born in the Norwegian city of Bergen, Blummenfelt was a swimmer and footballer in his youth, before diverting his attentions towards triathlon. Although he became national champion before his 20th birthday, it took a while to make an impression on the World Triathlon Series.

Always a fierce – and fiercely combative – competitor in the series, as someone often in and around the top 10 it was perhaps surprising that he only scored his first WTS race success as recently as 2019, with victory at the Lausanne Grand Final.

By then, though, he’d made a seismic impression in Ironman circles when he recorded the fastest-ever Ironman 70.3 in Bahrain in 2018. That was only the half of it; the following year, he took a further chunk out of the half-distance record.

But it was when the sport returned to full speed after a break in competition because of Covid that Blummenfelt really bloomed. A vice-tightening run in the Olympic triathlon in Tokyo saw him deliver Norway’s first-ever triathlon medal at the Games. It was gold in colour.

A month later, he added the World Triathlon Championship Series crown to his impressive haul. But that still wasn’t enough for the ultra-competitive Blummenfelt.

In his first-ever full-distance Ironman, he chopped a huge amount off the existing world-best time, much to many people’s amazement.

In May 2022, he then became the first triathlete in history to win the Ironman world title while also holding the Olympic title.

He lost it to his compatriot Gustav Iden in October at the 2022 Ironman Worlds, but then went on to win the 70.3 title just three weeks later.

In short, Blummenfelt won’t rest on his laurels. There are more titles to win, more records to break. And he won’t miss a beat of that punishing training schedule.

How old is Kristian Blummenfelt?

Kristian Blummenfelt was born on 14 February 1994, making him 28 years old.

Kristian Blummenfelt’s career highlights

L-R: Sam Laidlow (2nd), Gustav Iden (1st) and Kristian Blummenfelt (3rd) celebrate on the podium at the 2022 Ironman World Championship. (Credit: David Pintens/Belga Mag/AFP via Getty Images)

August 2013: The national title while still a teen

As a hint that he will be a dominant force within Norwegian triathlon for many years, 19-year-old Blummenfelt wins the national championships for the first time. More national titles – and international ones too – are heading his way.

May 2016: A first appearance on a WTS podium

Kristian Blummenfelt runs through for his first World Triathlon podium in Yokohama, 2016. Credit: Delly Carr/ITU

After a spirited run in which he goes toe-to-toe with Mario Mola for a significant period of the leg, a tiring Blummenfelt holds on to take bronze in Yokohama. Not only is it his first WTS podium finish, it’s his first top- 10 placing, too. Three months later, he finishes 13th at the Rio Olympics.

September 2017: The Norwegian scoops an overall WTS bronze

At the Grand Final in Rotterdam, Blummenfelt takes his third second-place of the season, earning him overall bronze and a place on the podium alongside the mighty Spaniards, Mario Mola and Javier Gómez.

November 2017: A successful half-Ironman debut in Bahrain

Kristian Blummenfelt on the run leg of the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship, Bahrain, on 25 November, 2017. Credit: Alex Caparros/Getty Images for Ironman

Still only 23, Blummenfelt decides to go long and wins the Ironman 70.3 Middle East championships at the first time of asking, confirming his all-round ability and prowess.

December 2018: Blummenfelt becomes the fastest Ironman 70.3 triathlete in history

The story of the day wasn’t that Blummenfelt successfully defended his title in Bahrain. It was that – with 3:29:04 – he posted the fastest-ever 70.3 time. Small wonder that he exuberantly punched the air as he crossed the line. It’s a 1-2-3 for Norway, with compatriots Gustav Iden and Casper Stornes taking the other medals. All three were inside the previous world-best time.

August 2019: That long-awaited WTS race win finally arrives

Kristian Blummenfelt celebrates victory at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final on 31 August, 2019, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Credit: Jörg Schüler/Getty Images

After numerous top-five finishes, Blummenfelt breaks his WTS duck when he wins the Grand Final in Lausanne. However, with it being his only podium finish – in a season where he registered three DNFs – he only finishes 10th overall.

December 2019: A Middle East hat-trick in double-quick time

Blummenfelt eclipses the previous year’s record-breaking performance in Bahrain by knocking nearly four minutes of his 70.3 world-best time. The record now stands at 3:25:21.

July 2021: Gold is the colour in Tokyo

After a pandemic-enforced delay, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics take place a year later than scheduled, but it makes for great timing for Blummenfelt who powers away from Alex Yee and Hayden Wilde in the closing stages of the run to take gold and gain Olympic immortality.

August 2021: Victory in Edmonton delivers an unprecedented double

After only finishing 13th in the Covid-affected, single-race WTS championship the previous year, a win on the streets of Edmonton gives Blummenfelt the world title. He becomes the first man to win both the Olympics and the worlds in the same season.

November 2021: The most amazing Ironman debut ever

Kristian Blummenfelt crosses the line at Ironman Cozumel, 2021, having clocked the fastest-recorded Ironman time of 7:21:10.

A phenomenal season gets even more astonishing when Blummenfelt approaches the start line at Ironman Cozumel. Precisely four hours, two minutes and 40 seconds later, he becomes the fastest Ironman ever – and on his debut too.

His time is more than six minutes inside the previous world’s best, set earlier in the year by Germany’s Jan Frodeno, although a current-assisted swim does muddy the waters a little.

May 2022: Introducing the new Ironman world champion 

Becomes the first triathlete ever to hold both the Olympic and Ironman world titles at the same time, by winning the postponed 2021 Ironman World Championship in Utah. Despite a depleted field, Blummenfelt puts in a blistering run to take the tape in his Ironman Worlds debut.

June 2022: Introducing the world’s first Sub7 triathlete

Those records just keep on tumbling as Blummenfelt becomes the first male triathlete in history to go sub-7hrs with a 6:44:25 in the Sub7 challenge.

July 2022: A Norweigan show down

The two exhausted Norweigans put on a show for the ages (Credit: PTO / Eurosport)

Blummenfelt takes part in the inaugural PTO Canadian Open in Edmonton after a season of successful racing.

Just as it looks like he’s set to power through the final 18km run to take the victory, Blummenfelt sufferes from quad cramp and loses precious seconds, eventually coming in second to compatriot Gustav Iden.

To lessen the sting, he still pockets the $70k runners-up bonus.

August 2022: King of Europe

At the second Collins Cup in Slovakia, he’s matched with Ben Kanute and Hayden Wilde, but makes relatively light work of the race as he breaks away in the second-half of the bike to take a maximum bonus points win. Team Europe go on to claim victory overall.

October 2022: Kona third place on debut

Doesn’t quite live up to all the pre-race ‘favourite to win’ hype, but still helps chart a new tri era by finishing third behind compatriot Iden in first and Sam Laidlow in second – also both first-timers to the course. The top four men all break the existing course record.

October 2022: Wins the 70.3 Worlds

Three weeks later he proves he’s master of all distances by winning the 70.3 world title and completing the full set of triathlon’s major honours.

Kristian Blummenfelt quotes

On being an all-rounder racer: “I think long distances suit me better than shorter ones. I have the dream of winning all the races.”

On capturing Olympic gold in Tokyo: “I’ve been thinking about this race for so many years. I was on holiday here many years ago and thought to myself, ‘Okay, your goal is to win an Olympic gold medal here’.”

On his Ironman-record-breaking race in Cozumel: “It was almost like a training session because when I felt a bit rough after 17/18k on the run, I could slow down a little bit to like 3:55, since I wasn’t really under pressure.”

On his dreams of a sub-seven-hour Ironman: “Cutting another 22 minutes by having pacers, optimising the course, the tarmac … shows the Sub7 definitely is possible.”

On winning the Ironman Worlds in Kona, Hawaii: “The plan was to do it the same year [as the Olympics], but I think I’m in a pretty good position to do it in October [2022].”

On Paris 2024: “2023 and 2024 will be short distance, trying to find some leg speed again to be race fit for Paris. It’s going to be an epic Games, a big race, I’m really looking forward to it.”

On winning the 2021 Ironman World Champs, Utah: “Even when I went into the lead there was still a long way to go! But it was downhill the last 5k which made it a little bit easier. This is the greatest finish line I’ve ever known.”

What’s next for Kristian Blummenfelt?

Having taken the 70.3 title off Iden at the end of October 2022, Blummenfelt ended his long-distance year on a high. Because next year he’ll be back on the World Triathlon circuit, where he hopes to follow in Alistair Brownlee‘s well-trod footsteps and go on to win a second consecutive Olympic gold medal at the Paris 2024 Games.

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Top image credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images