Sophie Coldwell: Background, career highlights, quotes

British triathlete Sophie Coldwell has been tipped for big things in the next few years. But what's she already achieved in the sport? We take a look

Sophie Coldwell on the run at WTS London 2015

The competition to represent Britain’s women at major championships is extremely tough, but the stars are starting to align for Sophie Coldwell.

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Having missed out on competing at the Tokyo Olympics, her strong showing throughout the World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) landed her a berth in Team England’s Commonwealth Games squad where she finished fourth.

But who is Sophie Coldwell? And what’s her background? It’s time to find out…

Who is Sophie Coldwell?

Had she been born at another time, or in another country, Sophie Coldwell would have had more opportunities – and thus be in receipt of more adoration – than she has. With the terrifically high standard of, and fierce competition between, Britain’s elite women, Coldwell hasn’t always been able to match those around her.

But in most other countries, her results record – containing World Cup victories and WTCS podium places – would mean she would be an undisputed number one.

Raised in Nottingham and now based in Loughborough, Coldwell has nonetheless made her own mark on the sport after a highly decorated junior career. Not in possession of Olympic golds or MBEs like certain contemporaries, her tenacity has seen her rise to challenge, and often beat, the very best in the world.

She finished the 2021 WTCS series in fifth overall, casting her fellow Brits into the shade.

While obviously disappointed at not being selected for the Tokyo Olympics (as a reserve, she still had to travel to Japan and was therefore part of the Team GB set-up), Coldwell was selected for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where she finished an agonising fourth.

Her long-term focus now will be making that highly competitive GB women’s team for Paris 2022. As a keen keeper of poultry when not training or competing, though, Coldwell won’t be counting any chickens.

How old is Sophie Coldwell?

Sophie Coldwell was born on 25 February 1995, making her 27 years old.

Sophie Coldwell’s career highlights

Credit: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images for Commonwealth Games England

July 2015: Coldwell’s first senior national title

Holding off the spirited challenges of Emma Pallant and Jess Learmonth, Coldwell wins the Sprint Triathlon National Championships in Liverpool. She is just 20 years old.

April 2018: Just misses a top-five finish at the Commonwealth Games

Although Bermuda’s Flora Duffy takes gold, Britain’s women dominate the top 10. While Coldwell finishes a very promising sixth, Learmonth takes silver, Vicky Holland comes fourth and former world champion Non Stanford finishes eighth.

July 2018: Double joy in eastern Europe

It proves to be a terrific month for Coldwell as she registers two highly significant victories on her travels. The first comes in Hungary with a win at the Tiszaújváros World Cup race.

Twelve days later, Coldwell breaks the tape first at the ETU Triathlon European Championships in Tartu in Estonia.

June 2019: Flawless foursome cruise to victory

Alongside Georgia Taylor-Brown, Ben Dijkstra and Alex Yee, Coldwell is part of the victorious British quartet at the Accenture Wold Triathlon Mixed Relay on her home turf of Nottingham, the city she grew up in.

June 2021: Coldwell breaks her WTCS podium duck

Sophie Coldwell vies for position on the bike leg with eventual WTCS Leeds winner Maya Kingma (Credit: World Triathlon/Ben Lumley)

In front of a customarily exuberant crowd in Leeds, Coldwell achieves her maiden top-three finish in the WTCS series behind the Netherlands’ Maya Kingma and Jess Learmonth. Among Coldwell’s scalps are Flora Duffy and Taylor Spivey.

August 2021: Highest-placed Brit in the WTCS series

A seventh place at the WTCS Grand Final in Edmonton is enough to confirm that Coldwell has achieved a career-best fifth overall for the series. As such, and despite the exceedingly high calibre of her compatriots, she is the highest-placed British woman.

June 2022: Parties in the park

Wins individual bronze and mixed relay silver at the Leeds WTCS event and follows it up two weeks later with another mixed team relay silver in Montreal. 

July 2022: The worst and best in Brum

An unusual-for-her poor swim leaves Coldwell playing catch-up for the entire sprint-distance Commonwealth Games race in Birmingham. A fourth place is still highly commendable but she was of course hoping for a podium.

Two days later and a medal is hers as she collects gold in the mixed relay.

September-October 2022: Bronze in the SLT

Has a stellar end-of-season showing in the 2022 Super League Series, with a fourth, two seconds and a third to finish in bronze position overall.

In November, she finishes 11th in the Grand Final to end the Series in overall sixth place.

Sophie Coldwell quotes

On her first WTCS podium, in Leeds in 2021: “Coming off the bike, I was so conscious of getting on the podium that it didn’t matter whether I won or finished third. To finally tick that box was amazing.”

On being a reserve at the Tokyo Olympics: “Being from Great Britain has its pros and cons … It’s tough thinking you should be on the start list, but because you’re from the strongest nation, you’re not.”

On her Super League experience: “Racing back-to-back weekends showed I’m not an athlete who can do everything. I got worse every week and fell off a cliff by the end of it.”

On her fourth place at the 2022 Commonwealth Games: “I’m pretty gutted with that. Just not my day – three better people on the day, not much more to say really.”

What’s next for Sophie Coldwell?

The long-term goal has to be Paris 2024. Before then, though, there’s the not-insignificant matter of establishing herself still further on the WTCS circuit with a win or two.

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Top image credit: World Triathlon