Double Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno has in part appeared to apologise for the way he expressed his feelings towards Harry Wiltshire, claiming on 220’s Twitter page that “too many beers” may have been to blame for his strong words in an interview with Triathlete Magazine.
Frodeno claimed Wiltshire was swimming on top of him throughout much of the 3.8km Kona swim leg, and aired his feelings publicly in the interview.
Frodeno begins by saying he had “a lot of lows” during the race, and that he “couldn’t break the swim group at the start which is thanks to Harry Wiltshire”, before looking directly at the camera as if to address Wiltshire and saying brazenly: “If you’re watching this, you’re a pr**k.”
Frodeno continued: “He basically swam on top of me and properly disturbed me intentionally the whole way back, that was a really unsportsmanlike move from him(sic).”
However while Frodeno said on Twitter he “still didn’t think what happened was cool”, he did apologise in part for his language, hinting at the strong possibility that alcohol could have played a part.
The to-and-fro on social media between Ironman World Champ Frodeno and Harry Wiltshire, who was first out of the water
The accusation will come as a shock to many pros and the British Triathlon community, in which Wiltshire is generally held in high regard; however, it’s not the first time the former ITU triathlete has been involved in dispute over swim tactics, as Wiltshire served a six-month ITU ban back in 2011 for “unsportsmanlike conduct”, after footage emerged that showed him swimming over the then ITU World Champion Javier Gomez of Spain.
Wiltshire congratulated Frodeno on his victory numerous times, and has received support from athletes, fans and sponsors defending his character. While the two have appeared to call a truce of some sorts the alleged incident opened up a wider debate into the refereeing of swim tactics on social media, and whether athletes have the right to complain about unintentional clashes on the swim.
*Since this article was published, Harry has sent 220 this statement: “When you have just added your second Ironman World Champs to your Olympic Gold medal you can pretty much do anything you like. Jan didn’t need to publicly apologise, but he took the time to publicly say he overstepped the mark the day after a phenomenal race: one more reason why he is a worthy champion.”*