The saga began in March when Skipper told 220 that he didn’t believe the hype around world and Olympic champion Blummenfelt and Ironman 70.3 world champion Iden going into the rearranged Ironman World Championship, due to take place in St George, Utah, on 7 May.
In the interview, Skipper, who’s known for being straight talking, explained he didn’t understand why everyone was ‘raving’ about Iden’s performance at Ironman Florida (where he finished first, ahead of Lionel Sanders).
He also said he doesn’t think Iden will make the front pack in the swim in Utah and that it’s 50-50 as to whether or not Blummenfelt (who set an Ironman world record in his debut race back in November) makes it.
The Norwegians strike back
This week, the Norwegians responded, with Blummenfelt saying: “Whatever you do, don’t believe the Norwegian hype. Believe Joe Skipper. Ho, ho, ho.”
Iden added: “We didn’t believe the British hype.”
And the saga has taken another couple of turns over the past 24 hours, with further comments from both Blummenfelt and Skipper, as well as an appearance from Alistair Brownlee, who’ll be going head to head with the Norwegian in the Sub7 challenge in June.
In a video posted by the Pho3nix Foundation, the folks behind the Sub7 project, Brownlee watches a video of Blummenfelt, who says: “I guess Alistair was enjoying the live coverage [of Blummenfelt’s record-breaking Ironman Cozumel performance].”
Brownlee shakes his head nonchalantly, saying: “Didn’t watch it.” Blummenfelt continued: “…probably he didn’t expect me to hold on that well.” To which Brownlee responds with a laugh: “I hadn’t given it a lot of thought, to be honest.”
Watch the full video below.
“I want to destroy their team”
Things really begun to heat up this morning, however, when the Pho3nix Foundation posted another video. This time, Blummenfelt is watching a video of Joe Skipper speaking to the camera.
“I want to just destroy their team,” he said. “I’m up for it. I’ve already messaged Alistair. I said, Alistair, you need to make sure you’re on top form for this because I want to destroy them. You need to make sure you’re 100% for this.
“He said he’s going to do it. We want it more than them and we’re going to make it happen…” He laughs before adding, “No, we really do. Honestly, that’s not even an understatement. We want to f***ing destroy them.”
Blummentfelt, who himself cracks a smirk while watching, simply responds: “But who is this guy? Do you know? It says Joe something in the headline.”
Are they playing up to the cameras? Maybe. Is the beef real? Who knows. One thing’s for sure, though, we can’t wait to see how it plays out in May and June.
Top image credit: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images for Ironman