Best Quotes of 2018

By USA Triathlon | Dec. 11, 2018, 6:02 p.m. (ET)

The 2018 triathlon season was one for the books — featuring a packed calendar of USA Triathlon National Championships, a thrilling ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Gold Coast, a U.S.-hosted ITU World Cup, a record-breaking IRONMAN World Championship, and countless other memorable multisport moments. Here are some of the top quotes spoken by athletes and other members of the multisport community this year:

“As someone who has been living and breathing the sport of triathlon since 1978, I am ecstatic that IRONMAN and USA Triathlon, two of our industry leaders, are launching ‘Time to Tri’ in order to help grow the world’s greatest sport. The sport of triathlon changes lives for the better, and having the largest brands in our sport joining together to invest in our growth is a huge step forward. As you can tell, I couldn’t be more excited!”
— Bob Babbitt, Co-Founder of the Challenged Athletes Foundation, on the launch of the Time to Tri initiative

“At Collegiate Club Nationals, it’s not about the individual. It’s all about the team, and putting on for your school. Being able to represent Queens today the best I could was a blast. We put in all the work every day together, so being able to see all of our hard work pay off is the best feeling.”
— Jack Felix after anchoring Queens University of Charlotte to the mixed relay win at the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships

“I had a really rough start to the year. Training had been going really well and my team and I had been working very hard, but I just wasn’t able to put it together, and I feel like this win is a long time coming. My coach, Paulo Sousa, has stuck through a lot with me, and I’m so thankful for his support and belief in me. My family was onboard when I decided that I wanted to make a career change and start triathlon at the age of 28, so I have some incredible people in my corner, and this one is for them today. I hope it’s just the start.”
— Chelsea Sodaro on earning her first career ITU World Cup win in Huatulco, Mexico

“I think that was my toughest podium yet, for sure. There were so many stages that I could have been done. I didn’t feel great on the bike, and the technical sections were hard. My legs felt awful getting off the bike, but coming out as Series number one is a pretty good birthday present!”
— Katie Zaferes on her bronze medal at ITU World Triathlon Leeds, which moved her into the lead in the overall WTS standings

“In 2015, I badly needed a finish line that would bring me joy. That’s when triathlon found me. I’d spent the previous four years riding a cancer roller coaster with my husband who was diagnosed with a brain tumor that turned everything upside down … Exercise has always grounded me and it did then too, but it was triathlon that ended up giving me the strength to reach for a finish line that made me smile. That was four years ago, and every day now I reach mini-finish lines and stretch for bigger ones because of triathlon. Each day of training fills my cup and gives me the strength to keep up this life I’m so lucky to have. My husband is still living with this disease and I won’t say it is easy, but I’m in control of my finish lines now. I dream big now, like World Championship big with podiums and flags. Of course, there are still some scary endings, but I trust at the finish along with fear and pain there will also be strength, courage and support among my fellow triathletes. I've seen it already in this great sport.”
— Stephanie Van Bebber, winner of the National Triathlon Week “What’s Your Finish Line?” contest to receive a lifetime USA Triathlon membership

“I just feel incredibly blessed to have such great teammates here. Everyone really put in a huge effort to make that win possible. In my last year as a junior, it was definitely the highlight. It’s so much fun to be out here with my team, racing hard. It was really, really incredible.”
— Audrey Ernst on racing to the win with the MMTT – Sammy’s Gold relay team at the USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships

“I just went full send on the bike. My phrase for the day was, ‘Are you going full send right now?’ So, every 5-10 minutes, I’d do that mental check — ‘Are you going full send? No? Well, let’s go.’” 
— Justin Lippert after earning the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships Olympic-distance title, before completing his sweep with a win in the sprint the following day

“I’ve seen people transform who were drug addicts. I’ve seen age groupers who had written their suicide note, had told me about it, who came back because of our sport. They’re still with us. I know people who are amputees who were told they couldn’t (run, bike or swim), but they did. I’ve been right there with them, year after year. It’s like they’re coming into the house, and we’re all just having a great party." 
— Mike Reilly, famed IRONMAN finish-line announcer, during his speech at the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

“Triathlon and the Olympic movement have been my passion for over 30 years. I’ve seen the world and lived out my dreams with those I love right by my side. I’ve been so blessed. This is not the end of my career, but just the beginning of something new and exciting. However, there is one thing I’m definitely sure of, and that’s that the Lord has got hold of me. I’m right where I need to be, fully reliant on God.”
— Hunter Kemper, four-time U.S. Olympian, on retiring from elite triathlon and being inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame

“It’s not over until it’s over. That’s the fun thing about triathlon, but it’s also the nerve-wracking thing. It’s not over until you cross that finish line. I started my season very rough, so to be able to end it well, I think that speaks dividends to my support team.”
— Taylor Knibb after winning the women’s ITU Under-23 World Championship title

“That was all I wanted today, redemption from last year. I had a really tough end of the year after a great start last year, and I was pretty disappointed with uncontrollable circumstances. This year, I was really excited to be able to come into this race healthy and trained and fit, and just be able to put it all out there.”
— Allysa Seely on earning her third ITU Paratriathlon World Championships title, and redeeming herself after silver in 2017

“When the hurt became unbearable, I thought of my friend Geoffrey who passed away this year. He was a good friend of mine, and we raced track together in college as recently as this May. I wrote his name on my race shoes in honor of him, and every time I would think, ‘Let’s get it, Geoffrey,’ during that run, the pain would subside and my pace would quicken. I didn’t realize how fast I was running until after when my brother told me I ran a 31:24, which is the fastest 10k I’ve ever run by a long shot.”
— Matthew Murray, who won the men’s 20-24 ITU Age Group World Championships title in Gold Coast in honor of his late friend Geoffrey

"It's a surreal experience. I didn't know what to expect coming in, but once you put on those stars and stripes, it's a whole new ball game. I've done hundreds of races, and none of them have ever been anything like this because of the atmosphere and how tough the competitors are. It's a totally different ball game being up against the best in the world, and I'm just really happy to be a part of it and happy to come home with a top-10." 
— Drew Shellenberger after finishing 7th in the men’s triathlon at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018

“What can you say when someone saves your life? I am so blessed to be here today and am eternally grateful to a fellow triathlete, Dr. DeLaMora, for stopping and having the awareness of the situation. She is an extraordinary human being.” 
— Tim Gallagher on Dr. Tricia DeLaMora, the fellow triathlete who put her race on pause at 2017 IRONMAN Santa Rosa to assist Gallagher after he collapsed on course. Dr. DeLaMora received the U.S. Olympic Committee’s 2018 Jack Kelly Fair Play Award for her lifesaving act. 

“It’s surreal. I’ve wanted to be in this spot in paratriathlon for many, many years, so to finally be here, there are still times when I’m like, 'Wow, this is happening.' I’m super proud of my teammates. There was a lot of encouragement out there, so that was super exciting — not only to encourage others, but also to receive it.”
— Kelly Elmlinger after winning the women’s PTS4 title at the Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Paratriathlon World Cup

“Everybody talks about how you’re going to go through these highs and lows during an IRONMAN, and, trust me, let’s be honest, sport highs and lows are really not that high and low compared to life,” True said. “I’ve come out of a dark time with so much gratitude for the sport. This is a way for us to celebrate what our minds and bodies are capable of. I think that’s something that’s so tremendously beautiful.” 
— Sarah True opens up about coping with depression and prioritizing mental health as an athlete

“I want the world to know that three years ago, I started changing. I went to an IRONMAN as a volunteer and thought, ‘I wonder if I could ever do what they’re doing?' But I didn’t start there. I started small. I started by doing a sprint triathlon. By doing an Olympic-distance triathlon. Every race just kept getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger. But I remember every one of those races, and how I wanted people to know that all they had to do was change. I was so happy — not because I had done it, but because I had proven to the person who thought it was impossible for them to do anything, that they could do it.”
— Marcus Cook on his journey from weighing nearly 500 pounds to competing in IRONMAN triathlons

“I’m super happy with how the race went, and I’m proud of my team. Everyone did so well. We never know what’s going to happen on race day, so we have to be ready for everything. We treat it like any race, even though it’s a big one, and we always have to be ready to work hard. We’ve been working so hard this whole year — seeing everyone in training every day and how everyone performs in the race, it’s awesome.”
— Hannah Henry on defending her individual Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships title and Arizona State University defending its team title