Meet the Team

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Pho3nix Team

Nicola Spirig

Olympic champion. Six-time European champion. Five-time Olympian. Nicola Spirig has done it all. As well as becoming the most successful female Olympic triathlete in history, Spirig is also a multiple champion over the longer distances, winning her first half distance triathlon in 2007, and from 12 races she has never finished off the podium, including winning Ironman Nice in 2021 at the age of 40. Sport is her passion, and through the partnership between the Nicola Spirig Foundation and Pho3nix the Swiss Sub7Sub8 superstar is involved in Pho3nix Kids triathlons and education programs. Together with her husband, Swiss triathlete Reto Hug, Nicola has three children born in 2013, 2017 and 2019.

Katie Zaferes

Silver and bronze medals at Tokyo2020 capped off what has been a meteoric rise for America’s Katie Zaferes. Selected to compete at the Rio Olympics in 2016 after just three years in the sport, the childhood swim and track star went on to completely dominate the Super League Triathlon series before victory in the 2019 ITU Grand Final in Lausanne sealed the world championship title. All that success has been underpinned by a relentless focus and determination. Finishing the 2015 season in fifth place in the world rankings, Zaferes ended the following seasons in 4th, 3rd and 2nd before finally taking the crown – a true Pho3nix story.

Vincent Luis

2019 and 2020 world triathlon champion Vincent Luis has been near unstoppable in recent years, winning back-to-back Super League Triathlon titles and going unbeaten in all of 2020. At age 32, Luis already has 15 years professional experience and leads a strong French contingent on the world tour. He is a central part of the hugely successful French Mixed Relay Team, which successfully defended their world championship title in 2019 and picked up bronze at Tokyo2020.

Georgia Taylor-Brown

When Georgia Taylor-Brown won the 2020 World Triathlon championship title, the success was very much expected by the multisport fraternity. Her famous hand-in-hand finish alongside countrywoman Jess Learmonth at the Tokyo2020 test event – while earning her a disqualification – pegged the 27-year-old as one to watch, and the Team GB superstar would back that world title up with a courageous silver medal at the Olympic Games, despite suffering a flat tyre. A few days later she would go on to be part of the GB team that won a brilliant gold in the Mixed Team Relay.

Radka Kahlefeldt

With 20 half-iron distance race wins to her name, Radka Kahlefeldt (nee Vodickova) is one of the most consistent long course triathletes on the international circuit. Before moving to middle distance, Radka Kahlefeldt (née Vodickova) already had 15 short course ITU wins under her belt and was a regular on the Czech national team, highlighted by her appearance at the London Olympics in 2012, where she finished 20th. Radka left the federation in 2013 to pursue professional long course racing and unite her two passions: sport and traveling. She won the Challenge World Series 2019 and a $30,000 bonus by winning Challenge Family races in Walchsee, Prague, Davos and Mallorca, among others. Her target now is a podium finish at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, to improve on her best placing of 5th.

Jake Birtwhistle

There’s plenty of talent bubbling up in Australia, with no better example than that of Jake Birtwhistle. The Tasmanian-born 25-year-old comes from a running background; from the age of 15 to 18 he was crowned Australian champion 11 times over middle to long distance. With a run pedigree to match the famous Brownlee brothers, Jake has progressed through the tiers of ITU triathlon and become increasingly competitive at World Triathlon Series level. He had a breakthrough year in 2019, winning two World Triathlon Series events (Leeds and Hamburg). He has also played a major role as the anchor in Australia’s mixed team relay gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and the ITU world championships.

Alistair Brownlee

Alistair Brownlee was untouchable at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games and rises to the big occasion like no other, gaining recognition as perhaps the world’s best ever short-course triathlete . He and brother Jonathan are known to race full out from the front, pushing the pace on the swim and bike, but it’s Alistair’s devastating run that has secured him so many victories, and made him the only athlete ever to defend Olympic triathlon gold. In 2019 he took on the challenge of Ironman and earned a starting spot at the Ironman World Championships, where he finished 21st on debut. He took the lessons learned in Kona to win Ironman Western Australia and break the course record. Despite conventional wisdom dictating Ironman blunts top-end speed, Alistair balanced both to narrowly miss out on Tokyo Olympic selection, all while nursing an ankle injury. In June 2022, Alistair will attempt to Defy The Impossible and become the first man to complete a full distance triathlon in under seven hours, as part of the Pho3nix Sub7Sub8 Project.

PROGRAM ATHLETES

Billy Stairmand

Born and raised in the surf town of Raglan, Billy started surfing at the age of 9 and won his first national scholastics in New Zealand at the age of 13. He rose to international awareness when he defeated surf legend and 10-time world champion Kelly Slater in 2011, just one year after joining the pro ranks. With the devastating loss of his mum four years ago his path to sporting success took a detour, but winners always find their way back. He turned his mindset and performances around, and arrived at the Tokyo Olympics as an 8-tie national champion. Billy finished 9th in surfing’s Olympic debut, and enjoyed every single minute.

Margielyn Didal

Growing up in Cebu City, Philippines, Margie carried the hopes of a nation as she made her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. When her hometown’s only public skatepark was shut down, the 22-year-old trained beneath a bridge before successfully campaigning for, and helping design, a world-class skatepark so she and the national team could train for Olympic and international competition. Since finishing 7th in Tokyo, Margie has spent her time training and providing meals for disadvantaged people in her local neighbourhood.

Orla Walsh

Orla was not a sporty person growing up in Dublin, and as an adult never even owned a gym membership. All that changed in 2015 when she borrowed her father’s old road bike to commute to college and was hooked. She swapped cigarettes and all-night partying for three-hour rides and weekend racing, and two years later her results earned Orla a chance to attend national camps, with the 32-year-old now national sprint champion and 500m TT record holder. Despite injury and a very steep learning curve, Orla is still improving and on track to represent her country at the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.

Shida Leni

Hailing from humble beginnings in the small village of Arua, Shida made history in 2014 when she became the first female Ugandan sprinter to compete internationally, making the semi-final of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. In 2018 Leni broke a 12-year national record for the 400m and proceeded to better that mark six more times in the span of a year. The 27-year-old achieved a long held dream in 2021 when she became an Olympian and raced alongside her hero Allyson Felix.

Radosław Kawęcki

One of many Polish Athlete Program members, three-time European champion Radosław has been a leading figure in international swimming for a decade. Twice a world championships silver medalist in the 200m backstroke, Kawęcki narrowly missed the medals at London 2012, and became a three-time Olympian in Tokyo, where he finished 7th.

Skye Nicolson

The reigning Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Skye has always focused on being a positive role model for young girls in a male-dominated sport. The 25-year-old featherweight has been boxing for more than half her life, and when women’s boxing became an Olympic sport in 2012, it became her dream and goal to represent her country and make history as Australia’s first ever female boxing Olympic medalist. Skye travelled to Tokyo carrying the legacy of her late brother Jamie, who competed at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and with whom she shares a unique boxing style despite his tragic passing a year before she was born. Finishing 5th after a split decision denied the Australian an Olympic medal, Skye now has her sights firmly set on Paris 2024.

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