Hayden Wilde: New Zealand’s Hottest Star Dead Set On The Olympics

Are triathletes born or are they made?

It’s an oft asked question and one that even countless case studies has failed to answer satisfactorily.

The rise of Hayden Wilde is an argument for triathletes being created.

The 21-year-old grew up in New Zealand as a runner and sometime bike rider. As he progressed through his teenage years he started to get better and better. At that stage, as the story so often goes, it was suggested he give triathlon a go.

Wilde took up swimming and, despite success in running, off road races and becoming the youngest ever winner of New Zealand’s iconic Coast to Coast race – a multisport event that features biking, kayaking and running – it was triathlon that appealed most.

For while the other pursuits all had their merits, it was swim, bike and run that opened the door to the Olympic Games.

Since that realisation, Wilde has focused his attention on triathlon and is now one of the rising stars of the sport. His youth and background help him deliver a killer run, his biking has always been competitive, and now his swimming is beginning to catch up.

He has made all the sacrifices required – including moving home – and it is paying off.

That same ability to deliver in short and sharp race formats have also made him a star of Super League, putting him on par with some of the sport’s brightest stars like Great Britain’s Alex Yee, creating one of triathlon’s most exciting rivalries.

Wilde finished eighth in last year’s Championship Series, never outside of the top ten in all four races, and his further progress suggests there is a lot more to come when the 2019 campaign kicks-off with RBC Super League Triathlon Jersey on September 28-29.

“I’ve got some big ambitions for this year’s SLT,” he admitted. “Throughout the ITU season, I’ve been on some good form so I’m aiming high and wanting to finish in the top four overall and hopefully take the top spot in a few races.

“But as we all know it an Olympic year and everyone is on some unbelievable form, so you never know what’s going to happen.”

One thing we can be fairly sure of is that in Wilde’s case it will happen fast, as everything he does is quick.

His lightning run is a real weapon which the sport’s established stars are having to try and negate, and his form in Super League last season underlined his entrance on to the world stage.

“Over the series I placed 6th-7th-6th before the Grand Final in Singapore so for me I had already exceeded expectations of my performance,” he reflected.

“So, no matter the overall result I was going to be absolutely over the moon with it.

“The icing on the cake was when I placed third on the first day of racing in Singapore and moved into fourth overall but then everything went south and I had to pull out midway through Sunday’s race due to an elbow to the head which later on led to a late concussion.

“So, I was happy to finish eighth in the series but not satisfied to finish the way I had to.”

That is just adding even more fuel to fire for Wilde as his meteoric rise shows little sign of letting up.