Gustav Iden Targets Next Big Win: And It’s Not What Some Expect

Gustav Iden has his sole focus on winning one race – and it’s not Kona.

The Ironman World Champion is ready to set aside his ambitions to make it back-to-back wins on the Big Island to have a real crack at Olympic glory.

Project Paris 2024 is already in full swing for Iden and Norwegian teammate Kristian Blummenfelt, who won the gold in Tokyo. At only 26, there is plenty of time for Iden to go back to long course again, but given his recent successes and his comparative lack of glory in the short distances of the sport it does raise the question as to why, and whether he can even do it.

Iden is insistent he can succeed, despite admitting he is behind the curve on his progress. In the first Short Chute Show Podcast: Face-To-Face for Super League Triathlon, he said: “Right now I feel like it’s two different kinds of confidence. In the moment my performance, I’m not that confident. Where I’m at at the moment I’m not where I want to be in Paris, but my self-belief that I would do well in Paris, that’s high. And I have this, it’s hard to explain, but I have this inner feeling that Paris will be my race.

Arena Games Triathlon, London, Uk, 2023

“It will all come together. So right now, I feel like I’m a bit behind the curve. I’m behind the qualifying schedule, I’m behind my performance at the moment, but I do have this strong belief inside me that Paris will be good.”

Iden could be forgiven for enjoying the moment a little after his Ironman World Championship victory in October. Instead, he is dismissive of even talking about it as he targets new highs in the sport.

“Now I feel it’s been a long time since October,” reflected Iden. “I feel like athletes live like almost day to day and people still come up to me and say, ‘congrats, Gustav’. What for? For winning Kona? I think that’s so dumb. I’m onto new stuff now. And you might say the momentum is good, but I only see the last few sessions and I’m really more like a day to day guy.”

The Paris 2024 project is, of course, also being driven by Blummenfelt and the pair’s coach Aleksander Olav Bu. It is just the latest adventure in the relationship of Blummenfelt and Iden, which the latter describes in great detail in the interview, blossoming from a professional friendship to an almost attachment to drive success.

“I think we met like 2008 maybe, but we didn’t get to know each other really until 2010, 2011. And at the start he was a bit older, and I wouldn’t say scary, but was a bit different than me,” recalled Iden. “I’m more of a social guy. He’s grown more social, but back then he was a bit weird in a way.

Rbc Superleague Jersey 26 09 19 Head 2 Head Experience V's Youth Kristen Blumenfelt Gustav Iden014

“He was really all in from triathlon since day one, and I have been more, I want to say normal, and I kind of grown into the professional athlete mindset more than him, but he has been leading the way for the team, basically how to be a 24 hour athlete. He would take choices in the evening, like eating this piece of bread because it’s good carbs. So at a training session I was just eating because I wanted the food, but he’d look to all the choices all the time to become the best at it he could be. So that’s something that’s really been inspiring for me.

“It’s hard to describe, but I don’t know. We are like extremely good training partners, and I think that’s like the base foundation of the friendship. I think if I was a bad athlete and didn’t bring him anything and he didn’t bring me anything, I don’t think we necessarily would be friends as we are today.

“So it’s more like it, I wouldn’t say a professional friendship, but it’s definitely that’s where it started. Like we both can gain something from this, but it’s good to have someone by your side when you’re doing well. But we are friends also outside, but it starts like I think if we didn’t bring each other success, I don’t think this friendship would work either.

Rbc Superleague Jersey 26 09 19 Head 2 Head Experience V's Youth Kristen Blumenfelt Gustav Iden003

“I think to have someone as dedicated as you, it’s just refreshing, you know, to have someone who’s willing to do the same work as you do every single day. And it’s not like we are having this insanely deep conversations every day, but it’s more like to have someone by your side that’s willing to do the work.

“Kristian is insanely competition driven. He is like getting mad if he loses some card games, you know, and he wants someone by his side that he can beat in training or at least compete against. I don’t care too much about that. I would say I’m not your typical world champion.”

He added: “Kristian is winning, and his thing is winning. So he needs someone in training that he can beat. He says sometimes I’m not a punchable face. He wants a more punchable face in training, like a real douchebag that can say to him ‘Oh, you’re so bad, you’re swimming so ugly, you’re such a bad athlete’. He wants someone like, ‘I’m going to I’m going to punch this guy in the face’. Sometimes I think he wishes that I was more like, ‘I’m going to kill this guy’, you know? So that’s what I bring – being a semi punchable guy.”

newsletter-close newsletter-close newsletter