Jan Frodeno is the only athlete in history who has managed to win an Olympic triathlon gold medal (Beijing 2008) and an Ironman World Championship (Kona 2015). He was born in the German city of Cologne in 1981 and he now spends the year training in three different cities: Saarbrücken (Germany), Noosa (Australia) and Girona. Here he has found peace, tranquility, quality of life and the best conditions for his demanding training. A sporting legend who feels comfortable among the waters of the Costa Brava, the sandy roads of the Green Ways and the highways of the Gavarres. His extrovert personality and his permanent smile have also taken root among the stones of Girona’s Old Quarter. A legend in our midst.
When did you start your relationship with Girona? Why did you choose our city?
I came here 3 years ago and fell in love with the city. There are many reasons, but the quality of life, the people who know how to enjoy life and the perfect training conditions were some of the main reasons.
How much time a year do you spend in Girona?
I am here permanently for 6 months and come by my house a few times in the winter to see some friends and go for a coffee.
We know that many cyclists have chosen the province to train and some of them are established in the city. What have you found here, different from other places in the world, to train?
The balance of life as a professional athlete and a private person is really amazing. You have a few nice shops, some good restaurants, friendly neighbours as well as a 50m pool, the “Vies Braves”, “Vies Verdes” and some of the best cycling in the world. It´s easy to see why Girona is amazing from my perspective.
Is there any special place in the zone, where you take all the people that come from abroad to visit you?
The Old Quarter of course has a lot to offer because of the good vibe, but I like to show my friends the hills behind the city, up to Els Angels. A great run with some spectacular views…
I guess that elite athletes like you must have strict control on their diet, so can you enjoy the cuisine of Girona?
The cuisine is not so much the problem. The good wine from the area is where I need to go easy…
Which is your favourite dish here?
My friends call me Mr tortilla patatas… Maybe not the most Catalan dish but I love it.
Will your relationship with the city continue when you finish your career?
Once I retire I hope to live and raise my children here.
You are a part of history in being the only person who has won a gold medal at the Olympic Games in triathlon and an Ironman World Championship. How does it feel?
This is a statistic. Of course it´s great, but to me they are two separate moments of a lot of joy!
Do you know your limit?
It changes all the time, but most days I try to find it.
When you do an Ironman: 4km swim, 180km bike and 42km running, do you enjoy it or suffer?
Well, as always in life, this is a mixture! Some moments you feel really good, others not at all. The trick is to make yourself believe everyone else is suffering more.
In eight hours of physical exercise to the limit, does the mind also have an influence? Can you train this?
I would say the mind plays the biggest role in regards to winning. Everyone is fit, but the inner dialogue changes everything. This takes a lot of practice.
Is being an Ironman also an attitude?
A way of life…
What are your next challenges?
Many remain, but this year, I would like to start a world record attempt and depending on the conditions try to beat the magic 8h mark in Hawaii.