It was with immense satisfaction that I read of Caroline Steffen’s classy 3rd placing at Noosa (Olympic distance) this morning. On top of her victory there in 2010, it’s just another reminder of the versatility and toughness she’s shown so consistently throughout her career.

That she is a great champion is without question. Her legacy as one of our sport’s greats is already established with performances that speak for themselves:

  • 2 x ITU Long Course World Champion
  • 2 x Ironman European Champion
  • 2 x Ironman Asia Pacific Champion
  • 2 x Ironman World Champion Runner Up
  • Challenge Roth Champion and Ironman Titles that number well into double digits.

So the recent suggestion that Xena doesn’t handle the pressure on the big day is not only totally disrespectful, but insultingly misinformed.

It takes a mind-boggling lack of judgement to not realise she has been sublime in Kona. Beaten twice only through circumstance and bad luck. Never out of the top 5. Kona 2014 again confirmed her status as a champion. Carrying huge handicaps into this race she was still giving it everything when heartbroken and behind. Never gave up even when she had every reason to. Her courage and ability to perform on the big stage is beyond question.

I know for sure I’d rather her next to me in the heat battle than any of her critics. She’s not nicknamed Xena for nothing. She’s a real warrior, but people need to understand everyone prepares for battle differently. Even Nitroglycerin is fragile before you light it up. You better believe when that gun goes off Xena morphs into a champion who is all heart. There is no weakness there. Caroline, well done on a super 2014 so far.

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