Thanks to their gutsy performances in Samorin, Slovakia for the Collins Cup, the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) has awarded Lionel Sanders and Holly Lawrence the Julie Moss Award.
Julie Moss helped put the sport of triathlon on the map in 1982 when she collapsed near the finish line of the Ironman World Championship and crawled across the line. (She was passed by Kathleen McCartney with a few meters to go.)
Here’s how the PTO described the decision on giving Sanders the award:
Canadian Lionel Sanders, the spiritual leader of Team Internationals, arrived at the event having finished second at Ironman Copenhagen only six days before. However, nothing was going to stop him leaving his body and soul on the racecourse for the PTO’s flagship event. Sanders not only competed on just six days rest from a full distance race, but he then rose from the pavement after a bike crash to win his match against Europe’s Sebastian Kienle and USA’s Andrew Starykowicz.
Simon Whitfield, Olympic Gold Medal winner and Team Internationals Captain, commented, “There is literally no way to describe Lionel Sanders. You can exhaust your Thesaurus with words like relentless, indomitable, unyielding, driven, inexorable, and never come close to describing what Lionel Sanders is or does. You can only conclude it is beyond the realm of human comprehension. In everything the man does he lives his mantra to have “NO LIMITS.” It was an honour to be his Captain and experience his passion and spirit.“
Team Europe athlete Holly Lawrence and Team International competitor Ellie Salthouse had been in a fierce battle in their match – the two swam side by side for much of the swim, even banging in to one another as neither would give up the lead. Lawrence was in the lead on the bike when she crashed. It took almost five minutes for her bike to be repaired, but she decided to continue, even though she had no chance to win.
“Holly Lawrence’s performance was an inspiration to our team,” said Team Europe captain Natascha Badmann. “We had already lost points in Match No. 1 with the tremendous performance of USA’s Taylor Knibb. If Holly was not able to continue, we would have lost an additional 1-1/2 points. With grit and determination, she battled back to deny both Team USA and Team Internationals 1-1/2 vital points. This did not go unnoticed by the fans and the rest of Team Europe, who were not prepared to see Holly’s effort be in vain.”