One is an uber biker, and the other is incredible on the swim and run. They have one thing in common: they are both Danish super talents. We’re talking about Daniel Baekkegard and Magnus Ditlev. While Baekkegard gained popularity after he won Ironman Austria in 2019, Magnus Ditlev, on the other hand, surprised many people when he rode to the front at Challenge Daytona 2020. It took a while before Ditlev was able to not only scare his opponents during the bike part, but also on the run. In 2021 Ditlev ended up winning two big events: Challenge Budva and Ironman 70.3 Portugal. A short documentary by the Professional Triathletes Organisation gives an insight into their special journey to the top.
And that journey wasn’t always easy. “In my head I was going to the Olympics, and then all of a sudden I wasn’t going to the Olympics”, Baekkegard takes us back to one of the most difficult periods in his life. “I gained a lot of weight and I did not do that well at practice anymore. I was sacked from the national team and that was like a kick to the face to be honest.” Baekkegard says there were a few weeks when he didn’t want to leave his room anymore. “I did not even pick up the phone. But I made a promise to myself that no matter what, I will make a decision and I will do it 100 percent. I chose triathlon.”
Ditlev had his setbacks too, dealing with injuries after some big crashes. “When I crashed the second time, I had just signed up for what should have been my first pro event. I felt like every time I tried to bounce back, something new happened. It was really difficult for me, because I hadn’t proven anything outside my own little environment. It was very hard to believe that actually I can be competitive.”