What inspired him to become a professional triathlete, what motivates him to go all out in training every day, and could he become the best triathlete in the world? In a documentary by the Professional Triathletes Organization, Sam Long talks about his dreams, the journey, setbacks, career highs, and the rivalry with Lionel Sanders.
“It were definitely Sebastian Kienle, Jan Frodeno and Lionel Sanders who set the example of what to do”, he says about the idols that got him into top-level triathlon. But when Long finally made his appearance, people didn’t really know what to think of him. “The general opinion was that I was a clown… So I had to prove to that whole outstanding triathlon world that I was the real deal. And then I heard from pretty much everyone more established that I was doing everything wrong. But I had such a belief in myself that I just kept doing what I believe is right, even if other people told me it’s wrong.”
That confidence, has sometimes been misjudged, Long realizes. “My passion got mistaken for cockiness, but it’s who I am, I guess. I’m not going to lie… I do have a braggadocios side to me, but it’s usually in fun and good-hearted spirit. I remember everything everyone says, and I use it as my little piggyback of storage. When things get hard, or I get unmotivated, or when I go into a race week, I remember what those athletes said. I remember who said it, and what they said. I remember that when I’m racing them, it helps me go deeper to prove myself to them.”
Tomorrow we will see Long debut at his first Ironman World Championship, this year taking place in St. George.