Collins Cup Press Conference: emotional Sam Long takes the stage to criticize trash talk 

Sam Laidlow on the left and next to him Sam Long. (Picture: Triathlon Today)

The Collins Cup press conference that was a little bit different than we are used to within the sports world; athletes were asked many more personal questions in stead of race tactics. What is your favorite movie, what would you be if you weren’t a triathlete, and which triathlete on your team can dance the worst? But, all changed completely and got a much heavier tone when Sam Long came to the floor and emotionally apologized for his own behavior, criticized Sam Laidlow and called for each other to move the sport forward.

Long did so after a video surfaced yesterday – posted by the PTO itself – in which Sam Long angrily walks away from Laidlow and Lionel Sanders, slams a door and screams a bit. What exactly transpired between the two Sam’s is unclear, but at least some very nasty things were allegedly said. “I’ve started trash talk myself against Lionel Sanders and Jan Frodeno. I was young at that time, only 23, and I regret those decisions. It put me in this role where I don’t want to be. The last months I’ve worked hard to change my imago, but this video circulation puts me back in this place. I’ve reached my breaking point. My new slogan is building each other and the sport, but Sam Laidlow doesn’t have any respect for anyone here in the room.”

After Long’s speech of course it was Laidlow’s turn to react. “I think it’s wrong to say I don’t have respect, since I have respect for everyone. I’m the athlete who has proved the least yet. Sam has been trash talking in the past, so maybe I’ve picked the wrong person. I’m sorry for that and I hope we can have a real race tomorrow.”

As the commentator then asked Long if that’s possible, the answer was clear. “We’re schoolyard boys; we will fight it out tomorrow and then become friends.” The third athlete to compete in that race – Lionel Sanders, that is – watched it all. “I’m just watching the show,” he said about that with a laugh and a wink. 

Other than that, there was little talk about the race itself during the press conference, but it did appear that Magnus Ditlev is most proud of his victory at Challenge Roth, Flora Duffy actually finds herself quite boring and would have preferred to go to Law School if she weren’t a triathlete (“but I’m not smart enough for that”), Holly Lawrence recently bungee-jumped three times, Kristian Blummenfelt’s favorite series is Dexter, Daniela Ryf is glad she didn’t become a professional skier (‘Way too dangerous to go down at 140 kilometers per hour’) and Hayden Wilde used to play on a soccer team, but was very bad at it, according to himself..

Here you’ll find all the race that will take place tomorrow. Here you’ll find how to watch the Collins Cup live.

You see (a part) of yesterday’s incident between Long and Laidlow at the end of this video (start from 10:55)