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Bring on the Smack Talk....

Jan-and-Lionel.jpg

By Susan Lacke (triathlete.com)

My favorite part of last year’s Collins Cup was not seeing Taylor Knibb annihilate the competition on a road bike. It wasn’t Lionel Sanders’ thrilling comeback win after a mid-race bike crash. No, my favorite part of the Collins Cup was in the week leading up to the race, when world champ Jan Frodeno playfully threw a life raft into competitor Sam Long’s lane during a shakeout swim. It was hilarious, and I loved everything about it.

Smack talk is what makes the sports world go ‘round. If it wasn’t for Paula Newby-Fraser and Erin Baker’s vocal rivalry, we’d still think it was impossible for women to run the Ironman marathon without stopping. Chris “Macca” McCormack’s jawing spurred athletes like Craig “Crowie” Alexander to work harder to build a legacy that eclipsed Macca’s. Today, Sam Long and Lionel Sanders talk a big game and back it up with big performances. (They also hug it out at the finish line and make it a point to give each other kudos in post-race interviews. That’s what we do in triathlon.) ...

After my first-ever endurance race—a local 5K, which seemed big and scary at the time—I proudly texted my best friend, Carlos. He was an Ironman triathlete who had inspired me to take up running, and I knew he’d be proud of my accomplishment. A few seconds after firing off my finishing time in a text, my phone buzzed with a reply:

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