Four-time world champion triathlete Leanda Cave has confirmed her retirement from competition after a successful an 18-year career. She was the first female triathlete in the history of the sport to win both the IRONMAN Triathlon and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in the same year.
Ahead of leaving a life of professional racing, the athlete has already established a coaching company and grown the. women’s ambassadorship program, Team LC. She has also expanded into public speaking, writing a book and product testing/design in conjunction with her sponsors.
Team LC is a mentor program created to empower women through triathlon by giving an opportunity to women of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds to become an influencer of living a healthy lifestyle in each of their respective communities. Its ultimate goal is to encourage women to participate in triathlons as well as build and grow a strong community of physically active women.
“It comes with great emotion to publicly announce my retirement from professional triathlon racing,” said Leanda Cave. “I made the decision during the Island House Triathlon in Nassau late last year. As I crossed the finish line, I was a grovelling mess for I knew this would be the last time. Clearly distressed, I felt it was necessary to inform the race organizers and fellow athletes who were very respectful of my decision.
“I’ve had a long career as a professional female triathlete. Now that I can sit back and reflect on my achievements, I appreciate all the opportunities I had and I’m so grateful to everyone who helped me along the way: family, friends, sponsors, fans, and spectators. I should also make a special note to thank the ITU, IRONMAN and British Triathlon for all your support over the years.
“I am beyond blessed to be walking away from a career in this sport I love so much with 4 World Titles. Now I’ve had the time and energy to think, I realize how lucky I am. Most athletes strive to make that happen once. Some athletes get so close but fall short. While I was racing and training day in and day out, I never really appreciated these epic moments that shaped me.
“If you are asking why I choose to retire now, the answer is simple: it’s time. During my 18-year racing career, I have had a lot of success and equally as many failures. However, this 40-year-old body can no longer do what it found so easy in its 20s and early 30s. For some, this would be no reason to stop. For me, I was left with no choice.
“The need to achieve great things is part of my DNA and as this slowly slipped away, so did my love for the sport. It became a chore to train, and I found it harder and harder to motivate myself to race. I know my body so well. I know what it feels like to be in the sort of shape to win big. I couldn’t get there anymore, so the enjoyment was gone. I still want to achieve big and I am going to make that happen in a different way.
“As an athlete, I’ve always expressed that our bodies have a use by date for optimal performance. I could feel that date looming a couple of years ago when I physically struggled to be competitive with my rivals despite training as hard as I have ever done. So, I put my exit strategy in place and began to build my coaching company and grow Team LC with my manager, Lou Cantin. Both have been highly successful.
“Now I have expanded into public speaking, writing a book, and product testing/design in conjunction with my sponsors: Santini, KASK and Salming. I’m also thrilled to be part of the Ventum bike brand alongside my other half, Diaa Nour. I am currently test riding their new road bike as well as collaborating with the design team of the Ventum One to improve what is already an outstanding triathlon bike.
“As a final note, for those young female triathletes out there who may feel there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Look up, get up, and don’t ever give up. Remember, I was there too. Triathlon has shaped me into a strong, independent woman and I believe this sport can help so many, young and old.”
Leanda Cave has been competing in triathlons since 1994. She began her triathlon career at the Olympic distance and gradually made her way to dominating long course triathlon. In 2001, Leanda became European Under-23 champion. A year later she would break through at the international level as she won the silver medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. She won another silver medal at the European Championships, then had greater success when she took the gold and the World title in Cancun, Mexico, in November 2002.
In 2002, she was nominated for the Welsh Sports Personality of the Year Award, a feat that she repeated in 2012. In 2012, Leanda won both the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships and IRONMAN World Championships. Cave is the first female triathlete in history to accomplish both feats in a single year. That same year Leanda was also named as one of the ‘World’s Fittest Women’ by CNN. This is quite a recognition as 2012 was also an Olympic year.