Why it matters: South Africa's Henri Schoeman and Australia's Sophie Linn emerged as the 2023 Arena Games Triathlon World Champions in a unique hybrid event combining real-life and esports racing using Zwift.
Setting the pace: The athletes competed at the London Aquatics Centre over three stages of a 200m swim, 4km bike, and 1km run, with the first two stages in the traditional format, while the second stage began with the run and ended with the swim.
What they're saying:
- Henri Schoeman: "I just wanted to come back into racing and sharpen up my body, but I fell in love with this style of racing and I'm so fortunate to compete in front of such an amazing crowd here in London."
- Sophie Linn: "I wasn’t really thinking about the overall, but it feels great. This is next level. You have to make peace with the fact you’re going to be in a lot of pain.”
By the numbers:
- Henri Schoeman finished 2nd in the men's race, securing the overall title.
- Sophie Linn took 3rd place in the women's race, winning the women's crown.
Between transition: The unique format attracted both experienced athletes and new talents, showcasing a variety of notable performances. Norwegian Ironman world champion Gustav Iden and a promising sixth place in the overall series for Hungary's 15-year-old prodigy Fanni Szalai.
- Schoeman, an Olympic bronze medallist and Commonwealth Games champion, overcame years of injury and illness to claim the title.
- Linn's 2nd place finish in the Montreal leg of the Arena Games was crucial in securing her victory.
The bottom line: The 2023 Arena Games Triathlon World Championships demonstrates the rising popularity and potential of hybrid racing events, blending real life and esports to create engaging, high-level competition.
Women's Esports World Championship Overall Standings
- Sophie Linn (AUS) – 659 points
- Gina Sereno (USA) – 589 points
- Rani Skrabanja (NED) – 579 points
Men's Esports World Championship Overall Standings
- Henri Schoeman (RSA) – 713 points
- Nicolo Strada (ITA) – 698 points
- Simon Westermann (SUI) – 610 points