Notable Women in Triathlon History

By Khem Suthiwan

In honor of International Women’s Day, there are a few fierce ladies in the world of swim bike run who are legends not only amongst women, but in the company of all triathletes. Cheers to all you ladies making waves and pushing the boundaries of badassery!


Daniela Ryf – aka Angry Bird

This Swiss Miss is one of three women in history to win Kona more than three times in a row, with four Kona titles. She was also the first female triathlete and first Swiss woman nominated for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Award. Daniela currently holds the fastest women’s finish time at the IRONMAN World Championships (2018) at 8:26:16, and fastest female 70.3 finish time of 3:57:47 at IRONMAN 70.3 Gdynia.


Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae

Aussie transplant turned Boulder resident, Rinny is not only a supermom, but she is also a three-time IRONMAN World Champion, has the fastest female Kona run split at 2:50:26, and many more wins (most likely more than hubby Timothy O’Donnell) on her resume. Basically, she can qualify for Boston in her sleep and chase after little Izzy without breaking a sweat!


Paula Newby-Fraser – The Queen of Kona

Last, but certainly not least is a woman who is one of the most gracious athletes I have had the pleasure of meeting and got to volunteer alongside at a service project in Kona last October. There is a reason why they call her “The Queen of Kona.” She’s a 8-time IRONMAN World Champion, has 24 IRONMAN race victories between 1986-2002, was inducted into the IRONMAN Hall of Fame (1996) and USA Triathlon Hall of Fame (2010), and in 1999 won Triathlete Magazine’s Greatest Triathlete in History title. Although her racing days are behind her, Paula is still involved with the sport with coaching celebrities such as Hines Ward and Apolo Anton Ohno as well as working in coaching development with IRONMAN. Paula, thank you for paving the way and continuing being such a integral part of triathlon!