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Last Sprint for Tokyo Olympics
An Olympic metal is one of the few challenges triathlete Mario Mola has left, and this summer Tokyo will be the opportunity for him to land his first one—more than enough reason to catch up with the triple world champion and chat about goals, sports and, of course, talent.
Mario Mola (Palma de Mallorca, 1990) is one of the best Spanish triathletes in history—his overwhelming track record speaks volumes. This year he finished second at the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Lausanne (Switzerland), after being World Champion three consecutive times in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and winning two more silver and one bronze medal. With the Tokyo Olympics just months away, ending up on the podium is now the main objective for one of our country’s most talented athletes.
Triathlon is one of the most complete sports around, which is why the number of followers will probably never stop growing. How did you start? Were you drawn to it from a young age?
Years ago the most common way one would end up engaging in triathlon was coming from other disciplines—usually swimming or athletics. I did, as, until I was fourteen or fifteen, I dedicated myself exclusively to swimming. Nowadays, more and more young people discover this sport at an early age and, therefore, get to the junior or under-23 categories much better prepared.
What would you say are your strengths?
I’m aware of my limitations and I always work with the aim of trying to improve, not to be better than anyone.
This is, without a doubt, a tremendous season for you. Can you do better?
There is always room for improvement, and I believe that excellence must be pursued always.
Would you say you are at the top of your game right now?
I’m doing well at the moment and, as long as I keep working to get better, I trust I will continue to grow as an athlete every day. So I hope that the best is yet to come.
Could that best part you mention come during Tokyo Olympics? What are your goals for the upcoming Olympic Games?
To be as ready as possible once I’m at the starting line. My hope for Tokyo is to be good enough to be competing for the medals, especially for all the people around me who’ve put their trust in me from the very start.
Who do you think will be your biggest rivals in the Olympics?
When it comes to the Olympic Games, you can’t rule out anyone, because everyone has managed to get there in the first place. Even so, I expect that the ones who’ve been up on the podiums during the most recent World Cups will be, a priori, my main competitors.
“My aim has always been to improve, not to be better than anyone”
How would Mario Mola define talent?
Personally, I see talent as someone’s innate ability or natural gift to perform an activity. In triathlon, I would define it much like that, but it doesn’t directly equate to performance or success. It also involves a lot of work and dedication.
Who is the most successful triathlete you have competed with?
I’ve had the opportunity to share training sessions and competitions with many talented triathletes, but I find it difficult to think of anyone with greater skills for the sport than Javier Gómez Noya.
What has been the most complicated moment for you since you have been part of the sport’s elite?
The toughest time for me was last year, when my partner Carol (also a triathlete) was run over while training on her bike. It was very difficult for me, because I wanted to be with her in those delicate moments, but I couldn’t because I had to follow the competition calendar.
Do you think there is enough investment in this sport?
The truth is that there are large and important Spanish businesses that have discovered triathlon as a good way to get exposure. The association of these companies with athletes, clubs and federations is increasingly frequent. Every investment in triathlon is welcome and, although there’s always room to grow, we can be pleased with the relevance we have gained in recent years.
What are your conclusions about the current situation of triathlon in Spain?
It’s a sport that doesn’t stop growing when it comes to recognition, as well as to the number of people practising it on a regular basis.
For someone who has achieved as many victories as you, what is more important than gold?
Without a doubt, to be in good health and able to share it with the people who’ve relished and suffered with you along the way.