In a recent video on his YouTube channel, Lionel hinted that he would like to do Ultraman… I thought it would be interesting to dive into that idea in more detail.
I have no doubt that he could win, as he clearly has superior talent on both the bike and run. The big questions in my mind would be:
- His 70.3 performances are quite consistent, but as the distance increases, the consistency seems to go down. Would that mean more potential for mistakes in Ultraman?
- Nutrition seems to be a challenge yet to be fully solved for him. I think this is less of an issue on day 1, but more important on days 2 and 3.
- Given that his livelihood depends on triathlon, and there is no prize money in Ultraman, essentially the long recovery time after Ultraman would mean he can do less racing afterwards, and therefore limit his earning potential. UM Hawaii is well placed in the season (November) to be the last race, but he would have to qualify. In his video he says that Bob Babbitt could probably get him in, but there is no precedent for that. All other high profile athletes have had to qualify (Dede Griesbauer, Chris “Big Sexy” McDonald), and from even higher profile mainstream sports, ex pro baseball player Eric Byrnes, could not get invited to the World Championships on fame alone. They all had to qualify if they wanted to race.
- With that in mind, he should definitely wait for me to retire from Ultraman, and when he is nearing retirement from Ironman racing, he can race Ultraman without having to care about its impact other races.