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Sebastian Kienle: "My son is now the center of the universe for our family"

There is no comparison to the life-changing event that is parenthood, and when the experience is applied to the life of a professional athlete, different factors come into play.

There is no comparison to the life-changing event that is parenthood, and when the experience is applied to the life of a professional athlete, different factors come into play. This is certainly the case for triathlete and Orca ambassador Sebastian Kienle, who became a father last July when his son Nino was born. He has had to adapt his daily routine and training to a new family situation.

We chatted with Sebi about this incredible experience, the life changes he has gone through, and how he and his partner are combining an athletic career with raising their son.

The German triathlete with an impressive track record (Ironman World Champion in 2014, Ironman 70.3 World Champion in 2012 and 2013, among other titles) says that his son is the center of his life today. Parenthood presents an added challenge, especially considering that triathlon is a demanding sport requiring a lot of perseverance and training for an athlete to be able to give one hundred percent in three disciplines.

A LIFE-CHANGING EVENT

Talking about his routine, Sebastian Kienle points out that his life "had already changed before" becoming a father, although "of course, it changed a lot after my son was born." He explains that "up until that point, I was the center of our family universe, and right now, Nino is." "Now, it's hard for me to travel, even for a few days. But it's also a great motivator because, in the past, I needed an hour or so to get ready for training, and now, I do it in five minutes," he adds. Kienle credits the arrival of his son with his realization of how essential his family had been in the advancement of his athletic career: "Without the support of the whole family, it would have been very difficult to pursue major victories worldwide."

Kienle adds that "the sport has always been a family operation, and it still is." Balancing training and competition with everyday life at home "is not always easy, and I am no longer number one at home. But my job is great! It's very flexible, and I couldn't ask for anything more!"

A LIFE TIED TO SPORTS

The German triathlete has had a lengthy athletic career, and his life for the past 25 years has been tied to sports. This reality doesn't change overnight. Kienle points out that he plans to continue participating in this world after he retires professionally. Triathlon is his passion and way of life, and he has always shown this in his competitions.

When asked if he would like his son to follow in his footsteps in the exciting world of triathlon, Kienle confesses, "I would be happy if our son loves the sport as much as we do," but adds that he would be fine with any sport he plays, beyond triathlon. "I want to be the same kind of father to Nino as my father was to me. Always supportive and never pressuring. It still makes me laugh when I remember how many times my father tried to hide the pride he felt for me when I did well. I think he didn't want me to get the impression that his love for me was linked to my athletic success," he says appreciatively. "I don't think it's a bad thing to be proud, but it's also not good if you try to pressure your children into doing something," he says.

THE DIFFICULTY OF BEING A PARENT AND AN ATHLETE 

If parenthood is a major adjustment for a professional athlete in terms of their life and daily routine, it can be even more significant for a woman to combine motherhood with her athletic career,  "Even at 37 years old, I think becoming a father has helped me to fully appreciate both the similarities and differences between men and women in parenthood," the German Triathlete said. "The first thought I had after Nino's birth was to thank my mother for everything she had done for me. This experience has given me even more respect for athletes who are mothers."

Sebastian Kienle is proud and enthusiastic about making his debut as a father. While his priorities have changed, he says that he wants to finish out his successful career as a triathlete with the satisfaction of enjoying the good times, of which there are plenty in this sport, with his family.

ABOUT SEBASTIAN KIENLE

Sebastian Kienle is a German professional triathlete and ORCA ambassador. He started competing in triathlon at the age of twelve. Kienle has a great sporting record, having been Ironman World Champion in 2014 and Ironman 70.3 World Champion in 2012 and 2013. He has also stood on the podium at the prestigious Ironman Kona in 2013, 2016 and 2019. Last November he announced his retirement from professional competition at the end of 2023.

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