She’s tall and always ready to "go to war" on a triathlon course, which is why Caroline Steffen’s fellow teamTBB members gave her the moniker "Xena the Warrior Princess." But despite her imposing stature – she's 5'10"- the professional triathlete is one of the friendliest on the circuit, and always spends plenty of time with her fans posing for photos, answering questions and signing autographs.
Xena grew up in a small village in Switzerland, surrounded by mountains and a lake, and she’s been tackling land and water ever since as a champion in her field. Before hitting the triathlon circuit, she spent two years as a member of the Swiss national cycling team, and ten years as a member of the Swiss junior swimming team. "Xena," as her friends at Cervélo affectionately know her, has been a member of teamTBB since 2010 and her favorite bike is the Cervélo P5. What’s her expert advice for the average cyclist? The very Xena-like response, "If you’re hurting, attack!"
Xena began her sporting life as a swimmer, but unlike most professional swimmers, she didn’t have a formal coach until she was 12 and only joined a weekly swim club so she could leave a religious studies class fifteen minutes early. Xena proved to be a natural in the pool, and within two years made the Swiss national junior team before stepping up to the Swiss national senior team at the age of 16.
She displayed this propensity for learning quickly yet again when she decided to start competing as a cyclist as part of the now-disbanded Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team, a professional women’s team that was sponsored by Cervelo. Xena dominates on the bike as cycling is her forte, and she was also a member of her homeland’s national cycling squad before being drawn to triathlons.
In 2009, prompted by her partner and now teamTBB athlete, Australian pro triathlete David Dellow, Xena decided to start competing in triathlons professionally so she moved to Australia and began training alongside Dellow at Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast. Despite having only recently turned pro, Xena gave it her all and took fourth place the 2009 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida. A few months later in February 2010, she won her first major race, the Ironman 70.3 in Geelong, before finishing the year by winning the 2010 International Triathlon Union Long Distance Triathlon World Championships, and placing second at the 2010 Ironman World Championship.
2011 was a spectacular year for Xena, whose personal motto is "All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them," and she won practically every race she entered, becoming the Ironman European Champion and the Ironman Australia Champion. She has followed this up in 2012, so far becoming the International Triathlon Union Long Course World Champion, the Ironman Asia-Pacific Champion and the Ironman European Champion. And as if that wasn’t enough, Xena has also won this year’s Ironman 70.3 Philippines, the Ko Samui Triathlon. Up next, she’s preparing for the 2012 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, in October.