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How did this ITU and Ironman champion earn the nickname “Xena”? Beyond her numerous triathlon triumphs, the statuesque Swiss star is known for “going to war” on the course — as any warrior princess would.

A NATURAL TRIATHLETE

Steffen grew up in Spiez, Switzerland, a postcard-ready town where mountains meet lake. Maybe that’s why she took so readily to triathlon: Before hitting the pro triathlon circuit in 2010, Steffen spent two years on the Swiss national cycling team and 10 years on the Swiss junior swimming team.

She didn’t waste any time excelling in her new sport, with a victory at the 2010 ITU Long Course World Championships in 2010 (and again in 2012). She also rattled off a stunning string of wins in Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races, including the Asia-Pacific Championships in 2012 and 2014, European Championships in 2011 and 2012, and Australia Championships in 2011. She currently resides in Mooloolaba, Australia.

AN AMBASSADOR FOR TRI

Despite her imposing 5’10″ stature and impressive palmares, Steffen is one of the friendliest pros on the Ironman circuit. She always spends plenty of time with her fans posing for photos, answering questions and signing autographs.

She’s personable, but equally tough. When she collided with an errant spectator at more than 40 km/h during the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines, she jumped back on her Cervelo P5, and despite suffering various injuries finished with a winning time of 4:23:54 — eight minutes faster than in 2014.

Fans are also drawn to her custom-painted Cervélo P5. She sketched the idea for the basic design on a cocktail napkin, which she photographed and emailed to Cervélo’s graphic designer.

Website: http://www.xenasport.com/

Twitter: @Caroline_Xena

Instagram: @Caroline_Xena

Carolin Steffen