At the start of 201, it was ridiculous to think that Paula Findlay would end the season without a World Championship podium spot. After the triple gold, this was the obvious question: can anyone stop Findlay? And something happened, it was an injury that interrupted her unstoppable march towards the title of World Champion.
In Sydney, the opening event of the 2011 season, all eyes were on the Australian Emmas, Emma Moffatt and Emma Snowsill. But it was finally Findlay who seized the opportunity and sprinted past Barbara Riveros Diaz and won the opening gold.
Eight weeks later, the series headed to Madrid, with many hoping that the anomalies that had occurred in Sydney would normalize and that Moffatt and Snowsill would resume their regular podium places. However, Findlay gave us what would be his best and most complete performance to date.
In Madrid, Paula left the water in fifth place, four seconds behind first, and then rode among the leaders along the tough bike course, even leading the pack on several occasions. In the pedestrian stage, the athlete took the lead. Helen Jenkins was the only one who was with her for longer but she could not keep up with the pace imposed by the Canadian athlete, who accelerated in the final meters and crossed the finish line in first place.
“Madrid was my best race of the year,” said Findlay in Beijing, reflecting on his season. “I swam wonderfully, I felt fabulous on the bike and I ran my heart out, it was the best of my season so far. It leaves me with very good memories and now it is my favorite race, my favorite circuit.”
And Findlay headed to Kitzbuehel as the rising star of triathlon. Because of the youthful humility that characterizes her, and for showing that she has the ability to compete in the big leagues, all eyes were now on her.