Sam Laidlow – Presentation
After completing my first triathlon at the age of 4, I decided not to look back. It is with huge support that I am able to swim, bike and run nearly every day. I will be perfectly honest and say that I have always wanted to become a Great Athlete.
From the early age of 10, and after already sharing many sleepless nights watching Kona, becoming the Ironman World Champion has always been my dream. I have already had great experiences in my short career to date, including training for 3 years at altitude, racing for France, winning a European cup and then in 2017 winning my first Ironman-distance Triathlon at 18 years old.
I hope in order to get your attention that I don’t need to provide my whole race summary to date? I would rather underline the values of what it actually means to me to be a professional triathlete and showcase the highs but also the lows that we encounter.
My Story So Far
In 2001 my parents decided to move from the UK to the South of France in order to set up a Triathlon Training Business – Sancture Sportifs. I am generally so happy to have been brought up in these conditions, not only did it mean I was naturally bilingual, but it also put me right in the middle of an evolving business led by my own parents.
I grew up meeting athletes from all over the world, discovering new cultures, making friends, and most of all being able to ride my bike on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the specific education available in the area wasn’t that great, so at the age of just 13 I decided to leave my home in Amelie for the National Altitude Training Centre in Font Romeu where I would be full board ( a two hour journey from my home).
3 years later I was selected to train alongside the French Team in Montpellier, and it was here that alongside training in the “Pôle”I finished my Baccalaureate. So come 17, I had finished school with some great results (top 1% of the school ) but it was now time to focus on my real dream: Triathlon.
Lots of people expected me to “go-on” to some kind of study as 99% of people do in France, so I guess it came as a shock ( for some) when I said that I needed to leave the National Training base in Montpellier where I had worked so hard to get in, and to stop studying ( in the traditional way).
I am fully aware that education plays a huge part in our society, but I’m also aware that 3 out of 4 French citizens regret going on to further studies after their Baccalaureate (equivalent to A-levels in the UK), and at my age I have a life of potential “learning” ahead of me.
I felt that I was “missing something” from my life, I went to the national coach and told him I needed to go my own separate way.
I spent 6 months back at home catching up a lot of family time (remember I had now “missed” 6 years of this during my childhood), and I immediately asked my dad to coach me. A few months down the line and I became the youngest ever person to win an Ironman Distance triathlon.
Mixed opinions came from this win (you can see a pattern forming), including people telling me it was too early to be racing that distance, that I would burn out, that I had many years ahead of me to do ironman etc etc. but I needed to finally follow my heart and follow my dream.
Since 2014 I have been fortunate to have Poissy Triathlon by my side. It is a club that perfectly reflects the values that I support and that has helped me grow as an athlete. After many starts in the French Grand Prix and many podiums shared in the team, it is with passion and enthusiasm that Poissy will continue to support me in my ultimate project of going long.
I believe in achieving greatness, and what better way to do so than to create your own path, far from the standard route I know. I guess it is a risk, but what is life without risk? I have seen the way my parents built their lifestyle and their business against adversity and it has made me believe that dreams are possible, both in my project as an athlete but most of all as a human being.