Thor Bendix is young, strong and ready for the future. The youngster that started his passion for triathlon when he was 15 years old have learned to cope with pain and setbacks. Now he can call himself a pro triathlete with many podium titles added to his resume, and more to come in the future.
Read the interview we did with SAYSKY athlete Thor below and prepare yourself to be wowed. The 20-year-old Danish guy is definitely on the hunt and we are excited for 2020 with him on the team.
To the audience that may not know you, could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about why you started doing triathlon?
I am a pro/elite triathlete with big future dreams. I have always been inspired by triathlon and my dad has been doing the sport, when he was younger. Therefore, sports has always been a big part of my family and I started because I wanted to be great too.
When you started your passion for triathlon back in 2015, as a 15-year-old youngster, did you ever imagine this sport would be such a big part of your life today?
Actually yes. I have always been one of the dedicated and hardworking people in whatever life brings. My dreams are something that I picture everyday and the passion just grows with it. Even when the alarm goes off at 5 in the morning and it's raining outside.
Your whole family is dedicated and devoted to sports, and even your little sister, Sif, is doing pro triathlon. Could you let us in on how it is to be in a competitive family/environment all the time?
I think it is really great that we all have the same passion. It just makes everything much more easy, that we all are passionate of triathlon and whatever the sport brings.
Sort of building on this, what do you think you and your sister have that most other siblings might not have together?
We have a unique friendship. The fact that we can train together every day is the key to evolving as an athlete, as we always have a good time together when we are training and are at different races. We always push each other to the next level and to have a training buddy, who always gets you out of the door, is just great!
Have you made some sacrifices or given up on something with your sport in relation to being young and a teenager? Do you see any downsides to this, e.g. friends in school, going out on weekends etc.?
Many people think that I sacrifice a lot, but I don’t think so. The people I see on daily basis are my training-friends and we always have a good time together as we are all “the same” kind of people, who makes the same “sacrifices”. These are the people that I have chosen to surround myself with and therefore these becomes your closest friends/family, because you spent so much time together.
Do you think that people see you as too serious as an athlete compared to your age? And what are your general view on this being-serious-as-a-teenager approach?
If you see the progression of the triathlon sport and see guys like Alistair Brownlee, who is probably the greatest of all time, you just have to be very serious and dedicated if you want to reach the top in this sport. No miracles. Just hard work! You have to work for the podium and for the results. You have to be dedicated to become great, but I don't see this as a limitation. For now, I will work hard to reach that glimpse of success that I have admired for years.
You have had your fair share of injuries over the years. Have you ever thought of giving up? And how do you come back mentally from these periods?
I see every setback as an opportunity for a comeback. Back in 2017 when I broke my collarbone, I came back even stronger and beat one of the world’s best “Patrik Nilsson”. I know for sure that this lower back injury I had in the early summer has made me even stronger! So, the lesson here is not always to dwell on your past - focus on the future and that great things will happen to you.
What are goals for 2019 and 2020?
The rest of 2019 I will focus on my half ironman distance debut at Challenge Mallorca and Ironman 70.3 Bahrain. I don’t have a specific goal for these races. The plan is just to gain some experience on the new distance. In 2020, I want to be in the mix for the Danish national title and a Challenge/Ironman 70.3 pro podium. But on the other side, I’m still very young, so the main thing is just to keep on evolving all the time.
Recently you have moved from the sprint distance to the half distance. Are there any thoughts behind this?
I haven't moved just yet. But I think the half distance is a distance where I can become better in the future. I actually think this is here I can win more. So, next year I will focus on a mix between sprint distances and the half distance. Then I will sit down with my coach and have a talk where I can evolve even more and what I should focus on in the future. I'm really looking forward to this transition!
Do you have any advice for any young athletes out there struggling or thinking of starting to do triathlon or athletics?
First of all find a club which fits you and your personality. Otherwise just have fun and don’t focus on the results, but the progress! The results will come in the end if you keep on going and you have your dreams in sight.
If you want to keep track with Thor, you can follow him here on: Instagram & Strava. But we warn you, these training sessions are not for everyone!