He has¬†put in the time and he is certainly reaping the rewards.¬†In 2010 Paul Ambrose reached one of his personal goals by winning¬†Ironman Louisville.
FLMSTri: Paul, where did you grow up?
PA: I am from Sydney, Australia
FLMSTri: What sports did you play as a youth?
PA: I grew up playing soccer in the winter months and I played cricket in the summer months. These are big community sports. After seven years playing soccer and cricket, I started swimming and I made the transition to triathlon.
FLMSTri: How were you introduced to triathlon?
PA:In Australia there was a televised triathlon series; it was a grand prix series made up of short races. I used to follow the series. Back in the 90's triathlon was huge in Australia, maybe bigger than any other country. The races attracted the biggest names in he sport. Guys like Macca and Matty Reed raced those races.
FLMSTri: What was the first triathlon you raced?
PA: Where I grew up there was a sprint series, a school friend and I did it to see if we enjoyed it or not.
FLMSTri: What was your race gear like then, compared to your gear today?
PA: My first bike was a secondhand old steel frame rode bike that frame mounted shifter and the pedals where the cage style that you could put you tennis shoe on. It wasn't until recently that I started getting into more technical gear; I used to ride bikes of lesser value for a long time. I really never thought about the advantages of better gear, I thought it was about training hare and racing hard. When you get into a more competitive level, it looks like there are a few more things to make a priority.
FLMSTri: When you decide to take triathlon to a professional level?
PA: When I first started doing triathlon I hadn't done an Olympics distance; I started training with a semi-pro training group. We trained two times a day everyday, which was hard to believe because I hadn't really done anything in the sport. My coach came up to me and told that within a year you will be ready to race an Olympic distance, which was the Australian Championships, and you will win it. At first I didn't believe him; I thought he was full of shit. He turned out to be right. A year later I raced the race and I won it. With that win it proved to me I could go pro and compete. By winning that race it made me feel like I was on top¬†of the world. I also thought if nobody could beat me, as an age grouper so the next step was to turn pro.
FLMSTri: When did you decide to start racing the half or 70.3 distances?
PA: About three or four years ago I did my first one. I saw myself getting stronger on the bike and I wanted to get our draft legal races. 70.3 give me a chance to use my bike strength. For my first half I decided to do it for training, I didn't really train much I kind of just went out and did. I had a good result in that half, which took place in Tasmania. One of the things I really like is the race seems more honest.
FLMSTri: looking back on your career what is your proudest moment so far?
PA:There are two. First was when I was leading off the bike in the Australian Championships. The next would be when I won my first Ironman, IM Louisville 2010, I pretty much raced it the same way; leading off the bike.
FLMSTri: Going forward what goal do you hope to attain before you call it a career?
PA: I didn't come into this sport to be just a god athlete; I want to be a great athlete. In this sport there are only some many races that allow that. One of them obviously is Kona but the half Ironman series is really starting to get there. If I could get on the podium or win Kona one day, that would send me into my retirement a very happy man. Plus to top it off I have a lot of pressure from the area I live. All the Ironman Champions are from my area. I guess I am the next one to try and get those lei.
FLMSTri: What is youth take on Macca switching gears to chase the Olympics dream?
PA:I think anything is possible. Macca has done everything in his career now. McCormack has accomplished all the major races and ticked off every box any triathlete would dream of having. I guess the Olympics are the only boxes Chris hasn't ticked off yet. Macca should have been in the Olympics by now, especially when he was racing ITU. If he does get into the Olympics, it would be the right thing for the sport and for him to make it.
It's going to be hard, he isn't getting any younger and the guy's races are fast. Coming from racing Ironman it's hard to make the transition, as the racing style is different. The sport as a whole is getting faster. If anyone can do it, Chris can do it. When Macca sets his mind to and is focused he is the most talented guy in the sport. He has been proving people wrong his whole career. I think people realize that he's not just a hard worker and smart guy but that is a super talented man.
FLMSTri: Where will we see you racing this year?
PA:I am targeting the most competitive races early this year. I was just taking to one of my sponsors, Blue Seventy, that I will be racing California 70.3, the US Championship Texas and Ironman St. George. I wanted to compete against the most talented fields early in the year. I feel it's the best way to work on progression to have a successful season. Competing with the best fields you get to see how good you are early enough to make changes as the season goes on. After these three races I will go back to the drawing board to see where I will be this season. If I have enough points I will b in Kona.
FLMSTri: What is your take on the WTC pro point system?
PA: I think it is a bit unfair as it favors two options. The top 15 guys are already qualified and the people who tend to race a lot Ironman races. The people who have different priorities like racing an Ironman early and do Kona. The system isn't set up for that. It doesn't give athletes the right amount of time they need to become developed in the sport. If it turns out that we need to race 3 or more Ironman's to qualify for Kona, it will not allow athletes to race to their full potential. It is good that there is a system in place but it may need to be re-looked at.
FLMSTri: What does your family think about you being a pro triathlete?
PA: They don't really know much about the sport. They don't really know what I am doing half the time but they are very supportive. They just want me to be happy and enjoy myself.
FLMSTri: In closing, if there were one thing you wanted people to know about you what would it be?
PA: I am not sure, I am a pretty quite person, and I like to fly under the radar. I am a pretty private guy. I will say this, I like the sport I really enjoy the racing. I don't like to mix business and pleasure; there is a time for both.