Triathlon star Patrick Lange suffered from self-doubt and motivation problems after his two triumphs in Hawaii.
The two-time Ironman world champion even reported “panic attacks” in his autobiography, which will be published in bookstores this Tuesday. “Two worlds collided: the private Patrick Lange and the world champion,” Lange wrote in the book entitled “Becoming Ironman”.
The 35-year-old Hesse celebrated his first world title in Hawaii in 2017. The following year, Lange again won the most important race over 3.86 kilometers swimming, 180.2 kilometers cycling and 42.2 kilometers running.
He had felt burned out before, but the 2018 win belied that. “It wasn’t a real hole that I fell into after my second world title. But my motivation had definitely decreased as well as my performance.”
Success was followed by ‘darkest moment’
Lange had his body checked and did performance tests. Nothing helped. There were also two personal strokes of fate, including a cancer diagnosis for his mother in January 2019.
In the summer of the same year he competed at the Ironman in Frankfurt and disappointed. In the book, Lange explains how he was doing at the time. “I kindly confirmed how motivating it is to fight for victory at home,” he wrote, referring to the press conference before the race: “Where I spit big noises and make declarations of war on my competitors, while everything inside me wants to go. To the hospital. To my family.”
In the race, Lange had nothing to do with finishing in first place. “Now I’m lurching around aimlessly somewhere,” he said about himself. “My confidence plummeted.”
In Hawaii he started in 2019 despite an infection. Lange got out. “It was probably the darkest moment of my sporting career.” He then dedicated his victory at the Ironman in Tulsa in May last year to his mother, who died in 2020.