Welcoming home a champion

Massive triumphs ask for even vaster congratulatory. Saturday evening saw freshly crowned Ironman world champion Sebastian Kienle celebrating his in-style triumph with an in-style gathering organized by his German club, Tri-Team Heuchelberg. Around 400 people experienced a gala that saw Kienle displaying his trademark humor and seemingly enjoying himself together with supporters, family and longstanding friends.

As former teammates recalled ancient achievements and shared secretive stories that often were followed by crowd laughter and applause, Kienle's parents and sister gathered on stage to review the initial steps of a career and a clear goal that Sebastian realized this year. The talk lastly transformed into an exchange amongst the family members. “My parents never pushed me to win races. They always guided me, but the enthusiasm to succeed was solely mine.” stated the latest German “Über-Biker”. “Occasionally you wonder while you look at parents and their youngsters. Is it the parents drive and aspiration or is it the kids?” Nina [his mom] sealed off the dialogue when she smilingly said: “Before each race he calls us. No matter where he is. We chat and I always end the conversation with the words: No matter if you win or loose – we love you!”

An entertaining Thomas Hellriegel honored the fourth German to win the championship and looked back to first encounters. “Initially I met him during swim training in Karlsruhe. There genuinely wasn’t a sign that he would go that far.” The jab at Kienle’s occasionally sticky performance in the first discipline was followed by added authentic and funny recollections. “Yes!” stood as the fast and simple response as the first German to succeed in Hawaii was confronted with the question if Sebastian would be able to win Kona an additional time.

A DJ, an open bar and fine food assisted the positive and relaxed party atmosphere and were a spotless outtake to an extensive but very fruitful season for Heuchelberg’s most prominent but still down-earth club member.

When Hellriegel secured the Ironman world title he was kitted out with some murky crown and king style kit. To hail the new-fangled king of Kona Hellriegel presented Kienle with some awkward burden.

Earlier that evening, a young triathlete is awaiting the most legendary member of his club!

Cheerio - If this win isn’t a cause to party! Kienle salutes with former league rival Stefan Hildenbrand of TSG Reutlingen.

It was Kienle day. Juvenile supporters are joyful with their Sebi Rocks Trucker hats and Hawaii style necklaces.

The bar was fitted with old-school pics and drinks.

Hermann Utz, chairman of the club and long time backer kick-started the festivities.

Nina, Luisa and Xaver - the Kienle household amused the crowds

Sebastians parents watched their son as he had fun with the youth team.

This could have been Sebastians look at Thomas Hellriegel a couple of years ago.

Johannes Utz and Tibor Kretschmann share one of many jokes as they look back to past training and party days.

They used to train together and they used to share an apartment. Saturday they met again and joint the stage and stories.

Sebastian’s Fanclub was prepared to party.

As former training and racing mate Thomas Freudenmann appreciated one of several beers, Sebastian worked on one of countless autographs.

Free Drinks rock – Sebi rocks as well.

And this bloke rode a 4:20:46?

These kicks only fit one guy!

Former heroes pay tribute. Holger Lorenz and wife Carmen came along to congratulate.

Home is where the World Champ is!