Episode 119

Emma Snowsill Frodeno: community, coffee and FUN

This is a fantastic chat with Emma Snowsill Frodeno in her coffee shop in Girona. Emma won triathlon Olympic gold in 2008 and was 3x World Champion. But there's so much more to Emma than triathlon. She's a business owner, she runs La Comuna coffee shop in Girona and she's driven to give back to society. She's also a mum of two, not to mention an amazing wife to Olympic and Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno.

You'll hear:

00:00 We talk about how she and husband Jan Frodeno started La Comuna cafe in Girona and how it fits in well with the community in Girona, which is made up of locals, professional athletes, and a growing expat community. 'I love seeing people happy when they eat and the social-ness of people together and that's been really important for me.

07:14 "Other than dealing with my stress at times and eating the kitchen out of the last remaining food, Jan doesn't have so much to do with the running of La Comuna. He is still really loving his career but he'll come here and make himself a coffee and have this as his second dining room!"

08:10 Wise words about Emma and Jan helping each other. "We are both big believers in doing things we love and doing things we are passionate about and for us it works and having someone to help you remind you of the things you set out to do is important. There's been a huge amount of learnings but a year in, we are finding a bit more of a balance."

10:20 We talk about building a community in Girona. "This has been a personal finding myself and my community here. I came here towards the end of my career and when you are into sport, wherever you go in the world, you have an instant community and people who help you along the way. But then not having that participation in sport that I knew and having kids and feeling pretty isolated here, I thought what are the things that speak to me? I can't be the only one who feels like this."

13:05 The work of the Frodeno Foundation, Jan's indoor ironman and the pumptrack in Salt, Girona. "When he told me about the idea of what he wanted to do, I thought it was quite egotistical and I said I was only going to get involved in it if it was something bigger than himself. I just thought there were far bigger things going on in the world. He is just so highly motivated that he needed a goal. We always thought we would like our own project and then the whole idea came from there.

23:25 "Starting a foundation, opening a cafe and managing apartments in a year has been super super challenging, it's not a year I'd want to repeat! But we still believe that sport is a superpower in people's lives and I have more than enough people telling me a cafe is super tough, but everybody has to challenge their own path and at the end of the day, we feel there is something we could add to the landscape here."

27:40 We talk about S-Grail event that Jan and Emma put on in 2021 for the first time, which was a swim - gravel biking - trail run triathlon. "They did such an incredible job. Our food stops were so different. We had chorizo, we had donuts. It was just so much fun."

31:10 We touch on Emma's triathlon career and her first time in Girona, which was as a spectator. I went there in 2011 and I was hooked and I thought 'yes, I really want to do that.' Being there with Jan, I told him this is going to hook you! There is a part of me that lives vicariously through him.

34:30 What is Jan like on race morning? It's so sickeningly long and nerve-wracking. As a spectator it's 8 hours when you're not in control. The first time Jan did an Ironman in Frankfurt, I think I fell asleep when he got to the finish line.

36:45 We talk about role models - Susie O'Neill was Emma's hero when she was growing up. 'When you met that person and realised they are just a normal person. it's such a way to realise that it is achievable and chasing your dreams is a possibility.

40:50 It is an amazing life and Jan gets asked a lot about finishing. But if you love what you do, what does it matter what the number says. The moment that's not there, that's a different story. But it's the best job in the world, so keep going.

Find out more about this week's guests

Emma Snowsill Frodeno Instagram

La Comuna website and instagram

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About the Podcast

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Inside Tri Show
Helen Murray brings you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond

About your host

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Helen Murray

Helen has been working in triathlon for a decade as an athlete, coach and broadcaster.

Helen hosts the Inside Tri Show podcast bringing you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond