Some Facts

Date of birth  
20 Mar 1994      

Place of birth                          
Munich, Germany 


Current residency
Oxford & London, UK

Education & Internships  
2011: Graduation “German Abitur”, German School, London (average 1.0)
2011-2015: Student, University of Oxford, St. Catherine’s College (Master Mathematics)
2012: Internship QED Analytics Ltd., London
2013: Internship ATASS Sports, Exeter
2015: Master of Mathematics, University of Oxford (First Class Honours)

PhD student, University of Oxford, Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics

German (native proficiency), English (bilingual proficiency), French (limited working proficiency)

Roland Knoll (GER)

SC Delphin Ingolstadt - Triathlon (GER), 
Oxford University Triathlon Club, Oxford University Swimming Club, Oxford University Cross Country Club

1. Triathlon Bundesliga  
TVG Buschhütten 1885 e.V.

My Story ...

Having been born and raised in Germany, I moved to England in 2008. In 2011, I graduated from the German School London and started my mathematics degree at the University of Oxford.

I have a very sporty family - so sport has always played a big role in my life. In particular my mum, a cross-country skiing Olympian and long-distance runner has infused me with the necessary enthusiasm and spirit.

After swimming competitively for several years, I got hooked on triathlon in 2010. In 2011 and 2012, I collected experience during junior races in the UK and Germany and got closer to my goal of being a successful triathlete at international level. 2013 was then a very important year for me with winning the German Junior Triathlon Championships and finishing 10th at the Junior World Championships in London.

2014 was my first season as an U23 athlete and it was just like a dream. In June, I won silver at the Elite Women's European Championships in Kitzbühel - my fist olympic distance race ever. End of August, I became U23 World Champion and finished the year by winning the German Elite and U23 Championships early September.

In June 2015, I finished my Master’s degree in Mathematics at the University of Oxford and have started my PhD studies in Oxford last October. In triathlon, I became a regular face at races of the World Triathlon Series and I am very happy about having finished 20th in the overall 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series Ranking. 

2016 has been a very challenging year for me on a personal as well as sporting level. An injury early on in the year and its consequences unfortunately denied me the fulfilment of my dream of racing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. In addition, after fighting cancer for two years, my father unfortunately passed away in late August 2016. Since this was a very challenging time for me and my family, I had decided to end my season already after the WTS race in Hamburg in July 2016.

Over the summer 2016, I managed to sort all my injury issues out, was however yet again struck by bad luck at the beginning of 2017 when I bruised a bone in a bike crash, which meant that I could yet again not run for two months. The remainder of the season was then spent trying to catch up on the missed running training - and as soon as I seemed to be getting back to my normal running form, bad luck struck me in the form of a puncture at U23 Worlds and a crash at the World Cup in Huelva. Nonetheless, this season showed me that everything is heading back in the right direction and I am really looking forward to a solid winter of training now! Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain - and in 2017 I have been doing exactly that. And while I’ve become pretty good at dancing in the rain, I am looking forward to finally being able to show off my ability and race to my potential again once the bad weather has gone for good - hopefully in 2018.

But what happens next?
In 2018, I am planning on handing in my doctorate thesis and will then train with triathlon as my main focus and the aim of toeing the line at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Nonetheless, I will still be staying faithful to my philosophy and will still do some mathematical work to keep my “head” occupied - the main focus will however shift from my degree to sports. I’m excited!


My degree gives me the space and time to leave triathlon behind every now and then - and stops me from overthinking sessions or the next race.

… and my Philosophy

Bringing sports and university together day by day is what is keeping me sane and gives me the balance that I need to push myself further. The balance between challenges in sports and in academics is a critical factor for success - in triathlon and in mathematics. 

I don’t know how I would be able to deal with the academic pressure or pressure in sport without having the other to balance it. Triathlon has helped me academically, by giving me the time and space to clear my head, to leave the work behind me and - literally - just run away for a bit. On the other hand, my degree gives me the space and time to leave triathlon behind every now and then - and stops me from overthinking sessions or the next race.  

© Sophia Saller 2016. All rights reserved. Impressum