Rubik’s Cube genius finishes first in elite TriWaco triathlon

Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 3:16 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 11, 2022 at 3:19 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Tri Waco competitor from Arizona who drew out fans a day before the competition even started as a world record holder for solving Rubik’s cube challenges went home the overall winner of the Elite Olympic distance triathlon.

Simon Shi, 24, was a fan favorite to win but ended up crushing his personal record by nine minutes, finishing the 1,500-meter swim in the Brazos, 25-mile bike ride and 6.2 mile run in one hour and 53 minutes. The second-place finisher was 8 minutes behind that.

“It went well. I think I got first place,” Shi told KWTX just after he crossed the finish line.

His first-place ranking was confirmed as Shi finished his swim in under 19 minutes, biked at 27.5 miles per hour and ran a 10k with an average pace of 6:07 per mile.

“I had a pretty good swim, bike and run so, overall, a pretty fun day,” he said. “The swim was good. It was pretty fast, all downstream river. Bike was pretty flat, three laps and the run, there were good hills at Cameron Park.”

Shi wasn’t just a favorite to dominate the course, he’s a favorite among YouTube fans, millions of them, who have viewed his videos solving Rubik’s Cubes in challenges related to the sport of triathlon.

He once solved a giant Rubik’s cube underwater.

“I had a snorkel and a weight belt so I could stay under water and just solve that thing for four hours,” Shi said. “All underwater.”

He also ran a 5K where he solved as many Rubik’s cubes as possible. The official world record was 77 cubes solves and Shi finished with 84 last month.

“I went on the track with a friend. My friend had a bike. He had a backpack in front of him with all the unsolved Rubik’s cubes in them and an empty backpack behind him,” Shi said. “So I would just grab one solve it and put it back.”

Shi didn’t spend much time recovering from his top finish at Tri Waco.

The former Virginia Tech swimmer who just took up triathlons over the past two years is traveling to Long Beach, California for a sprint distance triathlon this weekend.

Shi says he plans to enter the IRONMAN 70.3 in Waco this fall.

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