Starring a physically transformed Steve Carell as the eccentric millionaire/sportsman John E. DuPont, "Foxcatcher" opened to wide release on Friday, Nov 14. In the words of The New York Times reviewer Manhola Dargis, it is and "eerie horror story" about a rich man "who collected monumental amounts of shells, birds and stamps and...other human beings."
The movie delves only into DuPont's disastrous and ultimately murderous patronage of amateur wrestling, but among the human beings DuPont collected were triathletes. Back in the mid-1980's members of the Foxcatcher triathlon team took frequent trips to the podium at races across the country. The team starred Ken Glah, and included, at various times, Glah's wife at the time Jan Wanklyn, Joy Hansen, Jan and Diane Girard, Brooks Clark, Jeff Devlin and Steve Fitch. Several of the Foxcatcher triathletes lived on the DuPont estate in rural Pennsylvania and trained at DuPont's Foxcatcher Training Center, the primary setting of the film.
DuPont had had some experience in modern pentathlon and fancied himself a multisport pioneer, going so far to bill himself as the "The American Eagle" and "Father of Triathlon in the Americas." He was an odd man at the best of times, but "things went really bad when his mother died (in 1988)" Glah recalls.
According to people who knew DuPont, he desperately wanted to be an elite athlete, but lacked the talent. His patronage of sports was his way of compensating for his competitive shortcomings, allowing him to associate with, and even guide, the level of talent he lacked.
DuPont's involvement with triathlon is an historical footnote (It's not even mentioned on the John DuPont entry on Wikipedia), but it was significant at the time, and lends a somewhat bizarre insider's note for triathletes who watch the current film.