History, it has been argued, is written by the victors. But In this case, it is being written by a few of us who were there and are willing to write it. A fool’s errand, perhaps. Surely, the question will be asked and answered: Does anyone really care? Time will tell.
Why Tri-History.com? Well, why history of anything at all? Historians are driven to remember, record, interpret. It feels almost genetic. You’re either interested in the past or you’re not. It means something to you or it doesn’t. But if it does -- and particularly if it’s connected to a physical activity in which you are actively, perhaps even passionately, involved – you’re all in. We’re interested in the history of triathlon for the same reason we’re interested in the history of our families, our parents; it matters how it all came together. It matters because we are both players in the ongoing genealogical drama and products of all that has gone before.
Triathlon is unique in a sense, because its origins are so recent that most of us who were there at the beginning are still alive, still chewing our food with our real teeth, still running, biking and swimming. We are still standing around at conferences with drinks in our hands, swapping stories, one-upping each other with tales that time has yet to dull with age, and that are only slightly glossed by exaggeration.
And who better to write it? We were there at the beginning, after all. We watched first-hand as the sport of triathlon emerged from the muck of San Diego’s Mission Bay. We raced, we wrote, we took pictures. We produced the events, we hung the banners, loaned the bikes and bought the beer. And as we staggered through imaginary aid stations, wandered lost through cone-less courses, we did so with only the vaguest notion that the sport had more of a future than one more race next July. “See you there.”
We were conflicted. We philosophized, pontificated, grumbled and groused miserably, bemoaning the state of an upstart sport that seemed at times destined for self-destruction. And yet we knew, somehow, that triathlon might appeal to an audience beyond off-duty Navy SEALS, just-off-work-lifeguards and retired executives with nothing better to do but train. Triathlon as it turned out, had something for everyone.
Be forewarned: if you are statistics freak, driven to know who placed third in the 40-44 age division of the Columbia Triathlon in Maryland in 1989, you will be disappointed. Tri-History.com is not the definitive history of the sport. We gladly leave that level of documentation to others. Rather, our goal is to create a collaborative and on-going narration – a history of the sport both as it was told at the time, and as it is viewed with a contemporary perspective. We will sit together on our virtual couches and tell stories. We will re-publish material that hasn’t been seen or read in decades (a scary thought), and perhaps never seen before at all. And, with the help of you, our readers, we will tell the stories behind the stories – tales that for one reason or another never made it into the published record. Your participation is warmly and enthusiastically encouraged. Like we said, this is history written by the few of us willing to write it. Welcome to TriHistory.com.