It sits like a time machine in a corner of my office: a large file drawer stuffed to overflowing with images from the original Bud Light US Triathlon Series, transferred several years ago from cardboard file boxes but never fully catalogued. The collection of unpublished negatives and proof sheets spans six or seven years, beginning in 1984, and multiple venues, from Atlanta to Boston to Seattle and beyond. With a sophisiticated PR effort to feed (Bud Light had high expectations), we hired photographers in every city and purchased all rights to the entire shoot. The negatives are still in great shape, but editing and scanning is a timely process, and the quality of the images ranges widely -- this was back in the pre-digital days of Tri-Ex film and manual focus -- so finding truly talented photographers who could capture more than one or two good shots per roll wasn't easy. Recently, in response to a request from a business associate, I scanned this set of images from the 1988 Chicago USTS event. They are historic in that they illustrate the enormous scale at which the fledgling sport was expanding, and also because the Chicago race would soon become entangled in an epic political fight from which emerged the Bud Light-less Chicago Triathlon. I have no idea who the photographer is; the proof sheets carry no ID, so apologies on that front.
This is the kind of story we tell each other over a beer. It’s a triathlon classic from the wooly early days of the sport, when the world was just waking up to the notion of triathlon, and even folks in the business were learning as they went. It was on-the-job training for everyone,...Read More