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The Birth of Triathlete Magazine: An Insider's Story

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
cover of merged TRIATHLETE magazine

It wasn't just the sport that was trying to figure out what it was—and what it could be—in the early days. Fifth magazine iteration shown.

It was the day after the 2.4-mile Waikiki Rough Water Swim in September, 1979. I sat in the Sans Souci restaurant next to the Outrigger Canoe Club as the scent of sweet plumeria wafted through the open windows that faced the long curve of Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach. I was lunching with one of my two publishing partners, Penny Little, and enjoying the grilled Mahi Mahi and more than a few Mai Tais.

The French Connection

Friday, December 12, 2014

Was Marseilles, France the original Fiesta Island? (Paul Cezanne's The Gulf of Marseilles as seen from Lestaque) 

People love to celebrate birthdates for the sake of celebration, a bit of history, and a few beers. And in the case of the first triathlon, is guilty of this charge.  Forty years to the hour after 9/25/74, when forty one participants gathered on those boggy and incomplete shores of Mission Bay, a bunch of us gathered and drank beer. And celebrated our locally-global history. Much ballyhoo was awarded San Diego’s Fiesta Island; the group back-slapping each other…damn we were young and bitchin’ then. So prescient, so tan.

Avignon 1989: The First ITU World Championships

Thursday, December 4, 2014

By the end of the 1980's, triathlon had established itself as a full-fledged sport. There were athletes making a living from it, companies were developing products to support it, and best of all if you happened to be sitting next to a stranger on an airplane and you started up a conversation with them you didn't have to explain what an Ironman was anymore. They had either done one themselves or at least knew someone who had done one.

Pioneers of Triathlon Gather for a Historic 40th Anniversary Reunion

<p class="paragraphheader"><em> hosts founders and legends in a wide-ranging opverview of the sports first four decades.&nbsp;</em></p>
Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Anniversary Roundtable was professionally filmed and recorded for future use.  

Forty years to the day after the first triathlon was held on the shores of San Diego's Mission Bay, the pioneers of the nascent sport that combined swimming, cycling and running into an Olympic event and a lifetime passion for millions of people worldwide returned to this city for a historic reunion to swap anecdotes and share experiences about the early days of triathlon.

After The Fall

<p class="MsoNormal paragraphheader"><em>Nina Kraft's long road back from doping disgrace</em></p>
Monday, September 1, 2014

Nina Kraft in Clermont, Florida. "I want it to be like 2001, and have fun. I want to let go of what people are thinking." 

A somewhat shorter version of this story originally appeared in Inside Triathlon magazine in 2007 - Ed.

After she made a disastrous choice to take EPO in 2004, after she disgraced herself on the sport's most sacred stage, after all her nobler rivals deplored her act and the triathletes in her country shunned her like a leper, and after she shook with guilt for the shame she had brought on her loving family – Nina Kraft looked back on more innocent days when her frequent smiles were returned.

A Straight 40 To Go

<p><em>Scott Tinley's 40 Defining Moments of Triathlon</em>&nbsp;</p>
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Wally & Wayne Buckingham at David Pain's Birthday Biathlon

Wally (left) and Wayne Buckingham were among the top club runners in the San Diego in the late 70's and 1980's. They embraced multisport competition eagerly and were regulars among the leaders David Pain's Birthday Biathlon -- Moment #1 on Scott's Top-40 list.  

I must admit, I chuckled when I read my partner and co-founder Scott’s list of 40 big moments. What the hell else had I expected? White toast and tea?  I fully expect many of Scott’s decidedly esoteric choices will be controversial. Heck , even I don’t agree with many of them, and our literary/journalistic partnership goes back more than three decades. But isn’t that what lists are for, really? They put a stake in the ground and challenge folks to expand the game, enlarge the boundaries, generate circular discussions and never-ending disagreements.

TH INTERVIEW: Andrew Messick on Ironman History

<p>WTC CEO Andrew Messick talks with Triathlon History's Scott Tinley about Ironman's role in preserving (and making) the sport's history</p>
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Andrew Messick

The Big Kahuna -- WTC CEO and Ironman-in-Chief Andrew Messick. "We have a responsibility to the institutional memory of the sport."  

Where does Ironman, the Corporation, stand in the area of doing triathlon's history? What role do they take as stewards of the Ironman Dream?'s Scott Tinley asked World Triathlon Corporation's CEO, Andrew Messick, pointed questions about WTC's role.

ST: For many Ironmen and women, their first time crossing the finish line is held up along such lines of personal history with graduations, marriage, and childbirth. What is it like having that kind of responsibility to produce events that mean so much to these athletes?

New Wave Triathlon

<p>The Tampa Bay Bud Light U.S. Triathlon Series event in 1984 broke new ground with a format that would become a triathlon standard.&nbsp;</p>
Sunday, March 23, 2014

A field of some 80 pros heads to the water at the Tampa Bay USTS in 1984, and the landmark series inaugurates a new format that included wave starts and new distances. Photo courtesy of Jim Curl. 

The first triathlon wave start was staged on April 28, 1984, at the Bud Light U.S. Triathlon Series season opener at Fort DeSoto Park in Tampa Bay, Fla. But the wave start concept came out of a discussion the previous season at the USTS race at Belmont Shores in Long Beach, Calif.

Danny Boy and the Rubber Suit Brigade

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It was a cold December day in 1982 when Dave Epperson snapped this image of me in wetsuit #0000001. The Speedo towel was a sponsor-required prop

Robert Scott is on the phone. His voice is choppy and laced with emotion. He has something to tell me, he claims, that will change the future of triathlon. But the dramatic pauses get in the way of his telling.

"I read about the Malibu race."

Long pause.
"Must have been tough."

Long pause.

"I know how to keep you guys warm in the water."

Rock In The Pond

<h3>Ripples from the Feb 1982 Ironman Triathlon &amp; The Crawl Felt Round The World&nbsp;</h3>
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Julie Moss made history the hard way.  The impact on the sport of her dramatic finish was felt around the world and for many years to come.

The short and thick man in the bar keeps looking over his shoulder toward the door. He wears a tweed jacket with pressed slacks, matching, and appears to be having an intimate relationship with his cigar. The short and thick man appears to stand a bit taller than the other Kiwis who are actually bigger in this small town bar on the shores of New Zealand’s Lake Wanaka. He seems confident in a New York style. Nobody messes with him and his cigar. And I am intrigued.