History of Triathlon: 2011

2011 was witness to two new world records being made at the Ironman Europe and Hawaii Ironman races. The year also saw crucial milestones occur within the sport’s national governing body USA Triathlon. This year marked the passing of one of the most influential and inspirational masters triathlete as well.

Vanhoenacker sets new Ironman record

Marino Vanhoenacker has been joining duathlons and triathlons since 1997. He tasted his first major success in 2001 when he took 5th place in Ironman Florida. He has been competing regularly except in 2002, and has since won a handful of Ironman and ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championship titles.

July of 2011 was extra special for Vanhoenacker though for he set a new Ironman record. He clocked an astounding 7 hours, 45 minutes, and 58 seconds at the 2011 Ironman Austria, beating fellow Belgian Luc Van Lierde’s 1997 record by over four minutes.

Death of Charlie Futrell

August 19 of this year marked the death of an inspiring masters triathlete, Charlie Futrell. Futrell, as can be remembered, joined the 1992 Hawaii Ironman, his first ever race in Kailua-Kona. Futrell was 72 years old at that time and was declared 3rd overall and best American finisher for his age group category. Two months prior to his death, Futrell took part in the Central Florida Triathlon Series in Clermont, Florida where he became the oldest person to ever finish a USA Triathlon-sanctioned event. He was 92 years old.

Masters triathlete Charlie Futrell crossing the finish line of the Central Florida Triathlon Series held in Clermont, Florida
(image via www.trijuice.com)

Alexander makes new Hawaii Ironman record

Australian Craig Alexander has been competing in triathlons since 1997. Though largely self-taught in this grueling endurance sport, Alexander managed to win two Hawaii Ironman golds in 2008 and 2009. In 2011, Alexander decided to work with renowned triathlon coach Chris Carmichael. Their collaboration proved highly favorable for it resulted in Alexander setting a new record of 8 hours, 3 minutes, and 56 seconds at the 2011 Hawaii Ironman, beating Luc Van Lierde’s 1996 Hawaii Ironman record.

USA Triathlon celebrates milestones

2011 saw a handful of landmarks for the national governing organization USA Triathlon. At the end of this year, USA Triathlon’s membership was over 140,000. The organization, through the Officials Program it initiated in August 1987, trained and certified race directors and triathlon coaches as well, which totaled to more than 500 and 2,100, respectively, by the year’s end. Lastly, the number of triathlon clubs officially affiliated with the USA Triathlon was close to one thousand by December of this year, further proof of the sport’s continuing growth in the country.

Sources:

Belgian Man Breaks an Ironman Record

Charles Futrell, 92, journeyed from Laurel High coach to champion triathlete

Craig Alexander

History – USA Triathlon

History of Triathlon: 2010

2010 saw the implementation of crucial procedures to keep the sport of triathlon clean and free from performance-enhancing drug use. The year was also witness to the remarkable performances of elite triathletes as well as the holding of competitions with huge monetary prizes.

ITU initiates anti-doping measures

2010 was the year that saw the commencement of the International Triathlon Union’s Athlete Biological Passport system. The mechanism, which adheres to the standards set by the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA), was set in place to specifically deter blood doping. At least 140 triathletes, most especially those of Olympic qualification level, will now have their blood and urine tested from three to five times within a year to ensure their biological markers are within acceptable levels.

McCormack repeats feat

2010 marked Australian Chris McCormack’s ninth year of racing at the Hawaii Ironman in Kailua-Kona. Though McCormack has proven his mettle with his remarkable 2007 Hawaii Ironman win, many were banking on German Andreas Raelert to dominate the race. Raelert was after all younger and had an impressive third place win at his first ever Hawaii Ironman race in 2009.

On race day, just a few miles to the finish line, McCormack and Raelert were running side by side. McCormack, after cooling off with one of the sponges he tucked in his race jersey, handed said sponge to Raelert, after which they shook hands. At the last aid station, both grabbed drinks. McCormack, however, took this opportunity to outrun his opponent, making it the Aussie’s second Hawaii Ironman gold.

Chris McCormack wins the 2010 Hawaii Ironman
(image via www.everymantri.com)

Bennett dominates ITU and USA Triathlon events

Laura Bennett’s triathlon career spans years. Among Bennett’s most notable competitions was at the 2008 Athens Olympic Games where she missed the bronze medal by a whisker for her country USA.

2010 was a noteworthy year for Bennett as well. She participated in a host of ITU World Championship races and became the best-ranked American finisher and 10th overall. She performed remarkably at a handful of USA Triathlon-sanctioned events as well, during which she grabbed another USA Triathlon elite national title. She was subsequently named the 2010 USA Triathlon Olympic and ITU Athlete of the Year for her achievements during the year.

Even bigger prize purse

The Hy-Vee World Cup is well-known in the triathlon crowd for its substantial monetary prizes. In fact, a total of $700,000 was distributed during its inaugural race in 2007, the biggest prize purse at the time.

Three years later, the Hy-Vee World Cup again became the first ever in the history of triathlon to give a staggering total prize purse of $1 million for a one-day event in 2010.

Sources:

ITU starts Athlete Biological Passport testing

Chris McCormack

Laura Bennett Athlete Bio

History of Triathlon Timeline

History of Triathlon: 2009

Doping controversies have plagued the sport of triathlon. Nandrolone use allegations against Spencer Smith in 1999, as well as the similar allegations aimed at Kelly Guest in 2002, are just two examples.

In 2009, performance enhancing drug use again took center stage after a prominent triathlete confessed to deliberately using banned substances. The year was witness to another Ironman disqualification as well. On a positive note, 2009 saw the implementation of anti-doping measures that aimed at lessening cheating in the sport.

Austrian triathlete announces early retirement

March of this year saw triathlete Lisa Huetthaler confess to the doping allegations leveled against her. Huetthaler, who was dominating national triathlon competitions in her native Austria, tested positive for the blood booster drug erythropoietin (EPO) in 2007. She also admitted to using blood transfusion and testosterone between the periods of 2007 and 2008.

In an attempt to cover up the results, she tried to bribe a laboratory employee with 20,000 euros on May of 2008 so that the latter would release a “negative” finding for her sample B urine. As a result, she was handed out an 18-month ban from competition.

Lisa Huetthaler attempted to cover up her EPO use
(image via radstars.at)

March of 2009, Huetthaler admitted to knowingly utilizing EPO and named her manager Stefan Matschiner, and a doctor at a Vienna children’s hospital named Andreas Zoubek, as her suppliers. Though the competition ban was not yet completed at the time, then 25-year-old Huetthaler informed the media of her early retirement from the sport, citing emotional and physical strain caused by the ban.

WTC’s new anti-doping measures

The World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), owner of the Ironman brand, has been implementing drug testing as early as 1990. September of 2009, the WTC announced crucial additions to its anti-doping measures.

Firstly, age-group triathletes who will race in any Ironman or Ironman 70.3 events starting 2010 will now be eligible for WTC’s in- and out-of-competition drug testing.

Secondly, the Whereabouts Program will be commenced to enable efficient in- and out-of-competition testing for professional triathletes. These additions to the existing system were made to reduce cheating in this widely participated sport.

Australian triathlete disqualified from Ironman

Rebekah Keat placed fifth overall at the 2009 Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona. However, as the event was nearing its cut-off, it was announced via the event’s official website that Keat had been officially disqualified.

The disqualification arrived well after Keat had finished the course because it took sometime for the head referee to consolidate all the individual drafting booklets from all the marshals. Keat, as it turned out, was handed three yellow cards, which according to USA Triathlon rules, automatically renders the disqualification of the triathlete concerned.

Sources:

Triathlon: Austrian triathlete Huetthaler comes clean on doping

Pumper, Huetthaler banned for doping

Huetthaler retires before ban’s end

World Triathlon Corporation Anti-Doping Program, Combined 2009 and 2010 Statistics

Elite and Age-Group Doping

Ironman World Championship: Drug Testing For Dummies

Updated: Rebekah Keat Disqualified, Loses Fifth Place At Ironman World Championship

History of Triathlon: 2008

2008 saw the endurance sport triathlon be included in a couple of highly anticipated multi-sport events. The year also saw the resurfacing of the doping issues against a Canadian elite triathlete.

Triathlon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

The sport’s third staging at the Olympic Games saw joyful highlights, not only for triathlon, but for the world class triathletes who represented their countries. Olympic triathlon newcomer Jan Frodeno of Germany took home the gold for the men’s division, while Australia’s Emma Snowsill dominated the women’s race.

Jan Frodeno crossing the finish line at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
(image via www.triathlon.org)

The event also saw Canada’s Simon Whitfield, the first ever Olympic triathlon champion, compete in the sport and take home the silver, making this his second Olympic medal.

New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty triumphantly returned to the Olympic triathlon race circuit as well, placing third overall during the event. This makes it Docherty’s second Olympic medal, the first of which was the silver medal he won at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics was Hunter Kemper’s third time to represent USA as well. He placed seventh overall, making him the best American male finisher. American Laura Bennett placed fourth, narrowly missing the bronze medal which would have been USA’s second Olympic medal for the sport.

Triathlon at the Asian Beach Games

Triathlon competitions have been staged regularly in various Asian countries since the founding of the Asian Triathlon Confederation (ASTC) in 1992. In 2008, triathlon received the honor of getting included in the first ever Asian Beach Games held in Bali, Indonesia.  31 triathletes competed in the men’s division, with Hong Kong’s Daniel Lee placing first. Meanwhile, 15 female triathletes raced for the women’s division, with China’s Zhang Yi declared as champion.

Canadian triathlete’s urine sample re-tested

Elite triathlete Kelly Guest, as can be remembered, was sent home days before the start of the 2002 Commonwealth Games. He was disqualified from representing Canada for he tested positive for the performance enhancing drug nandrolone.

In July of 2008, Paul Melia, president and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports (CCES), sent Guest a letter, asking for the latter’s permission to re-test his sample B urine. Melia cited that Guest’s test results may have been a false positive due to his sample being “unstable” or “active”, which meant that the presence of nandrolone may have after all been caused by the chemical processes in the sample and not from willful ingestion of the substance.

Guest consented to the re-testing, which in the end proved futile. The remaining sample B urine, which was frozen in 2006, turned out insufficient for completing the analysis. Because the test was inconclusive, the initial positive finding was not repealed. To this day, Guest, along with his family, friends, and other fellow triathletes, continue to try to clear his name.

Sources:

2008 in Review: The Olympics

Triathlon at the 2008 Asian Beach Games

‘Unstable urine’ doesn’t answer doping case

History of Triathlon: 2007

Modern triathlon, which originated in San Diego, California, was by this time celebrating its 33 years of existence. Though just a little over three decades old, it’s certainly achieved a lot. No other fledgling sport became as popular and got considered as fast for the Olympic program than triathlon. And year 2007 saw positive highlights as well as the celebration of life of one of the most memorable triathletes to have ever graced the race circuit.

Death of a remarkable triathlete

The early part of the year started on a somber note for it was when triathlete Jon Blais died. Known as “Blazeman” in the race circuit, he was a huge inspiration to many. Though diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and losing the use of his fingers, he managed to achieve his lifelong dream of finishing the Hawaii Ironman in 2005. To celebrate his life and to continue his legacy, his friends and family put up the Blazeman Foundation. To this day, the foundation hosts charity triathlon competitions to raise awareness and funds for research on the debilitating disease ALS.

McCormack grabs Ironman gold

Australian Chris McCormack became a recognizable and respected name in the world of triathlon when he dominated the ITU World Championship and ITU World Cup races in 1997, an achievement no other male triathlete has yet matched to this day. Having set the goal to conquer the Big Island, McCormack raced his first Hawaii Ironman in 2002 though failed to finish. He joined consistently since, though with highly fluctuating results. Years of training finally paid off when he finished second in 2006, and finally snagged the gold the following year when he crossed the 2007 Hawaii Ironman finish line at an astounding time of 8:15:34.

Chris McCormack crossing the finish line of the 2007 Hawaii Ironman
(image via www.smh.com.au)

First British woman to dominate Ironman women’s division

United Kingdom’s Chrissie Wellington was a newcomer to the Hawaii Ironman race circuit in 2007. Though she is not a stranger to the grueling endurance sport, having won the 2006 Lausanne ITU Age Group World Championships, 2007 was her first race as an elite triathlete. No other debut can perhaps be as memorable as Wellington’s for she was declared champion at her first Ironman race, making her the first UK triathlete to bring home the honor.

Triathlete featured on cereal box

Hunter Kemper has by this time represented his country USA twice to the Olympic Games. To honor his contributions, he was handed the 2005 SportsMan of the Year award by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) just the prior year. 2007 was even more special for the Olympian for he became the first ever elite triathlete to grace the cover of the well-liked Wheaties cereal brand.

Competitions with considerable prize purse

Triathlon’s popularity across the United States became even more evident when in 2007, the Hy-Vee World Cup, a race sponsored by the grocery chain Hy-Vee, gave away a total of $700,000 USD, by far the largest prize purse during a one-day race.

Sources:

Jon Blais

Chris McCormack

Triathlon Timeline – USA Triathlon

History of Triathlon: 2006

2006 proved to be another dynamic and eventful year for the sport of triathlon. It was when milestones within the national governing body USA Triathlon occurred. The year also saw longtime professional triathletes conquer their goals and be subsequently acknowledged for their achievements. The International Triathlon Union (ITU) undertook measures to shorten its sanctioned races during the year as well.

Kemper given highest recognition by USOC

On April 5, 2006, Hunter Kemper was given the 2005 SportsMan of the Year award by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). This makes Kemper the first ever triathlete to receive the highest recognition given by the USOC.

Hunter Kemper named 2005 SportsMan of the Year by USOC
(image via www.usatriathlon.org)

McCormack records remarkable Hawaii Ironman win

Australian Chris McCormack has been in the sport of triathlon since the mid 90s. In fact, he made himself and his native Australia proud in 1997 after becoming the first ever triathlete to win a gold each from the ITU World Championships and ITU World Cup events all within the same year.

Then a newcomer to the Hawaii Ironman race circuit, McCormack failed to finish at his first attempt at the race in 2002. The following year in 2003, he placed 59th overall. He again made a bid for the top spot in 2004 but unfortunately failed to finish once more.

In 2005, after months of training under Hawaii Ironman great Mark Allen, McCormack managed to finish sixth. Finally in 2006, he grabbed the silver medal after finishing in second, next to German Faris Al-Sultan.

ITU sets in motion shortening of its races

The year saw the International Triathlon Union commence the process to formally shorten the race course of its long established ITU Long Distance Championships.

On August 2006, the proposal to do so was officially stated as among the items to be discussed during the ITU congress in Lausanne in Switzerland the following month.

In the proposal, the ITU Long Distance Championships was recommended to be shortened to 3k-80k-20k from the longtime swim-bike-run distances of 40k-120k-30k. The ITU cited concerns over safety of long distance races such as the Ironman as one of the reasons for the move.

Said recommendation was passed in September by the ITU, though this was not without vehement opposition, particularly from triathletes around the globe who competed in the long distance races of the ITU before.

USA Triathlon celebrates milestones

By the end of the year, USA Triathlon reached more than 80,000 members. This national governing body’s sanctioned races reached more than 1,800 during the year as well, the highest by far since the organization’s founding in 1982.

Sources:

Chris McCormack

ITU to “distance” itself from ultra racing?

Triathlon

History of Triathlon: 2005

2005 saw regular folks conquer their goal of finishing the Hawaii Ironman and as a result became a crucial part of the history of triathlon. It was also during the year that a longtime triathlete made remarkable records in the sport.

Female amputee completes Hawaii Ironman

The Hawaii Ironman race circuit has always been open to regular folks.  This is all thanks to the race’s creator Commander John Collins, who, upon passing on the organization of the Ironman to Valerie Silk in 1980, expressly stipulated that slots always be allotted to regular folks who’d like to compete.

And recreational athletes aren’t the only ones who’ve been joining. Even physically challenged folks have graced the race circuit such as the male amputee Pat Griskus who completed the race in 1984, or wheelchair sportsperson John MacLean who finished the course in 1995.

Meanwhile, in 2004, saw the first female amputee in the person of Sarah Reinertsen join the grueling endurance race. Reinertsen failed to make the bike qualifying cut-off by 15 minutes though. Not to be deterred, she underwent months of training that proved well worth it when she became the first female amputee to complete the course in 2005.

ALS-stricken triathlete’s Hawaii Ironman victory

Smitten by the multi-discipline sport, Jon Blais moved to California from his native Seekonk, Massachusetts to be nearer to the triathlon races. In 2004, Blais was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, an illness that kills the nerves that control the body’s voluntary muscle movements.

Not the type to be dissuaded, Blais signed up for and got approved to compete at the 2005 Hawaii Ironman. Though his fingers have already been severely affected by the advancing disease, Blais was able to complete the course in 16 hours, 28 minutes, and 56 seconds.

Blais became the first ALS-stricken athlete to conquer Hawaii Ironman earning him the nickname of “Blazeman”. He was also responsible for popularizing the “log-rolling” move called “Blazeman-Roll” to the finish chute as well, which many triathletes still do a few feet to the finish line to this day.

Jon Blais finishes the 2005 Hawaii Ironman
(image via feinberg.northwestern.edu)

Badmann takes her sixth gold

Natascha Badmann, as can be remembered, became the first European woman to dominate the Hawaii Ironman race in 1998. Winning the gold since then, she would only be defeated by Canada’s Lori Bowden in 1999 and 2003. Meanwhile, in 2004, she was declared the first placer when German Nina Kraft admitted to EPO use.

In 2005, Badmann, who has always been a crowd favorite for her pleasant conduct on the course, took home her sixth and last Hawaii Ironman gold, making herself and her native Switzerland proud.

Sources:

Sarah Reinertsen

Jon Blais

Ironman World Championship

History of Triathlon: 2004

2004 saw the second staging of triathlon at the world’s largest multi-sport event, the Olympics. But while it returned triumphantly to the Olympic stage, triathlon’s reputation once again got marred by yet another high-profile doping scandal.

Triathlon at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games

Triathlon’s leaders got entangled in controversies in 2001 that threatened the sport’s overall status on the Olympic program. But it seems all these have been patched up as triathlon again got staged at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

On August 25, 2004, the women’s triathlon race was conducted. Kate Allen dominated 49 other female triathletes that day and took home the gold for her native Austria.

Austrian Kate Allen took home the 2004 Olympic triathlon gold
(image via www.triathlon.org)

Taking home the silver medal was Loretta Harrop. This was her second time to represent her country Australia to the Olympics. During triathlon’s inauguration game at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, she placed fifth overall. Loretta Harrop is the twin sister of Luke Harrop, the up-and-coming triathlete who was tragically killed while cycle training on a Brisbane highway in 2002.

Meanwhile, placing third was Littleton, Colorado native Susan Williams. Williams’ bronze win happens to be the first ever Olympic medal for triathlon for the United States.

The following day, August 26, the men’s triathlon race was staged. New Zealand’s Hamish Carter placed first, followed by Bevan Docherty, again from New Zealand, on second. And on third was Sven Riederer of Switzerland.

While the men’s US Olympic Triathlon Team did not take home medals from the event, “Wonder Boy” Hunter Kemper who also represented his country for the second time, managed to finish in ninth place, making him the best American finisher.

Professional triathlete confesses to doping

Barely two months after the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, sport enthusiasts again had a lot to rejoice with the holding of the most popular triathlon event, the Hawaii Ironman in October. Normann Stadler of Germany, and Nina Kraft, also of Germany, took home the gold for the men’s and women’s division, respectively, during the 2004 Ironman World Championships.

However, on November 11, the sports world was shocked when Nina Kraft admitted to knowingly using the performance enhancing drug erythropoietin or EPO weeks leading to the October 16, 2004 Hawaii Ironman competition.

Kraft confessed as, she said, she did not relish her win for she felt ashamed the entire time knowing she cheated. Kraft’s win was subsequently disqualified and Switzerland’s Natascha Badmann declared as the first placer instead.

Kraft’s doping scandal was by far the fourth such incident in the fledgling sport of triathlon. The first ever triathlete who got entangled in a similar controversy was Olivier Bernhard of Switzerland. He was subsequently cleared of the allegations after having successfully argued to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that the nandrolone concentration was due to his body naturally producing it after excessive workout.

British Spencer Smith also got accused of nandrolone use during the 1998 Hawaii Ironman and again was consequently cleared by the CAS. Canadian Kelly Guest, on the other hand, got his reputation besmirched by similar accusations in 2002 and is working up to now to clear his name.

Sources:

Triathlon at the 2004 Summer Olympics

Kraft: ‘I am going to bear all the consequences’

 Fashionable nandrolone the drug of choice

History of Triathlon: 2003

The year 2003 was witness to positive highlights in the sport of triathlon. The year also marked the first death anniversary of an up-and-coming triathlete who died from a hit-and-run accident.

Kemper takes home the gold

Olympian Hunter Kemper is known as the “Wonder Boy” of triathlon, a fitting name for such an impressive triathlete. Kemper took home the first prize at the IronKids Triathlon National Championships at the tender age of 10 and has since been inseparable from the sport. He continued his impressive first place position in the said event for five consecutive years. When he was 15 years old, he again dominated the 1992 USA Triathlon National Amateur Championships.

Though Kemper didn’t take home the gold during triathlon’s inauguration at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, he achieved the seventeenth-best finish for the men’s division. Three years later, Kemper took the first ever gold for his home country USA during the 2003 Pan American Games conducted in the Dominican Republic.

Hunter Kemper during the marathon leg of a triathlon
(image via www.usatriathlon.org)

Zemaitis becomes overall champion

A cross country and varsity swimmer during his college years, Joseph Zemaitis is no stranger to the sport of triathlon. Zemaitis set the goal to conquer the grueling Hawaii Ironman when he was only 12 years old. As soon as he hit the age of 18, he signed up for the 1998 Hawaii Ironman and flew to the Big Island to follow his longtime dream.

Incidentally at the time, Zemaitis was the youngest to have ever signed up for the race. And his efforts were well rewarded when he finished the course in less than ten hours, making him the second-best American finisher that year. He again made his country proud in 2003 when he became the Overall Amateur Champion at an Ironman race held in Langkawi, Malaysia.

Australian triathlon renamed in memory of triathlete

Luke Harrop, a native of Australia, was an emerging triathlete. He was the twin brother of Loretta Harrop, an Olympic triathlete who placed fifth overall during triathlon’s inaugural race at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

On a fateful day in January 13, 2002, Harrop was hit by a speeding car while training on Gold Coast Highway in Brisbane, Australia. The driver, Sandra Wilde, who was at the time driving a stolen vehicle, and was without a license and on bail for various offences, fled the scene and left Harrop bleeding to death.

Harrop suffered extensive head trauma and was taken off life support a day after the accident. He was 24 years old. To honor the triathlete’s legacy, the popular Australian Gold Coast Triathlon was renamed the Gold Coast Triathlon – Luke Harrop Memorial in 2003.

Snowsill snags the gold

Emma Snowsill, another Australian native, emerged as the champion at the 2003 Queenstown ITU Triathlon World Championships. Certainly not a stranger to the grueling race, Snowsill first made herself and her country proud when she brought home the gold during the 2000 Perth ITU Triathlon World Championships in the 16-20 age group category. She was voted as Australia’s Triathlete of the Year 2000 as well. Snowsill was Luke Harrop’s girlfriend at the time of Harrop’s tragic accident.

Sources:

Hunter Kemper Athlete Bio

Joe Zemaitis

List of professional cyclists who died during a race

Anger over 18 months’ parole for driver of stolen car who killed triathlete

Focus on Emma’s win, not Luke’s death: Harrop

Woman Charged in Luke Harrop’s Death

Gentle Reminder In Memory Of Luke Harrop

Emma Snowsill, Loretta Harrop’s special bond

History of Triathlon: 2002

Triathlon competitions have become so popular that races continued to crop up around the globe. As with anything that enjoys such prominence, the sport got inevitably plagued with controversies, like the doping charges lodged against Spencer Smith, and the funds misuse and election fraud allegations against the International Triathlon Union (ITU).

2002 stands out though as controversies were particularly rife during the year.

Triathlon event causes stir

In the beginning of the year, the Lancaster Family YMCA Triathlon made the headlines. The race had been held annually since 1982, with a volunteer group comprising of local fire and police personnel handling the traffic for the event.

Lancaster YMCA Triathlon
(image via www.slowtwitch.com)

However, in 2002, the eight-member volunteer group all voted against working for the race. The organizers of the event had to hurriedly find security help for the race scheduled September 7, 2002.

The disagreement was really over Lancaster Family YMCA’s reading of Harry Potter excerpts to children enrolled in the group’s after-school program. The volunteer security group accused this chapter’s Christian association of not serving the will of God and instead promoting witchcraft.

Instead of dampening the prospects of the fund-raising competition, the controversy it got embroiled in only made it more popular, with over 600 triathletes turning up on race day.

Prestige status for ITU Triathlon World Cup

Discord over race scheduling occurred between the world governing body ITU and the national federation USA Triathlon during the year.

The conflict started when USA Triathlon green-lit the 2002 Lifetime Fitness Triathlon scheduled July 20 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Said race had more than $180,000 USD prize purse.

ITU, on the other hand, had long set the date for its 2002 Corner Brook ITU Triathlon World Cup on July 21. This race, meanwhile, had only $60,000 USD prize purse.

It’s known that triathletes vying for a spot on their respective country’s Olympic triathlon team compete in as many Olympic-qualifying races as they can to earn world ranking points. To differentiate its World Cup event, and to attract more competitors, the ITU then designated its event as a “prestige” race with higher points.

Prior to this, the usual points granted to ITU World Cup top ten placers were: 500 (1st); 463 (2nd); 428 (3rd); 396 (4th); 366 (5th); 339 (6th); 313 (7th); 290 (8th); 268 (9th); and 248 (10th).

With the prestige status of the 2002 Corner Brook ITU Triathlon World Cup, higher points were granted as follows: 750 (1st); 695(2nd); 642 (3rd); 594 (4th); 549 (5th); 509 (6th); 470 (7th); 435 (8th); 402 (9th); 372 (10th), with 20% higher points applying down to the 50th place.

Triathlete disqualified from competing

Kelly Guest, a member of the Triathlon Canada Team, was sent home before the commencement of the 2002 Commonwealth Games. On July 14, Guest’s sample A urine turned up positive for the prohibited performance enhancing drug nandrolone.

Guest, along with coach Paul Regensburg, requested that sample B urine be tested. This too came back positive on July 30, prompting a 2-year competition ban. Guest denied nandrolone use and cited that the nutritional supplements he’d been taking may be what caused the positive drug test result.

Guest placed 2nd during the 2001 Canadian Triathlon Championships, next to the triathlon Olympic gold medalist Simon Whitfield. This made Guest the number-two-ranked Canadian triathlete at the time the doping infraction was handed out.

Sources:

Potter books cause stir in Pennsylvania Town

This Week’s Sign of the Apocalypse

Lancaster Family YMCA Triathlon

Olympics article archive

Team Canada send triathlete home

Triathlete tests positive

Triathlete Guest’s positive doping test confirmed

‘Unstable urine’ doesn’t answer doping case