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: 1992

Triathlon’s inclusion in the Olympic program just the prior year made the endurance sport even more popular. In 1992, the first ever championship competition in the most populous continent in the world was staged with the help of the sport’s official governing body International Triathlon Union (ITU). The year also saw the participation, not only of professional endurance racers, but of amateur triathletes who will later become prominent names in the sport.

First Asian Triathlon Championships

Triathlon may have become a widely popular multi-discipline sport but it was not until 1991 that an overall governing body was established in Asia. Through the initiative of then International Triathlon Union (ITU) President Les McDonald, the Asian Triathlon Confederation (ASTC) was created, with representatives from China, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, and India taking the key leadership positions.

In 1992, the first ever Asian Triathlon Championship was held in the City of Hasaki in Japan. Nine countries namely China, India, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Malaysia, Korea, and Singapore took part in this ITU-recognized race.

The year’s notable triathletes

Hunter Kemper

Hunter Kemper has been competing in triathlons since he was young. In fact, he dominated the IronKids Triathlon National Championships consecutively for five years since he was 10 years old. In 1992, he took the first prize at the USA Triathlon National Amateur Championship which was held in Cleveland, Ohio.

Hunter Kemper has certainly carved a name for himself in the history of triathlon. As of 2012, it will be his fourth year to represent the United States of America to the Olympic Games. In fact, Hunter Kemper is distinguished for being the only triathlete to make it to the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team for four times, representing the country consecutively since the sport’s debut in the 2000 Olympic Games which was staged in Sydney, Australia.

Hunter Kemper (image via www.teamusa.org)

Mark Allen

In 1992, professional triathlete Mark Allen takes home his fourth Ironman World Championship gold. This competition in Kailua Kona was memorable as he broke his personal record, completing the race six seconds earlier than his 1989 finish.

Charlie Futrell

Charlie Futrell, a retired public school teacher who hailed from Montgomery County, Maryland, competed in his first ever Ironman World Championship in Kailua Kona in 1992 at the age of 72. In this race Charlie Futrell finished with a time of 15 hours, 35 minutes, and 23 seconds, placing 1st in the United States and 3rd overall for his age group category.

Sources:

Asian Triathlon Confederation History

Hunter Kemper Bio

Mark Allen

Charlie Futrell, Senior Triathlete

92 Year Old Triathlete Charles Futrell Passes Away