Triathlon Digest: Tuesday, February 10, 1998
Vol. 2, No. 30
Published by Triathlon Central
In This Issue:
* Comment on Gerard Vroomen's ITU World Cup ideas (from Karen
* Recognition of world champs events for grants (from David
* A conversation with Sian Welch (from Alvin Chriss, USA)
* Results: La Serena Triathlon (from Rodrigo Salas, Chile)
* Canadian Triathletes/Duathletes of the Year (from Barrie Shepley,
Notes from Katherine:
Corrections: Canada's Grant Bullington, who I misidentified as a
pro in Monday's Digest, says: "I am anything but ...". He IS director of
Xero Industries in Victoria, BC, which produces the new X-Wing aerobars.
And, Paul O'Brien, 5th at Santos on Sunday, is from Australia, not
From: Karen Smyers
I don't know who Gerard is but he has written one of the most intelligent and
direct posts that I have seen in a long time. How about running for ITU
From: David Baldwin
Subject: Recognition of world champs events
At a local triathlon association committee meeting last week (in Canberra)
I saw another perspective on just how far the issues of ITU vs WTC can
reach. We were discussing the distribution of a modest grant from the
government to assist age-group athletes to attend world championship events.
Money was granted to those who had travelled to Perth for the triathlon worlds
and a slightly larger sum (since it was overseas) to those who had travelled
to Gernika for the duathlon worlds.
Because the Hawaii Ironman is not recognised as a world championship by
triathlon's peak international body (ie ITU), the government will not grant
money to age-groupers who compete there, so they were not eligible to receive
any of the grant.
Subject: A Conversation with Sian Welch
"Do you think things are better now for pro athletes than before?", Sian
Welch asked me when we met in Santos last weekend. Before answering, I
gave her question careful thought.
Sian is a friend and an athlete who has worked to support athlete
causes. I knew the answer I gave would be important to her. Finally,
I replied: "Things are better, and athletes have many more things to be
glad about this year." My answer was sincere.
Both of us agreed that last year, when athletes let the federations know
just how strongly they opposed the ITU Uniform Rules and the ITU
Competitors Agreement, the ITU backed down. Sian and I both hoped that
once learned, the lesson would not need to be repeated.
A kinder and gentler ITU interface with athletes seems to be possible.
Brian Hinton's (he's on the ITU Executive Board) effort to breathe new
life into the ITU Athlete Commission under its able chairperson - Jill
Newman - is a case in point. Didier Lehanoff's leadership of ETU is a
bright light in our sport's governance. And Les McDonald telling athletes
twice he was sorry they had been mistreated remains a 1997 highlight.
As Sian and I spoke, I thought everyone should be happy for all this.
But I found it troubling that Les McDonald places all the blame for the
mistreatment of athletes squarely on PSE, ITU's marketing and television
partner. In truth, Les McDonald shares some of that blame, and his
distancing ITU from PSE is becoming a recurrent 1998 theme. That could
mean trouble for the sport - and eventually for its athletes.
The strong desire for unity, harmony and progress can be seen in many
recent postings on the Triathlon Digest. Nevertheless, persistent
reports pointing to a lack of unity and harmony (and even a possible
rupture) between ITU and PSE should not be ignored when discussing the
sport's future. The reason why there still is no 1998 ITU World Cup
schedule is because of dissension between ITU and PSE. Many changes in
the PSE/ITU arrangement may be imminent. This uncertainty, coupled with
increasing PSE/ITU dissension, could threaten the sport's further
Finding the sponsorship the sport needs still has not been accomplished
by PSE. Since PSE's first priority at this time is to recover the
moneys it has provided ITU, there's bound to be less money for the
sport and its athletes - because most of ITU's funding comes from PSE.
Will PSE look for another agency to help market and televise the ITU
Triathlon World Cup and World Championship? And what will that change
mean to the sport, financially and politically? These were not
questions that could be discussed in Santos. These are potential trouble
spots which only a united sport will be able to deal with.
Being positive and upbeat about what's been accomplished, as Sian and I
were, didn't mean that we pretended to see no clouds on the horizon.
However, both of us felt that every cloud has a silver lining. In this
case, the silver lining is that ITU will need the support and cooperation
of athletes more than ever. PSE is bound to try to take advantage of
ITU. But with the support of athletes, ITU may be able to salvage
something from its bad contract with PSE.
Athletes as a group are the key to continuing the shaping of ITU
policies for the better. It was the PTG uproar in 1997 that made it
possible for 1998 to be a better year for athletes. For ITU and PSE,
1998 is not likely to be a good year. Between now and the ITU Congress
meeting in Sydney in 2000, pro athletes will have many important
opportunities to help guide the sport to a rosy future. Harmony, unity
and progress depend on a many factors. First and foremost is that athletes
be treated right by the powers that be. A close second is that athletes
take a meaningful part in sport governance.
By the time we said goodbye, I think Sian and I understood one another -
and the sport - a little better.
From: Rodrigo Salas, Chile
Subject: Results, La Serena Triathlon
Results from La Serena Triathlon in Chile that changed to a "duathlon"
because of El Nino-inflicted weather:
10k run, 40k bike, 5k run
1. Cristian Bustos, Chile 1:49:54
2. Nick Southwell, Canada 1:51:52
3. Francisco Zurob, Chile 1:55:09
1. Claudie Cortes, Chile 2:08:54
2. Pamela Niedmann, Chile 2:17:18
From: Barrie Shepley
Subject:1997 Canadian Triathletes of the Year
Our 1997 Canadian Triathletes and Duathletes of the Year were named
during the Christmas holidays when the Digest was down. Join me in
recognizing Canada's top athletes of 1997:
Topping the list were Long Distance award winners Heather Fuhr
and Peter Reid, who also picked up the overall female and male "Canadian
Triathlete of the Year" awards. Fuhr, of Stony Plain, Alberta, won both
Ironman Japan and the Hawaii Ironman. Reid, of Victoria, B.C., won both
Ironman Australia and Ironman Lanzarote, and finished fourth for the
second year in a row at the Hawaii Ironman.
Sharon Donnelly, of Ottawa, Ontario, and Simon Whitfield of Kingston,
Ontario, picked up the respective male and female World Cup distance
Triathletes of the Year. Donnelly, the national triathlon champion, ended
the year ranked 15th in the world. Whitfield upset triathlon superstar
Simon Lessing in one of the stages of the French Iron Tour, and capped
his season with a thrilling top 10 finish at the ITU World Championships in
Junior Triathlete award winners were Daniel Wells of Holland Landing,
Ontario, and Nerissa Johnson of Comox, BC. Both Wells and Johnson were
members of the 1997 National team and competed in Perth in November.
Canadian Duathlete of Year awards went to the Canadian champions, Sarah
Howell of Port Moody, BC, and Brian Barkhouse of Chester, Nova Scotia.
Junior Duathletes of the Year were Brent McMahon of Vancouver, BC, and
Kristine Chambers of Vancouver, BC. McMahon placed 15th in the 1997 ITU
Duathlon World Championships in Gernika. Chambers won the World
Championship bronze medal.
Canadian National Team Head Coach
End of Triathlon Digest, which is sponsored by Triathlon Sourcebook. Please