Welcome to trihistory.com

History, it has been argued, is written by the victors. But In this case, it is being written by a few of us who were there and are willing to write it. A fool’s errand, perhaps.  Surely, the question will be asked and answered: Does anyone really care? Time will tell.  

Why trihistory.com?  Well, why history of anything at all? Historians are driven to remember, record, interpret. It feels almost genetic. You’re either interested in the past or you’re not. It means something to you or it doesn’t.  But if it does -- and particularly if it’s connected to a physical activity in which you are actively, perhaps even passionately, involved – you’re all in. We’re interested in the history of triathlon for the same reason we’re interested in the history of our families, our parents; it matters how it all came together. It matters because we are both players in the ongoing genealogical drama and products of all that has gone before. 

The Latest Features

TriHistory.com hosts founders and legends in a wide-ranging opverview of the sports first four decades. 

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.

Among the participants were Don Shanahan, who along with Jack Johnstone, came up with the idea for the world's first triathlon — 6 miles of running, 5 miles of cycling and 500 yards of swimming — and Bill Phillips, the overall winner of that inaugural Mission Bay triathlon — a 46-person race that had to be illuminated by car headlights because it took place after work, starting at 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 25, 1974.

"We didn't realize it was going to be dark," Shanahan said. "We had no police, no permit, no authority. We just showed up."

That fact was not missed by the organizers of this event, two-time Ironman world champion Scott Tinley and triathlon journalist Mike Plant, who gathered some 30 of the movers and shakers of triathlon from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s last night around a boardroom table at San Diego's Challenged Athletes Foundation at 6 p.m., precisely 40 years later, to reminisce about the early history of the sport for their website, trihistory.com.

Nina Kraft's long road back from doping disgrace

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.

Scott Tinley's 40 Defining Moments of Triathlon 

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.

WTC CEO Andrew Messick talks with Triathlon History's Scott Tinley about Ironman's role in preserving (and making) the sport's history

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? TriHistory.com'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?


Kona Notes - Go Dana!

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's not just the athletes, it's the hoards of supporters that help make the Ironman a big financial asset for the State of Hawaii. Let's hear it for Dana!

The early conflicts between the Kona locals and the Ironman event were resolved long ago. There are lots of reasons for that, not the least of which is a strong community relations effort on the part of the Ironman organization. But the enormous financial impact to the State's economy is a huge factor too. Pretty much everyone benefits – and not simply because the athletes stay on the island for 7-10 days and eat like horses throughout. Like this group demonstrating along Palani Road, at the beginning of the bike ride, the athletesoften bring entire teams of supporters with them: moms, dads, uncles, cousins, wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends. Hell, it seems sometimes like one of each. Go Dana!

Kona Notes -- Like It Was Yesterday

Monday, October 20, 2014

Standing with a photo of Julie Leach that I took 32 years ago. Seems like yesterday. 

The seawall along Alii Drive is decorated during race week with large images of former winners of the Hawaii event. It was great to see my image of Julie Leach, from the October, 1982, race, among the pics. That was my first trip to Kona; I was writing and shooting for my own publication, as well as for the debut issue of Triathlon magazine. I remember so clearly taking this shot – walking back and forth along the Highway, half-stunned to be where I was and almost breathless over the drama I was witnessing – from as close up as I wanted to be. Those early days were golden for the few of us covering the sport. If you had a press pass you could go anywhere. I did.

Kona Notes - Tour de Kona

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chalking Alii Drive before the race. Allez! Allez!

With the finish line end of Alii Drive turned into a pedestrian mall for most of race week, chalking the road to inspire or congratulate friends and family has become an important part of the Ironman spectator ritual. Which is not to say that too many folks running down that last stretch after being on the course for more than a normal workday will actually notice, but the good wishes are genuine , often touching, and add a lot to the big-event atmosphere.

Kona Notes - Dig Me?

Monday, October 20, 2014

One for two -- This young triathlete from England knew what Dig Me meant, but had no idea in the world who Scott Tinley is.

Spotted this pair of fit guys from England at Huggo's on Friday, the night before the race. The man on the left is dad, to the right is his son, who was scheduled to race the following day. (I know, they look like bloody brothers.) I couldn't resist asking if the son knew what the term "Dig Me" meant, and to my surprise he did: "Sure, it's the beach where the race starts, isn't it?" he replied.

"Exactly," I said. "You know, I'm pretty sure my partner Scott Tinley coined that phrase back in 1981. Have you heard of Scott Tinley?"

"No," he said, breaking my nostalgic, history-loving heart. "Well, he won the Ironman here twice," I said. I turned over a coaster and scribbled trihistory.com on the back. "You might enjoy taking a look when you get home. And good luck tomorrow."

My journalistic skills are rusty, I admit. Had I asked the kid his name I could have checked on how he did in the race. I hope well.

Kona Notes - Tri-Bike Fever

Monday, October 20, 2014

Disc Wheels -- Kona rental style. 

I have no idea whether the faux aero wheels on this rental bike was a local spoof or a triathlete with a sense of humor. Good either way, though.