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

The Story of BD "Big Dave" Knox and his Most Unlikely Quest
Sunday, July 3, 2016

The collection grows.  ST and Dave Knox make a trade and another poster is signed and changes hands. 

Some stories are told through pages; visual text in black and white. Other stories are orally-woven, verbal campfire chronicles that rattle and shake. And sometimes the best are too often never told in the quiet settlement of a singular person’s quest—a regular person in a regular life, denying the banality of his or her existence by asking why not? Why shouldn’t I do what compels me, what keeps me up at night, however measured or far away? I’m no hero but there is this thing that no one has done. Why not me? This is the unlikely story of just such a quest and the man behind it.
To understand the quest of one David Knox from Spirit Lake, Iowa is to understand not so much the town of Spirit Lake but the constitution of it. As the seat of Dickinson County, the town rests comfortably on the western shores of East Okoboji Lake in the Iowa Great Lakes Region. A 2012 census argued that there were nearly five thousand residents in the area but residents of Spirit Lake are quite typically Iowan-independent, creative, loyal as a bark to tree. Numbers don’t seem to matter much. Dave Knox has lived at the same address in Spirit Lake for 32 years where, along with his wife of 29 years, they raised three sons. He works as a crew foreman for a local investor-owned electric company where his team does high-voltage equipment installation and maintenance.  I’d image the consequences of contact with a multi-phase 440 or 480-volt line are much different than a household light bulb socket. It appears a calculated occupation, steady as a plow horse and from the outside, appears to fit Knox well.  He says he is not unhappy.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tim O'Donnell, with about a mile to go.  He will finish in third place, wobbly, but happy, at the end. If TO and his coach Mark Allen have it right, there are more and bigger things to come. (Photo: Mike Plant/Tri-History)

By all accounts, the performance of 35-year-old American triathlete Tim O’Donnell at the 2015 Ironman World Championships in Kona was a breakthrough – especially so on the bike. There was a discernable note of surprise in the race-day coverage when O’Donnell went strongly to the front on the way down from the turnaround at Hawi. And in interviews after the race, O’Donnell admitted to sharing in that surprise – at least a little. Suddenly, there he was in front. What now?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Valerie Silk, addressing the Ironman award ceremony (circa 1985) 

In part 1, Silk discussed how she acquired the Ironman, why and how she moved it Kona from Oahu, and the early parts of taking the race commercial. Her tale of the Feb. 1982 event where she missed the Julie Moss/Kathleen McCartney episode is the stuff of legend.

In part 2, Valerie offers additional thoughts on those seminal years, her sale to Dr. James Gills of Florida, the current sale-in-works to the Chinese multinational corporation, Dalian Wanda, and her own forgotten legacy within triathlon.

This is first part in a long interview conducted by Scott Tinley in August, 2015. Part 2 will be published at a later date.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Valerie Silk in a contemporary photograph

The Ironman was over and there was no particular place to go.