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

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.

ST (Scott Tinley): Wait a minute. Are you saying you missed the entire Julie Show?

VS: I was told Julie was in the med tent. So I went to see her. On the way, I was met by Diana Nyad, the distance swimmer, who also was a color commentator for ABC that year. Diana gave me a hug and said, “Don’t let those guys get you down, Val.” I thanked her for her kindness, as I fought hard against tears.

Julie was on a cot in the med tent. She actually looked great. I sat down on the cot next to her. She said, “Well, Valerie, do you think second place is good enough to let me come back next year?”

I remember admiring her indomitable spirit and smiling at her question. “Sure, Julie. It’s good enough to come back next year,” but I knew there wouldn’t be a next year.

ABC’s habit was to postpone the Ironman broadcast for a few months after the event, but not this time. The Feb. ’82 race aired only two weeks later. Then Wide World of Sports did something unprecedented in its history. The response to the show was so tremendous that ABC televised it again only two weeks after the first broadcast.

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.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The boat escort has always and already been a part of the Escape experience. In ’91 Oakes and Co. organized a traditional whaling boat to keep the swimmer safes from cargo ships and white whales. Photo courtesy of Eric Gilsenan

“If the earth has a soul and Alcatraz Island is stuck in some geographical purgatory, it would all make sense, would it not? It could pay the penance of all those who had used this place for evil by itself acting like a bridge. -- S.Tinley, from The Alcatraz Swimmer’s Manual by Joe Oakes

“One day when I die, I hope that most of what flashes before my eyes includes memories of the Tuesday Run.” -- Paul Huddle
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Left to right: Gary Peterson, Kathleen McCartney, ST, Tom Lux, Chris Miller, Ted Pulaski, Steve Fletcher, and Stan Silbert. Photo: Mike Plant

Like many things that shaped the sport of triathlon, the Tuesday Run was catalyzed mostly by accident. And a little design. Nothing but a group of like-minded endurance freaks in search of their mirror deviates…in search of speed. When that handful of San Diego-based triathletes decided sometime in the spring of 1983 to meet every Tuesday morning, it began a 20-year streak of pleasure and pain. The time was 7:30 AM. and the entry point was a public street adjacent to the private Lomas Santa Fe Country Club.