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Where Are They Now?

Linda Buchanan

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Linda Buchanan after her victory at the NIce Triathlon in 1983.


Buchanan in 2013, still in the fitness and endurance business and still an Oakland fan, too.  

In the wake of the accidental brilliance of the Julie Moss/Kathleen McCartney affair at the 1982 Ironman came a necessary and substantial question: Are female endurance athletes really that tough? 

The person who singularly addressed that query through her athletic performance was Linda Buchanan. Beginning in the summer of 1983, Buchanan, a thoughtful and introspective swimmer from Northern California, dominated the female ranks of the sport, winning over fifty percent of every race she entered until her admittedly too-soon retirement in 1988.

“Nike dropped me when I turned thirty years old,” Buchanan remembers, “and I thought the world had ended.”  The performative mind wonders how far Linda Buchanan might have gone had she made an occupational leap. And we remind ourselves that in 1988 less than five triathletes in the world were earning a living wage commensurate with their efforts. During that period only one female, Paula Newby Fraser, appeared to find material rewards for her significant efforts and contribution.

Buchanan entered the world of sports commerce in 1989, logging twelve years with the sports nutrition company, GU, as Sales and Promotion Manager. She also earned an MA in Sport Psychology/Sociology, a degree that enabled her current place as Lecturer in the Kinesiology Department at California State University, East Bay. Linda has remained connected to endurance sports as author and coach.  She claims to have no regrets.