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Where Are They Now?

Carl Thomas


Carl Thomas on the Queen K Highway in 1985. At the time Bud Light was the sponsor of Thomas' U.S. Triathlon Series, and the Ironman in Kona. 


Thomas in 2010, striking the Heisman pose with his trophy at the USAT Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

It can be argued that without Carl Thomas, triathlon might not be an Olympic sport.  As vice president of Speedo USA, Thomas led the company into a sponsorship/ownership of the still-unborn U.S. Triathlon Series in 1981. The USTS was the brainchild of Jim Curl, a UC Berkeley law grad with a passion for endurance sports. Thomas not only embraced Curl’s vision enthusiastically, but expanded upon it. Within a year he was espousing the young sports’ Olympic potential to all who would listen. The following year he teamed up with Curl to form CAT Sports, negotiated a buyout of the USTS from Speedo, and sold title sponsorship of the Series to Anheuser Busch’s Bud Light brand – an association that extended into title sponsorship of the Ironman in Hawaii and did much to enhance the national and international awareness of triathlon. 

Throughout the 1980’s Thomas was tireless in his efforts to forge the first European-US triathlon alliance and to promote the sport internationally. Les McDonald of Canada is widely and accurately credited with driving the sport across the Oympic finish line, but Thomas’ early work set the table for McDonalds’s later success. 

n inductee of the USAT Triathlon Hall of Fame (2010), Thomas remains active in endurance sports as President and CEO of X-Lab, a San Diego-based manufacturer of waterproof audio accessories.