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Sports Then and Now



History of Triathlon 0

Posted on November 11, 2020 by Tyler Tafelsky

As the sport’s most widely known origins, triathlon was modernized in the mid-1970s on the pacific coast of the U.S. Started by the San Diego Track Club in 1974, the first known official triathlon took place in Misson Bay on September 25th, and had 46 athletes involved.

According to Ironman, couple Judy and John Collins raced that event in San Diego and later planted the seed for triathlon events in Hawaii when they moved there a year later.

By 1978, Judy and John held the “Around the Island Triathlon,” which involved the standard triathlon distances of today’s Ironman – a 1.2-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run. And by 1980, this particular Ironman distance of triathlon quickly became a professional endurance event you now see televised every October as the world championships.

Although the mid-70s and early 80s eras remain to be the most popular story of triathlon’s history, such multisport events were taking place long before then in Europe.

Rewind 50 Years to France in the 1920s

Sports historians draw back to the 1920s era when French culture was hosting triathlon events. In fact, the French were some very first to pioneer and make popular various endurance sport we see today.

Back in the 1920s, French triathletes would participate in events called “Les trois sports”, which translates “the three sports’. These multisport events sometimes went by various names, including “La Course des Débrouillards” (the race of the resourceful) and “La course des Touche à Tout” (the race of the jack-of-all-trades). These various historic triathlons took place in French harbor cities like Marseilles and La Rochelle.

Although triathlon’s French roots and current most popular races involve swimming, biking, and running, athletes were continuously experimenting with different types of athletic combinations. There are still to this day a wide variety of triathlon formats, multisport events, and governing bodies.

Read the rest of this entry →

Ironmen – Elite and Everyday 1

Posted on August 08, 2013 by Daniel Lofthouse

Chrissie Wellington has developed into a record-setting triathlete.

Chrissie Wellington has developed into a record-setting triathlete.

In the past, feats including marathon and triathlon were accolades only a few could boast. Only the elite were understood to have the natural capability and mental strength for such challenges. Today, this notion is all but eroded. Today, ‘ordinary’ athletes train around family and professional commitments to not only complete, but to race in prestigious events. Regular people have a thirst for ambition and continue to push personal and industry boundaries.

The Ironman Triathlon, for example, is a pursuit that is growing in availability, and popularity, against all odds. The 2.4-mile swim, followed by 112-mile bike ride culminating in a marathon distance run is a daunting prospect for even the fittest of athletes.  In its infancy, the event wasn’t wholly competitive, more a quest for survival. The achievement was simply to finish within the stated time. It was the intense rivalry between Dave Scott and Mark Allen that catapulted the legendary Kona Ironman from test to race, in 1989.

Another personality making Ironman history is world- champion, Chrissie Wellington, who is the only triathlete- male or female- to have won the Ironman TriathlonWorld Championship less than a year after turning professional. Formerly a marathon runner with little background in endurance, Chrissie Welllington went on too lower the world record every time she raced the triathlon Challenge Roth in Germany. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Stan Jones – Weight Training Trailblazer
      October 11, 2020 | 1:48 pm
      Stan Jones

      The Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month was one of the great linemen of his era and is considered a trailblazer for using weight training and conditioning to develop his skills.

      After a standout career at the University of Maryland, Stan Jones spent nine seasons as an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, making seven Pro Bowl appearances and earning first team All-Pro three times.

      In 1962, assistant coach George Allen suggested Jones move to defense to help solidify that unit for the Bears. He played both ways in 1962 and then in 1963 moved permanently to the defense.

      Read more »

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