Triathlon Championships: Perth, Australia
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|Aussie Talent and
Pride Out Races the World
|Perth, Australia, taught the race directors of the world how to run
a world-class event November 16, 1997. The Australian athletes taught the world how to
The Australians--inspired by national pride, a history of competition,
and the emotion of Sidney 2000--dinged the armor of American age-group dominance and
toasted the pros with more intensity than Perth's brilliant sun.
The Aussie age groups set the tone on race day, feeding off the
enthusiastic cheers of the home-country crowd. Green and yellow race suits proceeded
to devour the field and punctuate Australia's reputation for toughness.
A perfect day, a perfect race venue and racing perfection were
conspiring to put Perth on the map.
As the last of the age groupers made their way out of the run
transition, Emma Carney, Jackie Gallagher and Michellie Jones geared up for
an Australian pro-women sweep to the podium.
|Carney pulls through the
bike then runs away
After pulling much of the field through the bike, Carney was determined
to leave no doubt about her number one standing. As the lead group of runners left
the transition, Carney proceeded to anchor a three-woman Australian pace line on the run
that kept Gallagher and Jones spinning to stay in touch.
Jones, her Reeboks crimson with blood from lacerated feet injured
during the run transition, fell off the pace and Gallagher, although strong to the finish,
was no match for Carney's determined speed and her 0:32:53 run split. Carney
finished in 1:59:22, 14 seconds ahead of Gallagher. All that remained for a perfect
Australian afternoon was the men's results.
McCormack too strong
for Carter and Lessing
New Zealand's Hamish Carter and Britain's Simon Lessing managed to
prevent the Aussie machine from total domination of the pro ranks by finishing 2nd and 3rd
to Chris McCormack.
Only 10 seconds apart out of the water, the ITU's draft-legal bike kept
the top five finishers together in front of the chase pack--leaving the outcome of the
race to be determined on foot. Lessing, tagged during the final transition for a loose
helmet strap, would think about the 20 second price well after the run was over.
A wired McCormack set the pace for the run then pumped through the
final kilometer, leaving Carter and Lessing behind and battling in tandem for second
place. McCormack's 29:32 run brought him back to the Esplanade Park finish line in
1:48:29, 12 seconds ahead of Carter and 37 before Lessing.
Top American pros
Barb Lindquist and Jennifer Gutierrez were second and third after the
bike, but neither had the legs to keep pace with the Australians. Gutierrez ultimately
claimed the top American spot in 2:03:14--good for 13th--four seconds ahead of Lindquist.
Jill Newman crossed the line 20 seconds later.
Alec Rukosuev was the top American man at 1:52:19, good for 25th. Wes
Hobson and Marcel Vifian finished 30th and 37th.AG
|Chris McCormick raced with animal intensity and
national pride in his Championship quest.
Chris McCormack eyes Hamish Carter down
St. Georges Terrace in downtown Perth.
Michellie Jones put up a brave fight,
but lacerated feet and a powerful Carney left her third.
|US Age Group
Dominance Meets its Match in Perth
|The American age groupers, used to dominating the world in all but
a handful of categories, often found themselves shut out of the top spot in Perth.
Notable for being the major bright spot for the US at Worlds, the
American AGs were no match for the Australian home court and a hungry Aussie team.
Although the Americans dominated the older age groups, winning 7 of the over-60 slots,
only Peter Kain, 30-34, was able to stake claim to one of the younger categories--by one
second. The Americans still placed in 14 of 24 age groups, but there was no question who
owned top honors for the day.
The Aussie athletes swam, biked and ran down the the field like dogs on
a hunt, demonstrating that the Australian triathlon juggernaut is not content to confine
itself to the pro ranks.
The Australian AGs won a total of 9 age groups. Even more impressive,
they placed in every age category in which they raced except one.
Rinsing off the Swan River.
||More to come
The junior women swept the top four, reminding everyone that the
spotlight shines temporarily at best, even for greats like Emma Carney, Jackie Gallagher,
and Michellie Jones. The top junior woman, Nicole Hackett, finished 4:26 in front of the
next country's top finisher, Delphine Pelletier of France. The top American junior, Sara
Brinkley, finished her trip to Perth 14:31 out in 28th place.
A tight junior men's race left the only top-finish junior/pro void for
Australia. Bryce Quirk finished ninth, 2:34 behind winner Andry Glushchenko from the
Ukraine. Sean Smith was the top American junior in 26th, 4:47 out.AG
Nichole Hackett leaves the transition on
route to her junior women's victory.