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The Sport of Triathlon
Triathlon is a relatively new sport that
was born in the United States and became popular in the mid 80s. Distances range from short "sprint" races to the well-known Ironman distances. "Olympic distance" triathlon has grown into a mature competition that was the featured event at the 2000 Sydney, Australia Summer Olympics and continues to be a summer Olympic sport. Triathlon is a multi-sport event that includes a swim race, followed by a bike race, followed by a running race. All three races are then timed as one event. The clock runs from the start of the swim until the end of the run. There are both age group and professional competitions.

Elite Triathlon
The International Triathlon Union World Championships are held annually at different locations throughout the world. In 1998, those championships were held in Lausanne, Switzerland, home of the International Olympic Committee. US athletes  Siri Lindley and Barb Lindquist, ranked 1 and 2 in the world in 2002, were soundly beaten in that race by the Australians who finished 1, 2, 3. Barb was considered a top contender for a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games, ultimately finishing ninth in that competition. The US needs to attract a new wave of young athletes to carry on that kind of progress and help the country compete in the sport it created.


Jennifer Gutierrez won the USAT Goodwill Games elite qualifier earlier in the year when Barb Lindquist collapsed two miles from the finish, but Jennifer was the one being consoled during the  Lausanne ITU World Championships. Following a good swim (19:55) she left the race with a rush of air from a flat tire and waited for her teammates at the finish line.

Jennifer Gutierrez is consoled by top US finisher Barb Lindquist in the finish area.

ennifer Gutierrez is consoled by tBarb Lindquist.

P98WLinSir02.jpg (23831 bytes) Siri Lindley couldn't quite latch on to the lead bike pack but managed to tough it out enough to cross the line in 15th place and help the US to a second place team finish.

 

Siri Lindley grits it out up the narrow streets of old Lausanne.


Waiting is the hardest part of competition for those on the top--and those hoping to get there. Emma Carney, Michellie Jones and Barb Lindquist hang out at the swim start during last-minute course prep and contemplate the opening signal that will usher in the next two hours of their competitive lives.

Carney, Jones, Lindquist wait.

Carney, Jones and Linquist wait.

Loretta Harrop leads the pack. The only point in the race when everyone shares the same time is before the gun. Anxious not to lose their position, hopefuls hurry into the water behind a casual green-capped Emma Carney and Goodwill Games Champion Loretta Harrop.

Loretta Harrop leads the pack into the swim.


Racers had to contemplate the 17 percent climb out of old Lausanne four times before the final descent back to T2. Not enough of a hill to break up the packs, the pitch still burned a few legs and added to the spectacle of the race. Gale Laurence helped set much of the pace and kept her teammates within reach of the top ten and a team second.

 

 

 

 

Gale Laurence and the lead pack approach the apex of the bike.

The lead pack approaches the apex of the bike.

Evelyn Williamson with her country's flag. Evelyn Williamson carried her third-place finish down the final 100 meters of the course like a first-place champion. With pride and enthusiasm she would rush to call New Zealand and tell her mother what she and the spectators already knew, "I did good."

 

 

 

 

Evelyn Williamson shares the glory of her top-three finish by waving her country's flag.


Defending World Champion Chris McCormack had a sensational race at world's last year but has not realized the same success throughout the season. Granted a "1" in deference to Perth, even he sensed that the number being stamped onto his body before the race would be his for only a short time longer.

 

 

 

Defending World Champion Chris McCormack at body marking.

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P98WLesSim03.jpg (20421 bytes) The top-ranked ITU athletes receive variously colored swim caps to help them stand out from the crowd. Simon Lessing likes to blend in and doffed his colors in favor of the baby blue of the masses.

 

Simon Lessing about to take the plunge.


Miles Stewart was not among the favorites in Lausanne, but he didn't care. Working with his mates, he caught up to the lead bike pack and then used his Aussie heart to post a sub 32-minute run and take the bronze.

 

 


 

Miles Stewart picks up the pace through the last 2k of the run.

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P98WMBike02.jpg (30092 bytes) The main chase pack began the loop back to downtown Lausanne that would see them catch the leaders.

 

 

The main chase pack (including Wes Hobson in blue) worked together in pursuit of the leaders.


Jimmy Riccitello got out of the water too late to join the main chase pack and take advantage of his biking skills. Doomed to play catch up for the remainder of the day, he continued to race through the last 2k of the run.

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Riccitello raced for a top-three finish among the Americans and 32nd overall.

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P98WMPod01.jpg (24035 bytes) Under the spotlight of a setting sun, Simon Lessing acknowledged the reacquisition of the ITU crown and casual dominance over his would-be peers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simon Lessing savors his fourth world championship win.


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