A response for those asking my opinion on the Collins Cup.
I fully support and give thanks to the facilitators of the financial opportunity that has been given, with the backing of the PTO. This has been even more remarkable, as they have stuck 100% through the most difficult of times that has hit triathlon as hard as any other sector within the world community. That in itself should be lauded, for it shows the serious intent to make the life of professional triathletes better.
Was the Collins Cup a success? The best way I can be honest, is to point out that it went exactly how I told the officials it would go, as far back as 3 years ago when it was first discussed with me; and on each subsequent season till its activation.
Does it have a future? Yes. Is there a better format? Yes. Could it become more exciting? Yes.
I remind us all that this was the first edition. Lessons will be learned, refinements because of those lessons, can be made. It's my hope that in the long term, looking after all pros will not be lost on the directors. A few innovations in how athletes are funded should enhance the prospect of the top 50 ranked athletes being 'looked after', not just the top 10.
The long term viability of the Collins Cup, and PTO will be judged on this!
This should not be lost in the mist of marketing hype. In that quest, I'm 100% behind the new initiatives. I have been constructively critical towards the WTC (Ironman) and their failure to provide a career path for young athletes to follow that allows their talent to be fostered over time, so they can be the next generation of Ironman athletes. Like it or not, one has to only look at the average age of the top Iron distance pros. We have a sports problem, as any young aspiring athletes that are not financially privileged can't hope to sustain the training and racing protocol to make that level. This I know, as it's my bread and butter.
The breeding ground for Ironman recruitment in the past has been ITU Olympic distance races. However, ITU is racing hell-bent down the road where within the next 10 years Olympic distance racing will be viewed as their iron-distance!
Races will continue to become shorter and shorter, moving away from the actual DNA of the sport; the bedrock of the sport as it was perceived. What is that? To endure, and a test of ones character.
For those, that think I'm exaggerating, just last week, the national championships of a viable federation was held in a pool swimming 350m, followed by 8km for the bike, and the mighty test of the run was a pitiful 2.3km
If the PTO want to preserve the Collins values of what they started, then it's time they developed their own athletes, because soon, the disconnect of ITU and long distance triathlon will be such a huge chasm, it will be like table tennis and court tennis. Both have the name of tennis.
I look forward to the PTO to start developing pathways for the younger athletes while providing a living, not for the top 10, but for as a first step, the top 50 athletes; with a goal ahead for the top 100.
The Collins Cup is not the start, but a shop window to say we are here. Well done.
I await for the PTO to start working on what the real mandate should be: to become the real custodians of the sport. That should be the goal.
That race has yet to start. I look forward to that with enthusiasm!
Just the way I see it.
(Cover photo: Jane Hansom - Head of Comms PTO)