Updated: Sep 26
Last weekend saw the running of the iconic 70.3 Oceanside, viewed as the opening long distance race of the northern hemisphere season, and for the better known athletes. It's iconic not because of race architecture but because of its history. The power names on the trophy and the length of time it has been running.
Much has been made of the new wave of young athletes sticking it to the established champions. Of course we are very excited to see our Brazilian Viking Foundation athlete, Luisa Baptista continue her meteroic rise with such a great 2nd place finish. Yes, she is the genuine out of the blue new prospect. We want to pass on to her how proud we at Trisutto, and our followers, are of her efforts. Not just because of her result, but for the extra motivation, showing all our Viking Foundation athletes that through following good training practices, they too can one day produce results like this.
However, Luisa while new to long distance racing is far from a rookie. As seen in previous blogs, Luisa has benefitted from Trisutto coaching principles from the very start. Her coaches have been Cali, followed by his then assistant Eduardo Braz, who took over as head coach at Sesi; a social project in Brazil that helps so many underprivileged kids to follow their dreams, providing both school as well as coaching. The program that enabled Luisa to compete at the Olympics.
I mention this because just like the other 'new athletes', there is nothing new about them.
Following the race coverage, I felt sorry for Taylor Knibb who went into the race as the form athlete over this distance. She destroyed the best in the world at the Collins Cup. When I did my form for the race, I thought Taylor was the bench mark that we needed to aspire too. She deserved that public recognition.
Paula Findlay destroyed every one at the PTO Challenge held in Daytona (2020) with a scintillating performance, while also not being a 'rookie' but Canada's best ITU racer for years. One could also inform the public that Ashleigh Gentle who ran into 4th at Oceanside is an absolute veteran of the Australian team and an Olympian for many years.
Whats the point Sutto?
The point is the childish policy of Ironman (formerly WTC) to actively ignore results and past achievements of athletes in any races outside of the Ironman brand. So much for the custodians of the sport.
This behavior is one of the reasons Ironman now have competition themselves.
Years of basically robbing pro athletes of financial opportunities while they have turned themselves into a billion dollar behemoth off the backs of athletes they have thrown scraps to as prize money. This might have finally back fired on them!
Their solution is easy. It should have been to prevent the new competitor in the first place: Pay the athletes to appropriate levels, as the new competitor is now doing.
Shunning athletes performances and ignoring the opposition in the hope it will go away is a misguided strategy. Taking all the money and berating athletes who want more than tokenism, is not good for their brand.
First steps should have been to acknowledge the champions while also setting aside a proper prize pool for pros, thus killing the opportunity for an entity to challenge their monopoly.
While it's late in the game now, that still is the way forward for Ironman in the future. Instead of ignoring that a new reality exists, to accept it and laud the successes and results of the pro athletes taking part in all events, not just their own brand.
Our sport is a big pie and there is plenty to go around. Two wrongs never make a right. This issue is both harmful and demeaning to the sport, and ultimately to themselves.
Congratulations to all the successes of Oceanside, not just this year but as we salute the past of this iconic race, long may it continue!
Just the way I see it.