The struggle for professional triathlon
Updated: Sep 9, 2021
Sutto, isn't it great to see all these pros come together! What do you think about the PTO now!?
The announcement of an invitational race, Collins Cup, offering $2 million in appearance fees to the sport's top triathletes has seen a flood of inquiries about whether this represents the long awaited revolution in our sport. Time will tell. Like many of my colleagues who've been around the sport a long time we've seen this movie before.
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Of course I'm very happy to see Mike Moritz willing to pay the top 5 athletes a combined $2.5 million to join the PTO in 2020.
I'm just more frustrated that 21st gets $5,000. Not enough for a week in Kona let alone a professional season.
Also that the vast majority of pros, who need the support most, were either not important enough to be informed or had no say in the distribution of funds in their own athlete organisation.
Those who weren't paid to make social media posts may be similarly frustrated that 'their' flagship TV event consists of an invite only, complicated exhibition event taking place in that triathlon mecca of western Slovakia.
Look, new investors and innovation should always be welcome in triathlon. Both the long and short distance administrations have been mismanaged for so long they deserve a shake up. Whether that's Mike Moritz willing to sponsor the top pros $20 million out of philanthropy, or as is more likely case, so that they can use the pro athletes as leverage to buy Ironman at a discount from a haemorrhaging Wanda. That's up to them.
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But out of respect for the triathlon fans, age groupers and struggling pros who love the sport and are tired of seeing it used as a plaything for rich age groupers, let's be honest about what's happening here. This is not the pro athletes coming together in solidarity. It's pay for play and time will tell how sustainable it is.