Empfield/Kidder kill olympic triathlon ?

--- In triathlondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, Dawn Hunter wrote:

>>However, to come back to triathlon, was it not originally an
>>individual sport? And apart from television, would it not be more
>>interesting if at the Olympics it was again an individual sport and
>>drafting was taken out of the equation? Just a thought.

After the almost complete failure of team GB in the triathlon at the Olympics, heck Marc Jenkins did a great job at holding up the British sense of fair play by running with his broken bike, and Michelle Dillion came in a fair 6th but pulled the old "zipper" excuse(again for her!), and Jodie Swallow lived up to expectations here if not elsewhere. The most interesting part of the discussion over on the triathlondiscussion Yahoo group as a result of an article written and published by Dan Empfield.

Right after the Olympic triathlon Dan Empfield published this Tactics at Athens piece. Now its rare I disagree with Dan, in fact mostly I look up to him in a funny, virtual sense having only seen him once at a distance. He stands for most things I've grown to love about the sport, non-drafting, lower race prices, less overhead, more interesting races at variable distances, attention to detail.

Many of you will know that Dan was elected to the USA Triathlon board in their recent emergency elections. Dan qoutes sometime USAT/ITU member Lew Kidder in his article. I also "like" Lew, although we've never met, we have exchanged views on a couple of topics on rec.sport.triathlon and Lew is concerned about the price of the USAT Day race license, so we have something in common, only mine is the BTA Day license.

Anyway, the nub of their discussion is that for the USA Triathlon team to be succesful in 2008 they need to race as a team rather than individuals. They need to swim and especially bike like a team, leaving a fast runner to scoop the gold. In order to make this work, they postulate that USAT build an award fund to pay members of the USAT Triathlon team to get one person to the gold and then split the money amongst them. So the implication is, now Dan is on the USAT board this could become policy.

What set me really thinking was another article, published by Lew on Wednesday(9/1) I've personally killed the sport of duathlon. It was the title that prompted me to write this along with Dawns' contribution to triathlondiscussion.

If Dan and Lew get their way what will be left at an Olympic level of the non-drafting individual sport? We would be better having a team time trial, four team members, first three finishers count for the gold medal. It needn't be run like a team time trial in cycle races, but could still be run like it is today. Except, let’s do away with the "softy" pontoon starts and use an Ironman-like mass start.

Paying people to lose at the Olympics, sorry Dan but you've done more than kill duathlon, you've proposed killing the Olympic triathlon! What would Baron Pierre De Coubertin say to that ?

The important thing in life is not the victory but the contest; the essential thing is not to have won but to have fought well.


The Olympic Games were created for the exaltation of the individual athlete.

Like it or not, where goes America in triathlon, so goes others. Still, I hear there will be a good turnout of the GB Olympic team at Liverpool on Sunday, the BTA determined to live up to their billing of Liverpool as the "Britain's most prestigious triathlon" have pulled a 3-line whip(to use the vernacular) and required a number of WCPP Athletes drop out of ITU races and cancel other plans. Sigh... if you say something enough times it becomes true... drafting races are not bad, the BTA is working to improve triathlon at all levels of sport.
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