Thinking of Joining USA Triathlon?

Be a part of our 550,000 member community of multisport athletes. Membership benefits include a subscription to the quarterly USA Triathlon magazine, discounts from USA Triathlon partners, inclusion in the national rankings, excess accident insurance at events, and savings at races. To see why you should join or renew today, visit the membership benefits page. Already a member? Login below.

Forgot Your Password? | Login Help

By Brad Leonard and Alan Schmeiser (April 2011)

Introduction
An objective of the USAT History Project is to recognize and honor important figures of the sport.  Members of the USAT History Project committee compiled three lists of Pioneers of the Sport organized into two categories: Athletes and Founders/Organizers.  The Athletes category is divided into two subcategories according to date: Pre-1983 and 1983-1989.  The Founders and Organizers category lists individuals active during the 1970s to 1989.  The dates 1983 and 1989 were chosen because of the milestones achieved during those two years. 

In 1983 Triathlon Federation/USA was recognized as the National Governing Body of the sport and when it formally offered sanctioning of events, insurance and provided rules, officials, newsletters and other benefits for members and race directors.  1989 was the beginning of transition from Tri-Fed/USA to USAT. 

The criteria for an individual’s inclusion in the list of Pioneers of the Sport were determined by the members of the USAT History Project committee.  However, members of the triathlon community are invited and encouraged to review the lists and submit comments and suggestions to the USAT History Project.  See “Note” at the end of the lists.

Criteria for the Pre-1983 Athletes

  • Raced often and long enough to have been thoroughly immersed in the sport             
  • Top 3 to 5 finisher and/or other achievement (i.e. competed in 5 to 10 races per season for several seasons or competed in 15 events in a 20 year period)           
  • Potential inductee for the USAT Hall of Fame
  • Possible participant in USAT History Project (written account/oral history of personal observation of triathlon evolution, especially during the 1970s to 1983 period; may have artifacts or other items of historical importance to donate for USAT History Project Collection)

Abbreviations: WC = Age Group World Champion; NC = Age Group National Champion; IMWC = Pro or Age Group Ironman World Champion

Pre-1983 Athletes

Adams

Lori

 

Allen

Mark

Pro competitor, 6 time winner IMWC, coach, author

Beck

Robin

Female winner IMWC 1980

Bell

Bill

Older AG competitor

Bellian

Vern

outstanding AG competitor, NC, WC

Bettencourt

Jack

Oldest (52) entrant in 1st Escape from Alcatraz, SF Bay 1981, Won by Dave Horning

Bow

Ardis

Pro competitor, graphic artist for Rules

Brening

Juli

Pro competitor in regional events and HI IM

Buchanan

Linda

Pro competitor

Bulman

Liz

Pro competitor in regional/national events & later AG winner

Brooks

Lyn

AG competitor, Won Nice 1982, 3rd at Ironman 1982

Cannon

Colleen

Pro competitor in local, regional, national events

Chequer-Pfeiffer

Karen

Pro and later AG winner in late 70's and 80's

Clark

Brooks

Pro competitor

Collins

John

Participant in 1974 Mission Bay Tri SD CA - Organized first Hawaii IM Tri in 1978

Collins

Judy

Participant in 1974 Mission Bay Tri SD CA

Davey

Norton

Older AG winner

DeBoom

Tim

Pro competitor at local, regional & national events, 3 time winner HI IM

Demetriou

Jim

AG competitor

Edwards

Sally

AG competitor in early 70's in local, regional events and IM, author, motivator

Ernst

Joanne

Pro competitor in regional/national events and HI IM winner

Fitch

Steve

Pro competitor

Elliott

Dale

 

Good

Dennis

AG competitor in 70's in local, regional events and IM

Gould

Gordon

AG competitor in 70's in local & regional events

Graves

John

 

Graves

Charlie

Pro competitor

Haller

Gordon

Winner 1st Hawaii Ironman, 1978

Hanks

Fletcher

Older AG competitor, RD in Maryland, Deceased

Hansen

Joy

Pro competitor in local, regional/national events and IM

Harper

Dean

NC as Pro, later WC as AG competitor

Hinshaw

Chris

Pro competitor in regional/national events and IM, son of Ed

Hinshaw

Ed

AG competitor in early 80's & HI IM, father of Chris

Horning

Dave

Pro competitor in IM, noted open water swimming competitor, RD Enviro Series

Howard

John

1982 IMWC, three time Olympic cyclist

Huddle

Paul

Pro competitor in regional/national events & in IM, TV announcer

Israel

Diane

Pro competitor

Jacobs

Todd

Pro competitor

Jones

Eney

Pro competitor, noted swimmer

Jones

Russ

 Won 2nd & 3rd Mission Bay Tri in 1975, 1976, Later older AG competitor

Langone

Kenneth

Pro competitor

Laramie

Mike

Older AG competitor

Leach

Bill

AG Competitor, NC, WC

Leach

Julie

Female winner Hawaii Ironman, Oct 1982

Lemaire

Lynn

Female winner 2nd Hawaii Ironman, 1979

Lemucchi

Tim

Older AG competitor

Lloyd

Cheryl

AG competitor

MacIntyre

Mark

Pro competitor

Madden

Kurt

Pro competitor

McCarty

Claire

Pro competitor

McCartney

Kathleen

Female winner Hawaii Ironman, Feb 1982

Molina

Scott

Pro winner in USAT series & regional/national events & competitor in IM

Moller

Greg

AG competitor in early 80s

Montgomery

Mark

Pro competitor

Marshall

Bill

AG competitor in early 80's

Moss

Julie

Pro IM competitor in early 80's

Munn

Susan

Older AG competitor in early 80’s and winner in local and regional events

Newby-Fraser

Paula

Pro competitor in local, regional, national events & 8 time winner HI IM

Olson

Julie

Pro competitor

Peoples

Patty

Pro competitor

Phillips

Bill

Male winner 1st San Diego Triathlon 1974

Riccitello

Jimmy

Pro competitor in regional and national events and IM

Ruth

Bill

"Beast of the East" candidate, early AG competitor

Schmeiser

Alan

Older AG competitor,  placed in 297 Triathlons

Schuster

Rudi

Older AG competitor

Scott

Dave

Pro competitor, 1st triathlon 1976 SF CA 1976; 6 time winner IMWC; coach & fitness consultant, writer, father Verne

Scott

Verne

Older AG competitor, 1st triathlon SF CA 1976, son Dave

Shanahan

Don

 

Smith

Ron

AG competitor in late 70's & early 80's

Smyers

Karen

Pro competitor in regional/national events and HI IM winner

Stack

Walt

Older AG competitor, oldest finisher in 1981 Hawaii Ironman at 73 yrs

Suprenant

Marc

Pro competitor in regional/national events & in IM; deceased

Sweeney

Linda

Female winner 1981 IMWC

Taylor

Thomas

AG competitor, writer for Triathlon Magazine

Tinley

Scott

Pro competitor, IMWC, author, column writer

Valdez

Orlando

Writer  (athlete?)

Warren

Tom

Male winner 1st Hawaii Ironman 1978 1979 & numerous local and regional events

Water

Eileen

Female winner 1st San Diego Triathlon 1974

Wells

Richard

Pro competitor

Yates

Carl

Older AG competitor

Criteria for the 1983-1989 Notable Athletes

  • Raced often and long enough to have been thoroughly immersed in the sport
  • Top 3 to 5 finisher and/or other achievement (i.e. competed in 5 to 10 races per season for several seasons)
  • Potential inductee for USAT Hall of Fame
  • Possible participant in USAT History Project (written account/oral history of personal observation of triathlon evolution, especially during the 1983-1989 period; may have artifacts or other items of historical importance to donate for USAT History Project Collection)

Abbreviations: WC=Age Group World Champion; NC=Age Group National Champion; IMWC=Age Group Ironman Champion

1983-1989 Notable Athletes

Adamson

Jon

NC

Albrecht

William

 

Alt

Robert

NC

Ardell

Don

NC

Autorino

Ethel

NC

Barth

Klaus

IMWC (at 37 finished 4th at 1986 IMWC behind D.Scott, M. Allen, & S. Tinley), Deceased

Basescu

Dale

IMWC   Dale was a Pro from 1983-1985

Bell

Bill

NC

Belzer

Bob

NC

Bond

Forest

NC

Bradley-Cox

Susan

WC 1989, NC

Brockenbrough

John

NC

Brockenbrough

Rodger

WC 1989, NC, IMWC

Bruskewitz

Bruce

NC

Buchanan

Bruce

NC

Buckingham

Wally

NC, Frequent age group winner, twin of Wayne

Buckingham

Wayne

WC, NC, IMWC, twin of Wally

Buder

Madonna

WC 1989, NC, IMWC

Bulman

Liz

Pro turned successful age group winner, NC

Cens-McDowell

Lesley

NC, Frequent age group winner

Clark

Richard

Competed in 17 consecutive IMWC

Cuddeback

Jeff

WC 1989, NC, IMWC

Daniels

Paul

WC 1989

Demetriou

Jim

 

Eliot

Dale

 

Elliott

Dale

 

Ersey

Jack

Active AG competitor in 80's.  Deceased 1986

Finch

John

IMWC

Flannery

Judy

NC,WC, Deceased, USAT Hall of Fame 2008

French

Charlie

WC, NC

Fuxa

Leonard

WC 1989, NC

Garuccio

Jo

WC, NC,

Gaughran

Jim

AG competitor, Stanford Univ Swim Coach

Girard-Rives Diane Pro competitor in regional/national events and IM, twin sister of Jann
Girard-Rives Jann Pro competitor in regional/national events and IM, twin sister of Diane
Glah Ken

Pro competitor in regional/national events and in IM

Haase

John

NC

Hackney

Gar

NC

Hinshaw

Ed

AG competitor

Ito

Diane

WC, NC

Jeter

Joan

WC, NC

Kain

Pete

WC, NC

Kenny

Jerry

NC

Knight-Perry

Katie

WC 1989

Laramie

Mike

AG competitor

Larson

Paula

NC

Leach

Bill

WC 1989

Lemucchi

Tim

NC

LeStrange

Missy

NC, IMWC

Llerandi

Mike

WC 1989

Mackle

Rob

 

MacLaren

Jim

AG competitor, physically challenged IMWC

Marshall

Bill

WC, NC, IMWC

Martin

Mac

Originally a pro turned successful age group winner

McCary

Kirsten

WC 1989

McIntyre

Mark

WC 1989

McKeachie

Karen

 NC, IMWC, early RD in MI

McLaughlin

William

WC, NC

McSheehy

Wayne

WC, NC

Mitchell Beth

Pro competitor

Moats

Kevin

NC

Nash

Ken

WC,NC, IMWC  (started in mid 1990s)

Newell

Jane

WC 1989, NC

Panatelas

Harry

AG competitor, NC

Phillips

Bob

WC, NC

Pigg Mike Pro winner in USAT series & regional/national events & competitor in HI IM

Plant

Robert

NC

Riley

William

WC 1989, NC

Ripple

Jan

Pro competitor & winner in regional & national events and HI IM

Robinson

Dick

WC, NC

Robinson Harold Pro competitor

Ruckert

Steve

WC 1989

Schiller

Tony

WC 1989, NC

Schuster

Rudi

Senior AG competitor

Schweizer

Bill

WC, NC

Smith

Ron

NC

Smith

William

NC

Snyder

Jane

WC 1989, NC

Sophiea

Laura

NC

Stevenson

Dave

NC

Tomlin

Dick

NC, Deceased

Truskett

Brooks

NC

Turner

Linda

IMWC 1989, Deceased

Val

Graciela

NC

Wadell

Les

AG winner

Wageman

Ray

NC, WC 1989

Ward

Jim

WC, NC, Deceased

Warren

Larry

WC 1989

Wessels

John

NC

Wiley

Todd

IMWC

Wright

George

40-44 AG NC, 45-49 AG WC in 1989, Deceased

Yates

Carl

Senior AG competitor, endurance runner

Criteria for Founders and Organizers active during the 1970s to 1989

  • Organizing/managing a first time and/or unique event or series of events that moved the sport forward                      
  • Contributing to establishing and maintaining the sport            
  • Serving on important committees of the sport and as management staff of the sport             
  • Establishing a significant milestone for the sport                    
  • Being recognized as an outstanding writer/author/publisher and/or speaker/announcer              
  • Potential inductee for USAT Hall of Fame      

Abbreviations: AG = Age Group; Bd = Board Member; RD = Race director      

Founders and Organizers 1970s-1989

Alton

Mark

RD On Your Mark series

Babbit
Bob
Long-time writer on triathlon topics from early 1980's to present, now publisher of Competitor magazine
Backer
Dave
One of the organizers of the Bud Light Indy Triathlon in 1980's, Board member and President, Tri-Fed/USA 1989-93.  Long-time service on Legal Committee

Blanchard

Charlie

Bd member Tri-Fed/USA, RD

Brooks

Lyn

Bd member Tri-Fed/USA,RD, IM competitor

Caille

Jan

RD Chicago Triathlon series

Charron

Ray

RD Mighty Hamptons

Collins

John

Competitor 1974 San Diego CA Tri, Founder HI Ironman Triathlon 1978

Cooney
Tom
Partner of Jan Caille in starting Chicago Triathlon, race director for several other major events, including America's Paradise and Ironman Hawaii

Curl

Jim

Co-founder & manager USTS Series

Curnow

Dave

Bd member Tri-Fed/USA & Vice Chair, AG athlete, authored & presented application of membership in USOC

Edwards

Sally

RD, Entrepreneur, author, athlete, motivator of women, consultant Danskin Womens Triathlon Series

Evans
Marc
Coach of the US Team to the first Triathlon World Championships in Avignon, France, in 1989, coach of various pro's, authored three books on triathlon training
Davis
Don
Founder and director of the New York City Triathlon and Survival of the the Shawangunks in the 1980's and early 1990's.

Donaldson

Jim

RD, AG athlete, Bd member USAT, RD, AG athlete

Franzen
Marilyn
Race director of US Swim & Fitness Triathlon (now Lifetime Fitness Triathlon) starting in mid-1980's; silver, F35-39, 1989 WC

Friel

Joe

Co-Chair Masters Comm 1989, author, trainer & coach

Friem

Jim

Exec.Dir late 1980's USAT, AG athlete

Gayton

James F.

President USTA 1982-83

Gilmore

Mike

Publisher editor Triathlete magazine, writer

Goulard
Frank
Early race director in Oregon (Hagg Lake Tri, Blue Lake Tri)

Hanks

Fletcher

RD First long course, NC 1983, AG athlete, Deceased

Hegge

Steve

Rocky Mtnreg President, Tri-Fed/USA youth program

Honig

Dan

founder of Big Apple Triathlon Club, director of numerous races in the New York City area since the early 1980's, Tri-Fed/USA Board of Directors member in 1980's.

Horning

Dave

RD, Envirosports races, NYC to Liberty race, Pro athlete

Houlihan
Charlie
Founder of the Crawfishman Triathlon in LA, one of earliest Ironman Qualifiers

Hunter

Chris

Chief USAT Official, AG athlete

Isom

George

RD, USTA Series in TX, AG athlete

James

Al

Bd member & VP Tri-Fed/USA 1984-87, author of 1st Triathlon Rule Book, Founder/RD Tampa Bay Tri

Jimison

Jim

Bd member,Tri-Fed/USA Chief official, AG athlete

Johnson

Harald

Founder Triathlon magazine & Tri-Fed/USA, writer and promoter

Johnstone

Jack

Early triathlon organizer & RD, manager San Diego Track Club

Jonas

Steve

Author, columnist, AG athlete

Kidder

Lew

Tri Fed/USA Bd member, founder Triathlon Today magazine, AG athlete, coach, early RD in MI

Kirkland

Al

RD SkyHigh series

Lange
Hank
Founder of the Steelman Triathlon in VT, an early IQ, top AG athlete, coach of top athletes
Leidersdorf Bill Founder and director of the Steven Lynn Triathlon in GA, one of the first triathlons in the South and an early IQ

Locke

Steve

Exec Dir USAT 1990's, RD, AG athlete

Leonard

Brad

Bd member Tri-Fed 1985-89, AGC 1993-200 CoChair, consultant to USATstaff with IT, Team USA 2000-2004, AG athlete

Margiotta

Rick

RD in TX, Tri Fed Bd member & President, RD in TX, AG athlete

MacLaren

Jim

Founder Paratriathlon, Para athlete, Deceased

McCray

Jim

RD Redwood Coast Series, AG athlete

McGillivery

Dave

Tri-Fed/USA Bd., Founder/RD NE Tri series, endurance athlete, consultant Boston Marathon

Miramontes

Dave

RD Change of Pace series

Moore Mark Founder and director of Wendy's Triathlon, a major midwestern event in the 1980's; later owner of Timberline Timing, which handled Tri-Fed/USA membership and race results in the 1990's.

Noll

Jon

RD Iron Horse Tri, Co-Founder & President Tri-Fed/USA 1982-89, AG athlete

Owens Carl Founder and producer of the Texas Hill Country Triathlon, an early IQ

Pain

Dave

Founder Dave Pain Birthday Biathalon 1972 Swim-run

Peters

Lloyd

RD, Revised RD manual

Phillips

Bill

Male winner  1974 San Diego CA Triathlon

Plant

Mike

Triathlon announcer 1980’s, author, announcer

Porter

Paul

Tri-Fed/USA Bd., RD Muncie Endurathlon, AG athlete, developed insurance program for Tri-Fed/USA

Rainey

Dave

RD TX, TX Regional Bd.

Reinschreiber

Murphy

Co-organizer US Triathlon Assoc. 1982, Pro athlete, competitor HI IM

Ryan

Mike

Tri-Fed/USA Bd member & chair  Board of Governors 1983-89, HI IM AG competitor

Rzymek Fred Pioneer race director and organizer of sprint triathlon races in FL and the Southeast

Scott

Gary

Tri-Fed/USA Dep. Dir., Developed Youth Program, Team USA Manager 1989-90

Scott

Verne

Co-Founder Tri-Fed/USA, Exec Dir Tr-Fed 1983-86, RD Davis CA Tri 1979,World Senior Games SF, AG athlete

Shanahan

Don

RD 1st Triathlon, by San Diego Track Club

Sheard Jeff Organized most of the early big races in Ohio, including the Bud Light Columbus

Siff

Barry

RD Endurance series triathlons, AG athlete, author/writer

Silk

Valerie

Tri-Fed/USA Bd, RD HI IM

Sisson

Mark

USAT Exec. Dir., IM athlete 1981, author, ITU official

Sommers

Fred

Tri-Fed/USA BD member 1980's, RD, President FL Region

Spagnogle

Eric

Lead official 1980's, AG athlete

Taylor

Thomas

1st staff writer, Triathlete magazine

Tebon Steve and Dennis Active early organizers of triathlons in south Florida, including several of the early sprint distance national championships

Thomas       

Carl

Tri-Fed/USA Founder & Bd member, Founder and organizer USTS series, Representative to ITU

Vigorito

Bob

Tri Fed/USA Bd member & President, President MidAtlantic Regions, RD

Weyrich

Carroll

Co-Chair Masters Comm. 1989

West Gloria Founded and directed the early major races in WI and was the original race director of Danskin Series

White

Dennis

Tri-Fed/USA Exec Dir 1982-83

Yount

Tim

20+ years as USAT administrator as Deputy Director, Senior VP-Sport Development,  Chief Operations Officer

Zagarino

Scott

Tri-Fe/USA Bd member, promoter, AG athlete

Zolkowski

Bill

Inside Triathlon Magazine publisher

Note:  Comments and suggestions are welcome and should be sent to:

Brad Leonard
608 Highview Way
Missoula, MT, 59804
brad.leonard@att.net

Please include your full name, address, email and phone.  

Active.com