It may have been a Zoom presentation instead of an in-person gathering on a race course, a stage, or over beers at a bar, but the sport of triathlon’s legendary “Big Four”—Mark Allen, Scott Molina, Dave Scott, and Scott Tinley—got together for the first time in about a decade last Thursday. The foursome, who famously raced each other tooth and nail throughout the 1980s and 90s and, subsequently, launched the sport into what it is today, gave a group keynote speech in the form of an un-moderated panel during USA Triathlon’s Endurance Exchange Expo. And it was awesome.
The rivalry between these men ran deep, but the shared experiences and bonds built traveling around the world and racing for years runs deeper.
The foursome’s inaugural meeting took place at the first U.S. Triathlon Series event in San Diego in June of 1982. Tinley had won Ironman World Championships in Kona the previous October and had been battling Scott for a few years. Molina was less known, and Allen was a relative newcomer to the sport.
What followed that first race between them (where Scott won, with Molina second, Tinley third, and Allen fourth) was over a decade of battles, many of them in Kona, and many of them captured by the ABC Wide World of Sports. The foursome dominated the sport for almost 15 years, swapping titles of World Champion at various distances; they share 15 Ironman World Championship titles between them.
According to Tinley, the last time they’d seen each other was at a race in 2012, when he, Molina and Allen were inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame. Scott had been inducted years prior.