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Olympic bronze medalist Susan Williams, Ironman World Champion Tim DeBoom, multisport contributor Dan Empfield, age-group multisport stars Bill Bell and Karen McKeachie and paratriathlete pioneer Carlos Moleda make up the seventh induction class of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame. The six inductees will be honored at a banquet on Saturday, April 18 at 5:30 p.m. ET at the Harvard Club in Boston, as part of a celebration of endurance sports for the Boston Marathon. Learn a little bit about each inductee below and see a quote from each of their interviews with fellow hall of famer Bob Babbitt. Listen to all of the podcasts here.
Bill Bell – Age Group Athlete (Palm Desert, Calif.)
At 92 years old, Bill Bell has done it all. He’s competed in over 300 triathlon events since 1982—including 32 Ironman races and 41 Ironman 70.3 races. Of his 32 Ironman finishes, 19 were in Kona where he won his age group in ’94-’97, and ’99. He still competes today.
“I tell this to people all the time: you don’t have to swim two miles, do don’t have to do a marathon, you don’t have to ride a bike a hundred miles, but do something active. Keep the body moving.”
Tim DeBoom – Elite Athlete (Boulder, Colo.)
Tim DeBoom is recognized as one of the greatest American triathletes of all time. He won the Ironman World Championship title back to back in 2001 and 2002, and was the top overall U.S. finisher in Kona for six years. DeBoom competed as a pro from 1995-2012, and now writes for Triathlete magazine and works with his sponsors as a consultant.
“[Kona] gives you a lot of humility, but then it brings you back up. Anytime you cross the finish line, whether it’s in first or last, it brings you back up.”
Dan Empfield – Contributor (Valyermo, Calif.)
Dan Empfield has been a major player in the triathlon world for decades. Both the founder of Quintana Roo and inventor of the tri-specific wetsuit, Empfield has pushed the the boundary for both triathlon gear and the sport itself. He hosted the U.S. Triathlon Series from ’97-’99, has been a large part of USA Triathlon’s election process and is the founder and owner of Slowtwitch.com.
“This is the beauty of multi-sport, if you have the skills to swim, bike and run, if you’re injured in something, you have other things to do to keep you fit, keep you energized, keep you going.”
Karen McKeachie – Age Group Athlete (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Karen McKeachie has an impressive resume that includes six world age-group championships and 15 age-group national championships. At the 2011 Trek Women’s Triathlon in Howell, she also became the oldest woman to win an overall gender title. Not only was McKeachie an superb athlete, but she is a savvy businesswoman who co-founded Triathlon Today and created the first women’s-specific bike saddle.
“I think now, ‘Why am I still doing it?’, it’s because I love it, and people ask me when I’m going to retire, and I say ‘maybe when I don’t like it anymore.””
Carlos Moleda – Age Group Athlete (Bluffton, S.C.)
Synonymous with wheelchair racing, Carlos Moleda is viewed as a competitor who brought legitimacy to the sport. Moleda was paralyzed in 1989 in the line of duty, and eventually won the handcycle division in Kona four times. A seven-time national champion, he used his knowledge of the sport to help create rules for paratriathlon events.
“The handcycle evolved dramatically, especially in the past 10 years. We went from a sitting upright stance to a laid back position, very radical luge aerodynamic position, which increased the speed and the way the bike handles, there’s always a voice in my head saying ‘I wonder how fast I’d go in Kona if I had that bike?'”
Susan Williams – Elite Athlete (Littleton, Colo.)
Susan Williams has the credentials no other triathlete can claim: she is the only woman American triathlete to win a medal in the Olympics—a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Williams also won the 1996 ITU World Championships as an age-group triathlete before turing pro in 1997. She is now a triathlon coach, and is on the USAT committee for determining qualification criteria for the Olympics.
“[The medal] gave me the opportunity to share my story and encourage other people and teach them and maybe even some people I started coaching because they were lured by that too.”