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Triathlon News & Notes: A Gator Attack, a Finish-Line Proposal, Federation Shakeups, and More

The news from around the multisport world this week.

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Yvonne Spencer appointed to USAT Board of Directors

USA Triathlon announced that Yvonne Spencer has been appointed as a General Director of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors through 2025. Spencer, a 28-year United States Air Force officer, has served in a variety of executive leadership positions, is a seasoned triathlete, and USAT Certified Coach. She is also the CEO and founder of Fast Chix, a women’s triathlon club focused on creating pathways for women to join the triathlon community through empowerment, and removing barriers of entry to the sport.

Spencer replaces Dr. Tekemia Dorsey who resigned in June due to personal reasons from her position as a General Director of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors.

Yvonne Spencer, courtesy of USA Triathlon

Reports of bullying and abuse at Dutch triathlon training center

An independent investigation has found that young Dutch triathletes taking part in an elite training programme were exposed to bullying and exclusion at the national triathlon training center in the town of Sittard. The investigation followed a report filed last fall indicating abusive behavior by national coaches between 2007-2021, and citied athletes who left the training center struggling with eating disorders, depression and overtraining. The investigation conclusions led to the resignation of the national coach and the entire board of the national triathlon federation NTB, which is responsible for the training program.

Nominations open for Outspoken Women in Endurance Sports awards

Nominations are now open for the 2022 Outspoken Women in Endurance Sports awards with categories focused on women in triathlon and gravel cycling. The Women in Endurance Sports Awards celebration will be held in Tempe, Arizona, on Nov. 13, with an accompanying livestream. The awards, part of the Outspoken Summit, celebrate the many women who contribute daily to growing women’s inclusion and equity in the sport and are advocates for social change in small and large ways.  The event will feature keynote speaker Zsa-Zsa Porter, a multi-time Ironman finisher who opened the restaurant The Exposed Vegan in November 2020, after seeing the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic was having on the Black community.

Triathlon proposal video goes viral

After an Ironman, leg cramps wait for no man—even those who are about to propose marriage. In a recently-posted video from the 2021 Ironman Estonia race, competitor Marti Alt of Estonia is seen cramping up and flailing on the ground just as he is about to ask his significant other for her hand in marriage. Alt, who won his division that day, manages to get one one knee and pull out a ring to propose (she said yes, by the way). Posted last week by Ironman Europe and picked up by the Good News Movement account—which has 4.3 million followers—the video has since gone viral with commenters around the world weighing in on Alt’s unfortunate, but relatable, situation.

Triathlete attacked by alligator in Florida lake

A 34-year-old triathlete has come forward with a harrowing tale of being attacked by a 12-foot alligator during a swim. Juan Carlos La Verde, a former U.S. Air Force pararescueman, was in Lake Thonotosassa when the gator came directly at him and bit down on his head and chest before releasing him. “I felt the equivalent of a telephone pole hit my face and then because of my stroke, I felt the scales, then I felt the teeth, so I knew what I was in,” La Verde said, who suffered from a fractured skull and jaw and endured a six-hour surgery. La Verde, was being filmed for an instructional video for his adventure racing company, and the attack was captured by a drone.

Podcast Notes

  • Greg Bennett brings on Bob Babbitt to talk about his lengthy career covering and competing in the sport.
  • Ironwomen chats with Kate Veronneau, Director of Women’s Strategy at Zwift, who talks about the role she played in organizing the Tour de France Femmes Avec Zwift, an eight-day stage competition—and the first time in 33 years the Tour de France had an official women’s stage race.
  • Six-time Ironman World Champion Mark Allen heads to the 20 Minute Triathlon Show. Allen is also featured on TriDot, where he discusses the evolution of the sport with Scott Zagarino, a longtime marketing expert and agent in the sport.
  • Olympic champ (and champ of many other things) Flora Duffy heads to MX Endurance to talk about life lately and staying motivated after achieving the biggest goal of her life.
  • In an entertaining departure from its typical format, That Triathlon Life brings on drag queen Trixie Mattel (winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 3 and close friend of co-host Nick).
  • Crushing Iron looks at ways triathletes fall off the rails and lose their way as well as how to balance competition with the rest of life. The Evidence Based Triathlete also addresses mental slumps and how to overcome them.

Video: 4X World Champion Mirinda Carfrae Makes Her Picks for 70.3 Chattanooga

Carfrae and former pro Patrick Mckeon break down the iconic course in Chattanooga, who looks good for the pro women's race, and their predictions for how the day will play out.