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Who Will Replace Mike Reilly? (Wrong Answers Only)

Look, no one can really replace the "Voice of Ironman." But what if one of these voices called you across the finish line instead?

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A new year is upon us, and it already feels a little quieter. After all, without Mike Reilly, the “Voice of Ironman,” things just aren’t the same. Though we absolutely support Reilly’s decision to retire after 33 years of announcing Ironman finishers home, we also selfishly kind of wish he was still there, his big voice booming for all: YOU are an Ironman!

Who will replace Mike Reilly this year? Ironman hasn’t yet made that announcement (you see what we did there?), but if we had to guess, it’s likely going to be some combination of Ironman’s crackerjack crew of announcers around the globe, which includes Joanne Murphy, Paul Kaye, Carissa Galloway, Eric Gilsenan, and Tom Ziebart. Perhaps they’ll even pass the mic (sorry, we can’t help ourselves) to Reilly’s adult son, Andy, who has been seen in the announcer booth from time to time.

But what if Ironman decided they wanted to call an audible? (We’ll show ourselves out.) To hell with tradition, it’s time for something fresh and new! 2023 would be the year they would do it, after all, big changes are already happening to the format of the Ironman World Championship race. Perhaps we’ll hear a new and unexpected voice welcoming us to the finish line. In a topsy-turvy world (and isn’t this a topsy-turvy world these days?) we wouldn’t be surprised to hear one of these options.

RELATED: After 33 Years, Mike Reilly Hangs Up His Mic

Michael Buffer

Michael Buffer, a humorous replacement for Mike Reilly
Clearly “let’s get ready to rumble” was intended for the swim start. (Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

You might not know this name, but you know this voice. Specifically: “Let’s get ready to r-r-r-r-umble!” Buffer has plenty of experience with announcing, honing his MC chops at professional wrestling, boxing, and NFL matches since 1982. If that doesn’t qualify him for the Ironman announcing job, nothing will.

Bonus points if we can get a package deal where athletes have to pass Triple H, The Undertaker, and Diamond Dallas Page in the finisher chute, American Gladiator-style.

Leslie Jones

Leslie Jones, a humorous replacement for Mike Reilly
We want to see Leslie Jones react to an Ironman triathlon. (Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images)

If you follow this comedian on Twitter, you know all about her running commentary during the Olympic Games. Her take while watching the men’s triathlon race might just be the most accurate description of the sport we’ve heard to date:

“So what I’m trying to figure out: was that not the whole f***ing Olympics? You don’t get a participation medal just for doing that?…Because that’s a lot. You made me swim and ride a bike…wow!”

If Jones is impressed and amped about what people do at the Olympic triathlon, wait until she hears about Ironman. Frankly, we kind of want to witness her endearing shock and awe at the finish line (just make sure Ironman has a censor ready to bleep out the bleepables).

Fran Drescher

Fran Drescher, a humorous option for Mike Reilly's replacement
“Mister Sheffield, you are an Ironman!” (Photo: Jenny Anderson/WireImage)

Just imagine, if you will, the “flashy girl from Flushing” Fran Fine, in all her big-haired glory, exclaiming “Mister Sheffield!” Now add “…you are an Ironman!” to the end. You’re welcome.

Mario Lopez

Mario Lopez, a humorous replacement for Mike Reilly
Former TV jock becomes real jock. (Photo: Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage)

Yes, we went there. A.C. Slater – real name, Mario Lopez – is not just a 90’s icon and television host. He’s actually a triathlete himself, having competed in several races (including the Malibu Triathlon). In a recent taping of The Ellen Show, Lopez recounted his training (“I’ve never been so hungry” he said of swim training) and racing misadventures (wetsuit hickeys were involved), so clearly he gets the nuances of our weird little sport.

RELATED: Recalled: The Stars Who Raced Malibu

Cameo Celebs

A humorous depiction of Cameo celebrities as Mike Reilly's replacements
Is this a bad photoshop job? Yes. But is this an awesome idea? Also yes. (Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images, Cameo)

Two words for you: Flavor Flav. Two more words: Kenny G. Cameo, the app where you can request a personalized video from an array of celebrities, could step in to fill the Mike Reilly void and add a bit of customization to the Ironman experience.

Just think about it: Ironman already has the massive LED screens at races. Why not use them for a personalized Ironman finisher message from your favorite B-list celeb as you cross the finish line? We can already see the $100 up-charge on the registration website. Take our money, take it all.

A Mike Reilly Hologram

A humorous hologram of Mike Reilly
Hologram Mike Reilly is very excited about your finish. (Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

If no one can replace Mike Reilly, what if we just replaced him with…Mike Reilly?

If they can bring Tupac back for Coachella, we can create a Mike Reilly hologram. Imagine Laser-Mike in the announcer booth, waving his rally towel over his head while hooting and hollering. Most of us are delusional by the time we finish an Ironman, anyway – we’ll never know the difference.

RELATED: Six Times Triathlon Weirdly Got Mainstream Attention

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.