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Countdown To Kona: The Equalizer (1990)

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With the Ironman World Championship set to take place 19 days from today, we take a look at back at each race from the past three decades. Today, we go back to 1990, one of the hottest years the race has seen. All of the following photos and text are taken from the book, “30 Years of The Ironman Triathlon World Championship” by Bob Babbitt.

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It started early. If you looked to the east, the sun was rising unimpeded over the mountain tops, the fluffy clouds of the past three years only a faint memory. As it reached slowly over the edge, there was a brief respite, a catching of the breath, a final I-know-this-won’t-last moment of life giving shade before Old Sol’s Big Island Sauna burst into view to hang out his “Open for Business” sign.

As the 1,300 triathletes warming in Kailua Bay and on the banks of Dig Me Beach scanned the sky, they could almost see the outline of a menacing frown. It was payback time.

The Equalizer was back after several years of cool and calm Ironman weather, and he was none too happy. A lot of people had been talkin’ trash in his absence. “The Ironman ain’t that tough,” they said. He was about to show the Ironman Wannabees treading water in the Bay on October 6, 1990 that they could take their aerodynamic stuff and stuff it where he normally don’t shine. Bo may know football, baseball, basketball and nuclear physics, but the Equalizer knows wind and heat better than anyone on the planet.

After the cannon set loose the hordes of swimmers on their 2.4-mile journey, spectators, loved ones and journalists alike searched the horizon for a hit of cloud cover – somewhere… anywhere. But there was absolutely none.

To see the complete Countdown To Kona series click here.