A few moons ago I wrote a piece called Triathawhat? in which I blathered on about the fact that Triathlon hasn't gotten any respect in the past. You remember that, right? I brought to your attention that NBC, during their airing of the 1989 Ironman World Championships, actuallyspelled the word Triathlon incorrectly, adding an "a" and making it Triathalon. And that Microsoft Word has yet to include the word "triathlon" in their dictionary, so when you spell-check your document it has no friggin clue what the word even means. Is this ringing any bells? McFlyyyyy... is there anybody in there?!
But, I implied, there is hope. We are merely in the infancy stage of triathlon's growth and as more people start participating and more media starts covering the events, perhaps we won't be trod upon like a discarded McDonald's hot apple pie holder.
Well, never mind.
I take back that part about hope. If there is any hope remaining, it is just a fading match at the the far end of the Chunnel.
Yes, it's true, NBC has finally figured out how to spell Triathlon and we can only assume that they're coverage of the 2006 Ironman World Championships will run through some sort of spell check before it makes it onto our televisions. But, alas, I was watching the coverage of Ironman Coeur d'Alene last weekend on Versus (formerly OLN) and just when we've finally trained NBC properly, now another network comes around and piddles on our carpet.
As far as I noticed, Versus spelled the name of the sport correctly. Which is nice. It was when they were interviewing pro-racer Sian Welch that the spelling went a bit kerfloowie. If you pay attention, you'll see they listed Sian's hometown as Enchinitas, California.
I'll freely admit, I'm a stickler for typos. But the truth of the matter is that, aside from the frantic typing for the hearing impaired during live broadcasts, you don't see many typing errors on television shows. Sure, slightly misspelling the name of a town is not a crime, but this one kinda irks me.
First of all, Sian is a respected pro-racer who, for better or worse, gained increased notoriety as part of 1982's "Crawl Of The Century" in Kona and is the wife of perennial favorite, Greg Welch. So on that level, let's have a little bit of respect for her, please. Secondly, and more importantly, Southern California is the birthing place of triathlon. San Diego is the sports most active region. Encinitas is, arguabally, the epicenter of all things multi-sport. If you did a Superman-like fly around of the world and got us to spin back in time, you will see how the forest of triathlon was spawned by a seed in Encinitas. Spelling the name of the town incorrectly when interviewing Sian is like spelling Bronx incorrectly when interviewing Derek Jeter.
Truth be told, I wasn't going to mention anything about this. Really, I was just going to let it all fall by the wayside, knowing that eventually my blood would come down from it's boil and I could go on living my life as a normal human being. Then, of course, I read the newspaper.
Los Angeles is one of the cities making a bid for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. The LA Times, being the obedient local paper, has daily updates on the city's progress towards planning for this bid. Today the paper featured a very large map with a detailed outline of all the locations that would house each of the numerous Olympic events. Here's what they said:
1. Mountain biking (Griffith Park)*
2. Soccer (Rose Bowl)
3. Equestrian (Santa Anita Park)
4. Volleyball (UCLA Pauley Pavilion)
5. Rhythmic gymnastics (Gersten Pavilion)
6. Track and field (L.A . Memorial Coliseum)
7. Weightlifting (Nokia Theater)
8. Boxing (USC Galen Center)
9. Artistic gymnastics (Staples Center)
10. Field hockey (East Los Angeles College)
11. White-water kayak (Raging Waters, San Dimas)*
12. Shooting (L.A. County Fairplex, Pomona)*
13. Modern pentathlon (L.A. County Fairplex, Pomona)*
14. Soccer (Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas)
15. Volleyball (The Forum)
16. Archery (Home Depot Center, Carson)
17. Tennis (Home Depot Center)
18. Track cycling (Home Depot Center)
19. Soccer (Home Depot Center)
20. Team handball (Pyramid of Long Beach)
21. Judo (Long Beach Arena)
22. Swimming (Long Beach Swim Complex)*
23. Beach volleyball (Long Beach Volleyball Complex)*
24. Fencing (Long Beach Convention Center)
25. Synchronized swimming (Long Beach Swim Complex)*
26. Water Polo (Long Beach Swim Complex)*
27. Taekwondo (Long Beach Convention Center)
28. Diving (Belmont Plaza Pool)*
29. Sailing (Long Beach Marina)
30. Rowing (Long Beach Marine Stadium)
31. Canoe/kayak (Long Beach Marine Stadium)
32. Basketball (Honda Center, Anaheim)
33. Table tennis (Anaheim Convention Center)
34. Wrestling (Anaheim Convention Center)
35. Basketball (Anaheim Arena)
36. Badminton (Bren Events Center, Irvine)
37. Equestrian three-day-event (San Juan Capistrano)
38. Soccer (Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego)
I've gotta admit, I kinda scratched my head at the suggestion of having the white-water kayaking events at Raging Waters Fun Park. I thought that was kinda like having the Mountain Biking events on Space Mountain at Disneyland. That said, I didn't even realize that Mountain Biking was an Olympic event in the first place. Same thing with Taekwondo and Team Handball - when did they hit the Olympic arena? And don't even get me started on Badminton or I may shuttlecock myself to death.
My point being, guess what's missing from the list? RIGHT! Triathlon. They've listed detailed venues for 38 sports, including aforementioned ridiculously non-Olympic level sports like Badminton and Team Handball, but have neglected to even mention triathlon. Not even an "oh, by the way" or a "sports still considering location". They just plum forgot about the sport entirely.
Here we are in Los Angeles, home to one of the largest triathlon clubs in the country and just a couple of months past another successful running of the Los Angeles Triathlon, which plays host to a whole busload of professional racers and Olympic hopefuls. But nooooooo, are we even part of the Olympic planning? It makes me sick - not literally, but definitely figuratively. Even symbolically. I'm figuratively and symbolically sick at the fact that nobody seems to care about triathlon. They treat us like chopped liver. And though I don't really know how chopped liver is treated, I can only imagine it isn't good.
Triathlon, it seems, is the Rodney Dangerfield of sports. No matter what we do, we just don't get no respect.
Take my bike... please.
Posted: November 7, 2006