Triathlon: The Fugitives

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Outside magazine, September 1994

Triathlon: The Fugitives
By Todd Balf (with Martin Dugard and John Alderman)

In true hardball style, the International Triathlon Union flexed its muscle last May, and the result was a season-long suspension of the sport’s top stars, Americans Mark Allen, Scott Tinley, and Mike Pigg. Problems for the athletes began in January when the ITU announced that a ban would be leveled at any athlete who competed in “self-declared world events,” i.e., events that
don’t pay sanctioning fees to the ITU. This spring, Pigg, Allen, and Tinley chose to ignore the ITU and instead honor their commitments to compete in May’s World Cup Gold Coast in Australia, a long-established but unsanctioned race. Thus the ITU’s swift, harsh action. While the whole affair smacks of some third-rate boxing feud, Tinley and Pigg weren’t terribly harmed, since the
plans they’d already made for the rest of the year didn’t include ITU events. Allen however, was prevented from defending his title at July’s ITU World Championship Long-Distance Race at Nice, France, where he’s won a record ten consecutive times. Said Pigg , “It was more important to support a race that has supported me rather than ITU, which uses the athletes as pawns.”

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