Tri Sports History Timeline (1902 - 2008)


Research Work-in-Progress Add info prior to 1920

1902, 1920, 1921, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1998, 2000, 2008

1902 xxx, Joinville-le-Pont, Val-de-Marne, France

sur les bords de Marne

Les Trois Sports

Les sportmen de l'epoque�

course a pied, bicyclette et canoe

(Source: Triathlon - Technique, Tactique, Entrainement

by Yves Cordier/Max Malaurent, excerpt courtesy of Armanet Olivier)

1920 xxx, Joinville-le-Pont, Val-de-Marne, France

sur les bords de Marne

Les Trois Sports

Representative triathlete �Georges Wambst�

...course a pied (4km), velo (12 km), natation (traversee de la Marne).�

(Source: Cordier/Malaurent, via Olivier. See above.)

1921 September 4 (on or about), Marseilles, Bouches-Du-Rhone, France

Course des Trois Sports

Representative triathletes: Charles Secter, Lulu Helmet

Petit Pavillon Swim Club


Note: The grandson of Charles Secter is John McBride, a triathlete and computer analyst. In 1992 McBride was living in Austin, Texas, USA. McBride has a postcard dated September 4, 1921 which is a photo of the "Course de Trois Sports Organisateurs et Concurents." The picture appears to be the competitors, in swim dress, men and women, with the organizers and sponsors behind them, men and women. The location of the photograph was on the stairs at the Petit Pavillon Swim Club. McBride questioned his Grandfather about the event. "Asked if this was the first triathlon ever, Charles Secter hadn't a clue, but he smiled broadly and said, 'It was our first.'"

(Source: Triathlete Magazine, March 1993, pp 42, 43, "The First Triathlon?" by John Howard. Howard is the Olympic cyclist who won the 1981 Ironman.)

1945 xxx Poisy, Haute-Savoie, France

sur les bords de la Marne en '44, sur les bords de la Seine en 45, 46, 47, 48...� competition est rebaptisee 'Course des debrouillards.'�

Representative triathlete �Andre Ollivon�

(Source: Cordier/Malaurent, via Olivier. See above.)

1960's xxx Poisy, Haute-Savoie, France

La Course des Touche-a-Tout�

Representative triathlete �Georges Belaubre�

(Source: Cordier/Malaurent, via Olivier. See above.)

1974 September 25, Wednesday, San Diego, California, USA

Mission Bay Triathlon

Founders: Don Shanahan and Jack Johnstone

San Diego Track Club

Run/Bike/Run-swim x 4

Note: This is the first run bike and swim event to be called a triathlon. Bill Phillips was the winner. John, Judy, Kristin and Michael Collins took part at ages 38, 35, 13 and 12.

(Source: Files of Judy and John Collins)

1975 July 25, Sunday, Coronado, California, USA

Coronado Optimists Sports Fiesta Triathlon

Founders: Stan Antrim and Bob Weaver

Coronado Optimist Club


Note: This is the longest running annual triathlon. Kristin and Michael Collins took part.

(Source: Files of Judy and John Collins)

1978 February 18, Saturday, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Founders: Judy and John Collins

The First Annual Hawaiian Iron Man Triathlon


Note: This was the first endurance traithlon. It was made up of 3 Honolulu endurance events: The Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.385 miles); The Around Oahu BIke Course (about 112 miles); The Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles). The total, about 140 miles, was the perimeter of the island of Oahu. That circumnavigation distance gave the course a special appeal to Judy and John Collins. Gordon Haller was the first to Finish. John Collins took part. Each of the 12 Finishers received a trophy designed and made by John.

(Source: Files of Judy and John Collins)

1979: January 14, Sunday (delayed one day by stormy weather), Honolulu, Hawaii USA

Organizers/Founders: Judy and John Collins


Note: First to finish was Tom Warren. Michael Collins, age 16, took part. Once again, each of the 12 Finishers (of the 15 who started) received a trophy made by John. The May 1979 issue of Sports Illustrated covered the event with a story by Barry McDermott and pictures by Steve Lissau. The Collinses gave permission to ABC Wide World of Sports to film the 1980 event. A Honolulu newspaper called the second event The Honolulu Triathalon (sic).

(Source: Files of Judy and John Collins)

1980 January 12, Saturday, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

The Nautilus Iron Man Triathlon

Organizer: Hank Grundman, co-owner, with Valerie Silk, of Nautilus in Honolulu.

First to finish was Dave Scott.

Note: The swim course was moved from the �too rough� Waikiki Roughwater Swim Course to the 4k course in the lagoon at Ala Moana Beach Park. Several weeks later ABC broadcast the event with commentary by distance swimmer Diana Nyad.

(Source: Files of Judy and John Collins)

1981 February 14, Saturday, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA

The International Triathalon (sic)

Organizer: Valerie Silk and the International Triathalon Committee.

First to finish was Olympic Cyclist John Howard who had finished third in 1980.

(Source: Files of Judy and John Collins)

1998 June 6, Saturday, Portobelo, Colon, Republic de Panama

Spanish Main Triathlon


Note: The Collinses created this triathlon to train for the 1998 Ironman in Kona and to popularize triathlon in Panama. The tropical course in the Caribbean included the swim in waters where Cristobal Colon had anchored, the bike ride along roads of the Costa Arriba, the run through historic Spanish forts and over the steep hill where the pirate Henry Morgan had descended to sack the gold storage town of Portobelo in 1668. Judy and John Collins took part. The Portobelo International Triathlon is held each year in mid-March. Information is at

(Source: Files of Judy and John Collins)

2000 July, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The Olympic Triathlon

Organizers: International Triathlon Union (ITU) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC)


Note: Triathlon is now an official sport in the Olympics. The inaugural swim/bike/run course was close to the Sydney Opera House.

2002 August, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Ironman Revisited (IR)

Organizers: Rick Kozlowski and Bob Babbitt


Note: 1980 Iron Man Finishers Kozlowski and Babbitt recreate the Hawaiian Iron Man on the original course as a fund raiser for the Challenged Athlete Foundation (CAF). Michael Collins and Judy Collins took part in 2002 and 2003. The next IR will be in mid-August 2009.

(Source: Files of Judy and John Collins)

2008 October 11, Saturday, Kona, Hawaii, USA

Ford Ironman World Championship

Organizers: Ironman President and CEO Ben Fertic and Event Director Diana Bertsch

Note: The 30th Anniversary Ironman in Kona was the 32nd staging of the event. There were two Ironman events in 1982. In 2008, for the first time, there was an athlete representing the Republic of Panama, Gaetano Goldoni. Michael Collins represented the Collins family in the event. 1978 Iron Man Finisher Dave Orlowsky did the race, cheered on by 1978 Iron Man Finishers John Collins, Frank Day, Henry Forrest and Tom Knoll. The two oldest male and female entrants were from California. Loren Leonard is 79, Harriet Anderson is 72. The youngest male and female entrants were from Kona. Ariel Henbest and Tyler Foster are 18. Two Navy Seals from Coronado, California, USA did the event after parachuting with other Navy Leap Frogs into Kailua Bay. David Goggins and Keith Davids jumped from a C-130 aircraft then swam in to shore to start the Ironman.

(Source: Files of Judy and John Collins)


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