Beginning of 2014 The International Triathlon Union (ITU) inducted seven individuals into its inaugural Hall of Fame. Here are the 3 men's entries.
Allen won the Nice Triathlon, at that time one of the biggest in the world, 10 times and the first ever World Championship in Avignon, France. His short course credentials are outstanding, but Ironman is where Allen left his marks on the sport.
On October 14, 1989, after six attempts in Kona (the famous Hawaiian Iron Man World Championships course), Allen finally broke through on his seventh try against his biggest rival, Dave Scott, the six time champion. The two had a battle for the ages and destroyed Scott’s existing course record time of 8:28:37. After swimming and cycling within meters of each other, Allen broke away 23.5 miles into the marathon on the last uphill on the course. Scott finished that day with a time that would have won every previous Ironman World Championship: 8:10:13. Allen was a minute faster at 8:09:15.
Up until that day, Mark Allen had won every major triathlon on the planet, except the Ironman World Championship. The lava fields of the Kona Coast belonged to six-time champion Dave Scott. Beating Scott on his turf on a day when Scott took 18 minutes off of his own course record and ran 2:41:03, eight minutes faster than he had ever run before, was a turning point in Allen’s career. Mark Allen became a true legend that day.
Allen was a dominant force on the triathlon scene from the early 1980s through his final race in Kona at the age of 37 in 1995. He ended up winning his sixth and final Ironman World Championship in dramatic fashion by coming from more than 12 minutes down off the bike to run down Germany’s Thomas Hellriegel in the final miles of the marathon. After he won his last title, Allen walked away from the sport still at the very top of his game.
Just as Alistair Brownlee is dominating ITU racing today, Simon Lessing was the unquestioned top athlete in the 1990s. From 1992 to 1999, Lessing was on the ITU World Championships podium seven times, winning four world titles, taking second twice and third once. He was the best swimmer, best cyclist and best runner in the sport—no one could touch Lessing when he was on form.
While short-course racing was his specialty, Lessing made an impact on many other disciplines as well. He added a 1995 ITU Long Distance world championship win at the Nice Triathlon, victories at Escape from Alcatraz and Wildflower second place at the 2006 Ironman 70.3 World Championship and a win at Ironman Lake Placid.
An Olympic medal is the only thing missing from his résumé. Lessing came up short in the 2000 Sydney Olympics despite entering the race as the favorite. That big caveat makes the distinction between Lessing and Brownlee incredibly narrow, as both athletes were similarly dominant at their peaks in the hyper-competitive ITU. Lessing gets the edge on account of a longer period atop the ITU and more career world titles as well as his long-course achievements, which Brownlee has yet to pursue.
Greg Welch dominated at a variety of distances, winning an Olympic-distance world title as well as Ironman Hawaii, but didn’t hold on to the top spot in either distance for long. His breakthrough came in 1989 when he finished third at the Ironman World Championship behind Mark Allen and Dave Scott in the sport’s all-time classic Ironman race. In 1990, Welchy won the ITU World Championship at Disney World in Orlando. He was known for his outgoing personality and for his ability to win races all over the globe at any distance. The Australian won countless sprint races in his home country plus major events across the world, including the Orange County Performing Arts Center Triathlon, Escape from Alcatraz, the ITU Duathlon World Championship in 1993, the Ironman World Championship in 1994 and the ITU Long Distance World Championship in 1996.
When he won the Ironman World Championship in 1994, he became the first non-American male and the first Australian to win the most prestigious title in the sport. In Kona, besides his third-place in 1989 and his 1994 victory, he took fifth in 1990, second in 1991, sixth in 1992, fourth in 1995 and third in 1996.
Welch’s list of accomplishments is among the most diverse in history. He was forced to retire prematurely when he was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia after the 1999 Ironman World Championship. Even though he was having heart episodes throughout the race and was forced to stop numerous times to wait for his heart rate to drop, he still ran a 2:46:51 marathon and finished 11th overall.
Source Triathlon Competitor Group