It’s International Women’s Day — we’ve rounded up seven of the most influential women in triathlon history.
Newby-Fraser has become a household name in the triathlon world. The original “Queen of Kona” is known for her unprecedented winning streak, claiming the title at eight Ironman World Championships. She’s famous for her determination to cross the finish line after she collapsed just 400 yards out in the 1995 race.
The first female Ironman champion raced as the sole female athlete in the second annual Hawaii Ironman race in 1979. Before her career as a triathlete she was a national champion cyclist in the United States.
Judy and her husband John Collins helped create the sport we love. John Collins thought up the original Ironman and was one of its first participants but Judy was equally responsible for getting the idea off the ground and helping it grow.
Valerie Silk took over Ironman operations from John Collins. Silk made several key changes to the race that helped it thrive. She moved it to Kailua-Kona Island to accommodate more triathletes, changed the race date from February to October to allow for a better training season and set up qualifying races. In 1985, she turned Ironman into a pro sport.
Spain’s Marisol Casado has twice been elected the president of the ITU. With Canada’s Loreen Barnett as the Secretary General of the ITU, the body remains ITU remains the only International Federation in the Olympic Games with women at the top two leadership roles.
Barnett has been a leading figure in the triathlon scene since the beginning. She dedicated herself to helping build a professional foundation for triathlon that would ultimately become the ITU.
Like Newby-Fraser, Wellington is one of the most famous female triathletes in history. She has more top accomplishments under her belt than arguably any other triathlete. She remains the overall record holder for any full distance race in the world, with her time of 8:19:13.