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Charles Adamo, the man behind the creation of the Professional Triathletes Organisation, steps down

Former head of the ATP, Chris Kermode, takes over as Executive Chairman

Charles Adamo, the man many attribute as being the driving force behind the creation of the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO), has stepped down as the Executive Chairman. He’ll be replaced by Chris Kermode, the former Executive Chairman and president of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

Photo above: From left: Charles Adamo, Lisa Bentley, four-time Kona champion Chrissie Wellington, Challenge Roth race director Felix Walchshofer, Simon Whitfield, Challenge-Family CEO Zibi Szlufcik.

Related: How Chrissie Wellington’s legs sold the PTO

Despite his integral role in the formation of the PTO, there’s no doubt the organization would not be where it is without him. Here’s an excerpt from a story I wrote about the PTO and Adamo in May, 2020:

Getting Charles Adamo to admit that he’s been an integral part in the development of the PTO is more of a challenge than trying to take Jan Frodeno on in Kona. Before he’d even grant an interview I had to agree that there would be no pictures of him in the story. “The athletes are the story,” he says.

As much as he downplays his role in the creation of the PTO, those involved aren’t willing to do the same.

“Charles is a pretty modest guy,” says PTO board member Scott Defilippis. “This is 100 per cent philanthropic work for Charles. He’s constantly looking for ways to better the world.”

That bettering of the triathlon world started during Adamo’s self-admitted short triathlon career: “I don’t do triathlon,” he says, “I started, was very mediocre, got worse, then I quit.”

During his short time in the sport he met Lucy Gossage, a multiple Ironman champion from the United Kingdom. He was shocked to learn that an athlete who had finished in the top-10 in Kona and had garnered so many titles was struggling to make ends meet.

Seeing “kind of an injustice,” Adamo figured he might be able to help. After a successful career in hotel development with Kurzner International where he was involved with the company’s Atlantis hotels in The Bahamas and Dubai, Adamo “owns his own time,” which he puts into the PTO and helping to plan new churches and preaching.

“It’s a blessing to be able to help,” he says, “Hopefully by helping, others will be able to help, too.”

“In 2016, when I first began to help professional triathletes who had a vision to have their own organisation and transform the sport, I expected it to be a 6–12-month project,” Adamo said in a release distributed by the PTO today. “Now nearly seven years later it is a joy for me see how the PTO has established itself and PTO Professionals, against all odds and expectations, have been able to unite to transform the sport. With a committed investor base, dedicated management team and athlete unity so much has been accomplished and even greater milestones are on the horizon. Under the able leadership of Chris as chairman, the PTO is poised to build on its accomplishments and take our sport to new heights.”

“On behalf of all PTO Professionals, we are grateful for Charles’ leadership in helping guide the PTO and giving professional triathletes their own organisation,” said Tim O’Donnell, PTO Athlete Board member and one of founding athlete members of the PTO. “Without his perseverance, there would be no PTO – he believed in our vision when no one else did and in the face of doubt and criticism refused to be deterred. A big thanks to Charles from all PTO Professionals.”

Chris Kermode. Photo: PTO

“It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to help accelerate the PTO’s mission and support the PTO Professionals,” Kermode said in today’s release. “Over the last two years we have made great strides in establishing our events and lifting the triathlon broadcasts to the next level.  The PTO business model and the triathlon market is compelling, with many similarities to professional tennis which began to boom once the professionals started to act together to promote the sport through expanding their fan base. Professional triathlon has enormous potential to develop into a mainstream sport. This will require a unified front from the professionals and aligned interests with the commercial partners. That is why the unique ownership structure of the PTO, where the professionals and investors have ownership interests in the success of the venture, is so valuable and why I am confident that the PTO can be the catalyst that turns triathlon into a success and a mainstream sport.”