On Thursday, USAT recognized five outstanding contributors to the sport at the 2014 USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Chicago’s Navy Pier Grand Ballroom. The ceremony honoured Ironman co-founders John and Judy Collins, elite athlete Mike Pigg, age-group athlete Sister Madonna Buder and contributor Tom Warren.
“The 2014 Induction Ceremony was one of the most exciting, entertaining and extremely special ceremonies – and I’ve been to every one,” said Jon Gray Noll, the chair of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Committee and Class of 2008 inductee. “This is a real tribute to the individuals who have contributed so much over the years to make triathlon the sport it is today.”
The Hall of Fame ceremony launched this weekend’s festivities which will continue through Sunday with the ITU World Triathlon Chicago races. Inductee Tom Warren has been involved with the sport from the early days in the 1970s. As the winner of the 1979 Ironman Hawaii, he was featured in a central Sports Illustrated’s article , written by Barry McDermott, which introduced a generation to the sport.
“Tommy was the pied piper. He was the reason all of us got into the sport,” said Class of 2011 inductee Bob Babbitt, who accepted the award on Warren’s behalf.
“I want to thank USA Triathlon for this honor,” Warren said via a video acceptance speech. “I can’t believe how far triathlons have come since I started.”
Class of 2010 inductee Dave McGillivray introduced Pigg, who enjoyed a 17-year career in the sport as an elite triathlete. Pigg dominated Olympic-distance racing in the U.S. in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
“It’s a great honor because I gave 17 years of my life to something I really loved to do,” Pigg said. “Triathlon gave me a gift that I’ll never forget.”
Buder (know as the Iron Nun) spoke of overcoming her recent challenges, which include a fractured pelvis, in her quest to break down another age barrier for women in the sport. She has captured nearly 30 world championship titles between Olympic-distance and Ironman events and plans to race in Kona again this fall.
“I’m very floored,” Buder said. “I did not, even in my wildest dreams, ever think about this. I know there are so many other worthy women who are deserving.”
Creators of the Ironman Triathlon in 1978 in Hawaii, John and Judy Collins served as race directors of the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii in 1978-79. Both competed in the first-ever triathlon in the U.S. in San Diego in 1974 along with their 12- and 13-year-old children.
“It’s a huge honor,” Judy Collins said. “To be recognized by the Governing Body of the sport of the U.S. is the pinnacle that means a great deal to us.”
“Any important event doesn’t happen by itself. … It is an honour to have been one link in that chain and we thank you for recognizing that,” John Collins said.