Trust me, they do. Everywhere you go, there are haters. It’s almost like being the Nickleback of athletes. For no really good reason people simply hate you. Like this guy (I really didn’t want to give this “pro-blogging” know-it-all anymore traffic, but I thought I should credit the inspiration). To give you the gist of the article he basically speculates and makes what sounds like statistically proven claims, but there is nothing to back up what he says. Really buddy? You polled every triathlete to determine their net earnings? I missed the census I guess, sorry to bring down your averages. The point of this isn’t to disprove this most likely out of shape couch potato, but to understand why the hate prevails. Let’s continue.
My boyfriend thinks some people hate triathlon because “you never get to see your girlfriend”. That’s probably just a few spouses out there, so that can’t be the reason. Plus there are all those power couples that train and race together like the Wurteles. Nope, can’t be that.
I used to work with a guy that used to tell me to “pick a sport.” Do you think anyone would tell a Decathlete to “pick a sport?” (on a very big aside, my spell check knows Decathlete is a word. Still sqiggly lines under triathlete). They aren’t just doing three sports half assed, but 10! I wonder if the Discus guys make fun of Decathletes in the locker room.
I did a little reaserch on other multisport events and triathlon really makes more sense than most. Some of the weird ones:
-Biathlon: cross country skiing and shooting. Because you never know when you’ll have to defend yourself from a fit spandex clad Norwegian
-Nordic combined: ski jumping and cross country skiing. I’ve actually seen this. I think they keep it in the Olympics to justify the cost of the ski jumps.
-Chess-boxing???? Seriously??? Yes, it exists. Chess between rounds of boxing. Rook to B2. Ding! Jab, jab,jab.
Yet, there doesn’t seem to be a widespread hatred on for these sports, pity maybe, but not hatred.
This doesn’t only apply to sport either. Would you hate a double Physics-English major just because she happens to be proficient at more than one area of academics? In fact, with the English major she could probably tell you that the Rule of Threes refers to the principle that things that come in threes are more satisfying, funnier, and more effective than other numbers of things. “Lights, Camera, Action!” “Swifter, Higher, Stronger” “Swim, Bike, Run”
So if it’s not the combination of the sports themselves, it must be something related to how triathletes behave. There could be some merit to this theory. Triathletes are not “cool.” We just aren’t and any tri-nerd that thinks otherwise is probably the antithesis of cool. I present to you exhibits a and b.
With the three sports in one, there are three opportunities to piss off other athletes. If you train with swimmers, cyclists or runners you are bound to have a few in the group that think you’re a hack and have no business training with them.
I’m guessing some of you tell your master’s swim coach that you only know how to freestyle and that you don’t need to kick as you need to save your legs.
Then, you probably head out riding with your cyclist buddies and when it’s your turn to pull, get into aero so they don’t get any benefit. You probably say something about needing to spin it out more and save your legs for your run. I bet they love that.
Finally, you head to the track for running intervals and announce loudly that your legs are shot from all the riding you’ve been doing. I’m sure the runners really give a crap about why you’re slower than them.
But hatred all comes down to tolerance and knowledge. We need to educate people that although somewhat irritating and nerdy, triathletes are genuine renaissance men of sport. The professionals at this sport are some of the best athletes in the world. They can swim, bike and run with the best and then combine it all in a day. I think Javier Gomez was approached by the Spain track and swim teams. Chris Lieto was invited to cycle the time-trial in the Tour California with the pros. I certainly wouldn’t count out Mirinda Carfrae in an international marathon seeing as she can run a 2:52 off the bike.
The sport is even drawing the attention of celebrities. I hear that Matthew Mcconaughey, Jennifer Lopez, Teri Hatcher and Mario Lopez have all tried out the Nauctica Malibu Triathlon. Reason enough to sign up for that race I’d say. Oh, and let’s not forget this guy:
Oh, you haven’t heard? Yup, Lance is back in triathlon bringing with him the media frenzy and controversy that go along with his name. Has this sparked a whole new group of haters? Poor people hate rich people and fat people hate fit people, so most of North America probably hates Lance. Even some other triathletes hate Lance. Isn’t that a little cannibalistic? Poor pro triathletes that don’t get as much attention as the 7 time Tour de France winner. Boo hoo.
So I guess there are a lot of factors that come into the triathlon hatred and as triathletes we’ll just have to take it. Maybe a few of you out there could tone done the nerdyness a touch. Leave the gram counting for the pharmacists and just ride your bike to get faster. Pay attention at masters swim and perhaps try the butterfly once in a while. Run for the sake of running, not as a brick workout.
Basically, be cool dude. Be cool.