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Baker Inductee into Triathlon Hall of Fame

2 September 2014

For immediate release from Triathlon New Zealand, for further information visit www.triathlon.kiwi or www.triathlon.org

BAKER ONE OF SIX INAUGURAL INDUCTEES INTO TRIATHLON HALL OF FAME

New Zealand’s Erin Baker was last night honoured as one of the first six inductees into the International Triathlon Hall of Fame, being named in Edmonton at the ITU World Championships from the list of 25 nominees released by the ITU a month ago.

Baker is regarded as a great pioneer of the sport, racing at a time when the sport was establishing itself around the world but especially in the United States. Baker was renowned as an athlete who would dominate all opposition over any distance and equally was known for her principled and outspoken stand on all manner of issues – from the sporting to political.

Originally coached by John Hellemans, Baker became self-coached as she continued always to push the boundaries of the sport, winning an ITU World Championship in 1989 and going on to win the Kona Ironman World Championship on two occasions (1987, 1990) and finishing runner-up on a further three occasions. Baker also won the World Duathlon Championships in 1991.

Baker won (along with Rick Wells in the men’s) the demonstration event Triathlon at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games and ended her career with an incredible 104 wins from 121 triathlons entered, across all distances and in all parts of the world.

Baker was named “Triathlete of the decade” by American magazine Triathlete. The magazine commented on her success by saying, “We’ve stopped trying to figure Erin out, we just accept her as the best female triathlete that ever lived.”

Baker was recognized in the 1993 New Year Honours, made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services as a triathlete.

Triathlon New Zealand President Garry Boon says Baker was a star that inspired thousands and helped pave the way for the sport.

“Triathlon in New Zealand has a proud and decorated history with contributions from many people in different areas. Few though can match the record that Erin fashioned in the sport across all distances and events, she was simply a fierce competitor with an amazing ability to swim bike and run like no one else then and perhaps since.

“It is thanks to people like Erin that the sport has evolved to the point it has today, globally and here in New Zealand. On behalf of the entire triathlon and sporting community here in New Zealand I extend my congratulations to Erin on her induction into the Hall of Fame, an honour richly deserved.”

Here is the release from the ITU:

Edmonton, Canada (31 August 2014) – As a part of its 25th year anniversary celebrations, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) today inducted seven individuals into its inaugural Hall of Fame on the penultimate evening of the 2014 TransCanada Corp. Grand Final Edmonton.

“It is a great privilege to induct these nominees into the first Hall of Fame,” said ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado. “They set a standard of excellence from the very beginning that was crucial to the development of both triathlon and ITU. Without them, we would not enjoy the global level of exposure and Olympic standard of competition that we have today.”

Following a day of elite racing in which two World Champions were named, the below were inducted into the Hall of Fame:

Elite Women
Erin Baker (NZL) – ITU World Champion (1989), 3 x ITU World Cup wins
Karen Smyers (USA) – 2 x ITU World Champion (1990, 1995), ITU Long Distance World Champion (1996), 7 ITU World Cup wins, ITU World Cup Series winner (1991)
Emma Carney (AUS) –2 x ITU World Champion (1994, 1997), 19 ITU World Cup wins, 3 x ITU World Cup Series winner (1995, 1996, 1997)

Elite Men
Mark Allen (USA) – First ITU World Champion, Multiple ITU Long Distance and World Cup winner
Simon Lessing (GBR) – 4 x ITU World Champion (1992, 1995, 1996, 1998), Long-Distance Triathlon World Champion (1995), 7 x ITU World Cup wins, Olympian
Greg Welch (AUS) –ITU World Champion (1990). ITU World Cup Series winner (1991), ITU Duathlon World Champion (1993), ITU World Long Distance Champion (1996)
Lifetime Achievement
Les McDonald (CAN) – ITU President (1989-2008), Triathlon Canada President (1984-1996),
Largely credited with adding triathlon to the Olympic Games.

The inductees were narrowed down from a shortlist of 25 individuals in the categories of elite female and male athlete accomplishments, as well as lifetime achievements. Those nominated for the men’s and women’s categories were selected based on the criteria that each has a championship title in one or more ITU World Championships, Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, World Cup Series, and/or ITU World Rankings.

Lifetime Achievement Nominees were selected based on their extraordinary, long-term contributions off the field of play or through an exceptional contribution to ITU and the sport of triathlon.

About the International Triathlon Union (ITU):
The International Triathlon Union is the world governing body for the Olympic sport of Triathlon and all related MultiSport disciplines including Duathlon, Aquathlon, Cross Triathlon and Winter Triathlon. ITU was founded in 1989 at the first ITU Congress in Avignon, France. It has maintained its headquarters in Vancouver, Canada since then and also has offices in Lausanne, Switzerland and Madrid, Spain. It now has over 167 affiliated National Federations on five continents and is the youngest International Federation in the Olympic Games. Triathlon was awarded Olympic Games status in 1994 and made its Olympic debut in Sydney 2000. Triathlon is also featured in the Asian Games, Pan American Games and Commonwealth Games. Paratriathlon was accepted into the Paralympic Games in 2010 and will make its Paralympic debut in Rio 2016. ITU is proudly committed to supporting the development of the sport worldwide through strong relationships with continental and national federations, working with its partners to offer a balanced sport development programme from grassroots to a high-performance level. For more information, visit:www.triathlon.org

ENDS

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