Getting the History Right

GETTING THE HISTORY RIGHT about the early years of Ironman and triathlon

This is what we do about Ironman history research that is wrong.

GET TRIATHLON HISTORY RIGHT ONE STEP AT A TIME

The important thing about accuracy is to get into the popular record  “what we know now to be correct.”  We are content now with taking small steps to get triathlon history right.

CHECK THE FACTS AGAIN

We fact-check more than ever in the triathlon Anniversary years that date from 1974 – the Mission Bay Triathlon and 1978 – The Hawaiian Iron Man Triathlon.   We see that we have made oral and written typos along with everyone else.   We continue to be surprised at some evidentiary discoveries from our contemporary 1970’s documents.  What to do about it?

MAKE IT RIGHT
Make it right as we come across it.

Our way now is to use strike-through or [….] to edit/ excise typos in original papers and press accounts and add the words that make it right.  “…John and [Joan] Judy Collins. Italicize Judy?

MAKE IT READ RIGHT AT FIRST GLANCE

Every single time a bit of the historic record is viewed the correct information should be part of what comes up to a reader.  A footnote helps, too, to explain the why.   The correct information should be right there in the text when possible.

“WHAT I KNOW NOW”

A bicycle history researcher from MIT has written a few history books on bicycle development.  He learns more about bicycle history all the time.  That is why his prior history books are not as accurate as the more recent ones.  He now incorporates a phrase such as “This is what I know now to be true in …” 2015.

“THIS TWT (ThisWasTriathlon) WEBSITE IS WHAT JUDY and JOHN COLLINS KNOW NOW TO BE TRUE IN MARCH 2018.”

We assume that Ironman Triathlon interviewers want to get the history right. We know from documented experience that about 98% of what has been written about early IM is incorrect for a number of evidentiary reasons. Those research sources include Wikipedia and many pieces that have appeared on the official ironman.com website. Therefore the research by any writer is likely not based on an accurate account. Our solution to that factual problem is to put conditions on an interview.

We want the opportunity to fact-check the final draft of print copy after an interview by a writer.For filming we would like to see the script that will be the context of a video interview before the cameras roll. It is a fact that an answer by us to a question in the 1980’s or 1990’s would have a different answer by us now because we know more. Before 2002 we had not opened our own files from the Hawaii and California years that included our triathlon history.

We wish to thank Bob Babbitt and Rick Kozlowski who invited us to return to O’ahu in 2002 and 2003 for Ironman Revisited (IR).
Babbitt and Koz were veterans of the 1980 Nautilus Iron Man Triathlon in Honolulu. They invited Ironman Revisited participants to complete our original Hawaiian Iron Man course in order to raise money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. That is when we opened our boxes from 1970’s Honolulu that we had shipped from Hawaii before we left Honolulu on 31 October 1979. That is the first time, too, that we made an odometer measurement of the Ironman bike course! Better yet we talked to the original Waikiki Swim Club Triathlon volunteers of those years and to an original 1978 Finisher or two.

Why We Started the Iron Man in 1978 became clear to us as we retraced our steps around the island in 2002.
Every Anniversary Year since 2003 we have taken a look at our old files when we are in town. We spend 1/2 the year as Permanent Residents in the Republic of Panamá. Each time we read some files we learn more. We have the means now to provide [Links] to those original sources. We are not there yet.

This TWT website is a communications reference tool for us to use when inquiries come to us.
The website is not a book. That is a separate but related project with a different target audience. We have boxes of original contemporary documents that provide a picture of amateur sport in the 1970’s and before. Out of those files are some documents and correspondence that will go on this version of our website.