ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — 2004 U.S. Olympian and current USA Triathlon staff member Barb Lindquist was inducted into the International Triathlon Union Hall of Fame on Wednesday, while Carl Thomas, creator of the U.S. Triathlon Series and the first ITU treasurer, was honored with the ITU Lifetime Achievement Award. Lindquist and Thomas were recognized at an induction ceremony in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, site of this week’s ITU World Triathlon Grand Final.
Lindquist has a long and storied history with the sport of triathlon. She started her athletic career as a swimmer, competing for Stanford University and as part of the U.S. National Team until 1991. In 1996, she began her professional triathlon career, ultimately representing the United States at 10 consecutive ITU World Championships. In her 134 professional career starts, Lindquist won 33 races, reached the podium 86 times and recorded 114 top-10 finishes.
“To be included in the fourth induction class of the ITU Hall of Fame amongst the legends in our sport whom I have had the pleasure of racing against is something that still hasn’t sunk in,” Lindquist said. “When I got the call about the induction, I was truly shocked and immensely humbled. I told my husband Loren, who was my coach and manager and sharer of the journey, that this honor is as much his as it is mine. It’s for Team Lindquist. I’ve never been one to think about my place in ITU history, so to have my contribution to the sport — both from my racing days and my recruiting of the next generation of Olympians — acknowledged by the ITU is such an honor.”
She was ranked first in the world from Feb. 2003 through 2004, and placed ninth at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the second Games to feature the sport of triathlon. Through she retired from racing in 2005, Lindquist has continued to make significant contributions to the sport, first as the coach of the U.S. Under-23 National Team and now as the USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruitment Program Manager.
Lindquist’s leading role with the Collegiate Recruitment Program, which identifies top-tier NCAA runners and swimmers and recruits them to become elite triathletes, has been instrumental in identifying the current crop of U.S. athletes competing on the world stage — including Gwen Jorgensen, who won the United States’ first gold medal in triathlon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
U.S. National Team athletes Katie Zaferes and Kirsten Kasper, who are both ranked top-five in the current World Triathlon Series races, as well as WTS medalist Summer Cook and World Cup medalist Chelsea Burns, were all recruited to the sport through the CRP program.
“Beyond being the amazing talent that became an Olympian, Barb has continued her contribution to the sport, and to USA Triathlon, in her role as our Collegiate Recruitment Program Manager,” said USA Triathlon President and ITU Executive Board Member Barry Siff. “Barb has been instrumental to the enormous success of our women at the highest levels, and also serves as a tremendous role model for everyone in our high-performance pipeline.”
Thomas was the recipient of the ITU Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to individuals who have made an extraordinary, long-term contribution off the field of play or through an exceptional contribution to ITU and the sport of triathlon.
“It’s very humbling,” Thomas said. “It’s great to be recognized by your peers, and it’s an honor to be inducted with such an esteemed class. Any individual achievement that I was a part of in the 1980s and 90s pales in comparison to the effort of the team around me. There was a lot of hard work performed by many, and none of it happens without the magic of the sport itself.”
When Thomas was the vice president of marketing at Speedo Swimwear in 1982, he joined Jim Curl to create the U.S. Triathlon Series. The series quickly spread from the original five cities to 12 nationwide. The format of the series and the distance was considered ideal for Olympic competition, and Thomas predicted that by the time triathlon was an Olympic sport, “hundreds of thousands of athletes will have competed at the Olympic distance” worldwide.
In 1984, Thomas founded CAT Sports, Inc., creating network televised special events for a number of sports and acting as the executive producer of more than 25 televised triathlon events for ESPN, NBC and other national syndications. Thomas also served as the first treasurer of the International Triathlon Union.
“Carl was so incredibly instrumental in the formation of our sport, including the USTS in the 1980s, which established the Olympic distance, wave starts, serious prize money and television exposure,” Siff said. “He was a true pioneer.”
Lindquist and Thomas join two-time ITU world champion Karen Smyers and Mark Allen, 1989 world champion and six-time IRONMAN world champion, as U.S. members of the ITU Hall of Fame. The ITU Hall of Fame was formed in 2014.
Lindquist and Thomas are also members of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame; both were members of the 2009 induction class.
For more information about the ITU Hall of Fame, visit triathlon.org/hall_of_fame.
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).