Mike Plant, Team Hoyt, Cherie Gruenfeld to be Inducted into USA Triathlon Hall of Fame

By USA Triathlon | Oct. 24, 2019, 3:43 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Beloved journalist and industry pioneer Mike Plant, father-son push assist duo Dick and Rick Hoyt, and age group multisport star Cherie Gruenfeld were announced Thursday as the tenth induction class of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame. 

The USA Triathlon Hall of Fame serves to recognize, honor and commemorate those individuals and groups who have demonstrated excellence in every aspect of multisport, thereby inspiring others to elevate their own performance, participation and community involvement. Founded in 2008, it has recognized the best performances and contributions in the sport’s 42-year history. This year’s class brings the total number of inductees to 45.

“We are very excited to add these iconic athletes and contributors to the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame,” said Steve Sutherland, Chair of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Executive Committee. “The impact that Mike, the Hoyt family and Cherie made on our sport cannot be understated. On top of their individual accomplishments, each of our inductees impart a love and passion for triathlon that continues to greatly influence the triathlon community.”

The four inductees will be honored Jan. 24 in Tempe, Arizona, at a gala to benefit the USA Triathlon Foundation. The event will be held at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium in the San Tan Ford Club at 7 p.m. The gala and ceremony are being held in conjunction with the inaugural Endurance Exchange triathlon industry conference, which runs from Jan. 23-25 in Tempe. 

Individual tickets are $100, and all ticket purchases are donations to the USA Triathlon Foundation. To purchase tickets, and to learn more about the USA Triathlon Foundation and the individuals and programs it supports, visit usatriathlonfoundation.org. 

About the tenth induction class of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame:

Mike Plant (Posthumous) — Contributor (Escondido, Calif.)
Mike Plant was an author, photographer, journalist and entrepreneur professional for more than 40 years, with a career in multisport that spanned almost the entire lifespan of the industry. As co-founding publisher of the San Diego-based Running and Track Club News in the late 1970s, he was arguably the first journalist to cover triathlon as a bona fide sport in its own right. During the 1980s and ‘90s, his photographs and feature articles appeared in numerous national publications, including Runner’s World, Ultrasport, Outside, Elle and Women’s Sports & Fitness. During the 1980s, Plant served as writer, segment producer and on-air color commentator for endurance sports television productions by NBC, CBS, ESPN and numerous local network affiliates across the U.S.  His book Iron Will is widely acknowledged as a definitive history of the early days of the Hawaii IRONMAN. He also co-authored with Scott Tinley Scott Tinley’s Winning Triathlon, and also co-founded with Tinley the comprehensive triathlon history database, TriHistory.com.

Plant was the finish-line announcer at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona from 1987-1990. He and his wife Cathy spearheaded marketing and public relations for the Bud Light U.S. Triathlon Series through most of the 1980s, as the couple played a leading role in educating mainstream sports media about the still-emerging sport. 

Plant was the Founder and President of Mike Plant & Associates Inc., dba MPA Event Graphics — an industry-leading event services company founded in 2009 that produced promotional signage for event directors and corporations. He passed away in May of 2019, at age 70, from lymphocytic leukemia.

Dick and Rick Hoyt — Age Group Athletes (Holland, Mass.)
Richard Eugene “Dick” Hoyt and Richard Eugene “Rick” Hoyt, Jr. — also known as “Team Hoyt” — are a father-and-son team who complete triathlons, marathons and other endurance events as a push-assist duo. Rick Hoyt, who was born with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia, communicates using an interactive computer. When he was a teenager, he told his father that he wanted to participate in a five-mile benefit run for a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. That was the beginning of the duo’s racing career — and since then, they have completed more than 1,000 running and multisport events together.

Dick and Rick completed their first triathlon in 1985. They finished their first IRONMAN in 1987 in Penticton, B.C. In October of 1988, they went to Kona to take part in the IRONMAN World Championship but were unable to complete the swim. They went back to Kona in 1989 and completed the event, becoming the first duo ever to participate in and complete that iconic event. They also successfully finished the IRONMAN World Championship in 1999. To date, they remain one of only two push-assist teams ever to have completed Kona. To date, they have completed 257 triathlons together, including six IRONMANs and seven IRONMAN 70.3 events. There are now push-assist duos worldwide who take part in running races and triathlons because of Rick and Dick paving the way for them more than 30 years ago.

Cherie Gruenfeld — Age Group Athlete, Contributor (Cathedral City, Calif.)

Cherie Gruenfeld has made an indelible impact on the multisport community not only through her racing accomplishments, but also through her influence on the lives of at-risk youth through her nonprofit organization, Exceeding Expectations. Gruenfeld was in her 40s when she completed her first triathlon, but she quickly developed a talent in the sport. Today, she is a 13-time IRONMAN world champion and multiple age group course record holder; a three-time IRONMAN 70.3 world champion; the 2015 USA Triathlon women’s 70-74 national champion; and the 2014 USA Triathlon Women’s Grand Masters Triathlete of the Year.

In 2001, Gruenfeld founded Exceeding Expectations, a nonprofit serving an inner-city population in San Bernardino, California. The program is designed to encourage at-risk youth to move their lives in a positive direction, using triathlon as a vehicle. Exceeding Expectations introduces inner-city youth to a lifestyle that is healthy and goal-oriented, replaces negative influences with positive role models, and teaches youth to set measurable goals and work hard to achieve them. The program’s biggest priority is education — and through the support of generous donors, Gruenfeld has been able to ensure that when an “EE Scholar” is accepted into college, money will never be an obstacle.

USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Inductees by Class:

Induction Class I (Induction ceremony held Jan. 17, 2009, in Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Judy Flannery (Age Group Athlete)
Jon Gray Noll (Contributor)
Verne Scott (Contributor)
Karen Smyers (Elite Athlete)
Sheila Taormina (Elite Athlete)

Induction Class II (Induction ceremony held Feb. 13, 2010, in Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Jim Curl (Contributor)
Barb Lindquist (Elite Athlete)
Paula Newby-Fraser (Elite Athlete)
Valerie Silk (Contributor)
Carl Thomas (Contributor)

Induction Class III (Induction ceremony held Jan. 15, 2011, in Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Susan Bradley-Cox (Age Group Athlete)
Dave McGillivray (Contributor)
Dave Scott (Elite Athlete)

Induction Class IV (Induction ceremony held May 10, 2012, in San Diego)
Mark Allen (Elite Athlete)
Ethel Autorino (Age Group Athlete)
Bob Babbitt (Contributor)
Sally Edwards (Contributor)
Scott Molina (Elite Athlete)
Scott Tinley (Elite Athlete)

Induction Class V (Induction ceremony held April 18, 2013, in San Diego)
Missy LeStrange (Age Group Athlete)
Jim MacLaren (Contributor)
Julie Moss (Contributor)

Induction Class VI (Induction ceremony held June 26, 2014, in Chicago)
Sister Madonna Buder (Age Group Athlete)
John and Judy Collins (Contributors)
Mike Pigg (Elite Athlete)
Tom Warren (Contributor)

Induction Class VII (Induction ceremony held April 18, 2015, in Boston)
Bill Bell (Age Group Athlete)
Tim DeBoom (Elite Athlete)
Dan Empfield (Contributor)
Karen McKeachie (Age Group Athlete)
Carlos Moleda (Age Group Athlete)
Susan Williams (Elite Athlete)

Induction Class VIII (Induction ceremony held Jan. 16, 2016, in Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Harriet Anderson (Age Group Athlete)
Roger Brockenbrough (Age Group Athlete)
Ken Glah (Elite Athlete)
Siri Lindley (Elite Athlete)

Induction Class IX (Induction ceremony held Aug. 9, 2018, in Cleveland, Ohio)
Hunter Kemper (Elite Athlete)
Mike Reilly (Contributor)
Donna Smyers (Age Group Athlete)
James Ward (Age Group Athlete)

Induction Class X (Induction ceremony to be held Jan. 24 in Tempe, Arizona)
Cherie Gruenfeld (Age Group Athlete, Contributor)
Dick and Rick Hoyt (Age Group Athletes)
Mike Plant (Contributor)

*Please note: Beginning in 2016, the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame induction ceremony shifted to a biennial schedule.

Visit usatriathlon.org/hof for additional information about the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame, including all inductee bios.

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 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — 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).

About the USA Triathlon Foundation

The USA Triathlon Foundation was created in 2014 by the USA Triathlon Board of Directors as an independent tax-exempt 501(c)(3) entity. Under the leadership of its Trustees and Committee members, the Foundation serves as a means to create a healthier America through triathlon and seeks to transform lives by opening up new pathways to the sport for all, especially those who are otherwise underserved. The USA Triathlon Foundation operates with the belief that every child should have the chance to participate, every paratriathlete should have the opportunity to compete, and every aspiring elite athlete should be able to chase his or her Olympic dream. Since the Foundation’s inception, more than $1.9 million has been provided to worthy causes and organizations that support its mission. Donations to the USA Triathlon Foundation ensure America's youth are introduced to the benefits and fun of a multisport lifestyle, athletes with disabilities receive the training, support and gear to be able to participate and excel, and the best aspiring young athletes have a chance to pursue their Olympic Dreams. Visit usatriathlonfoundation.org to learn more and donate today.