Chicago Blackhawks or Detroit Red Wings? Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers? Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?
No matter what sport it is, chances are you have a favorite team.
Now name your favorite triathlon team.
Not so easy, is it? In tri, most athletes race for themselves; and you’re not likely to find a sports fan at a multisport event.
Leon Wolek, race director of Leon’s World’s Fastest Triathlon, wants to change that.
His recipe: Take a big event in a small town; add a dollop of passion and a dose of healthy competition.
His inspiration: Hockey.
Born and raised in New Chicago, Indiana, Wolek grew up a Blackhawks fan, cheering for one of only six teams in the NHL at the time.
“It was impossible to get a ticket; if you did, it was standing room only,” he says about games against the Red Wings. “If you experienced that, you couldn’t believe it.”
It’s this spirit of competition that Wolek wants to inject into triathlon, a sport where athletes are more concerned with their own PR than the people racing right next to them.
What’s the secret ingredient?
Athletes and sports fans love teams. Teams give athletes someone to compete with (or against) and they give fans someone to cheer for. Teams mean wearing your colors with pride, joking with your friends about the opposition, and inspiring each other to stay out late practicing slap shots, throwing spirals, or running sprints.