In October, World Triathlon Corporation (“WTC”) and Ironman announced a partnership with Life Time Fitness. As part of this new partnership WTC and Life Time are creating a “Women for Tri Board of Advisors.” The stated purpose of the Board is to “work with IRONMAN and Life Time to research, brainstorm, create and put into action new steps to grow participation of female athletes in triathlon.” WTC and Life Time are currently accepting applications for the Board of Advisors and will ultimately select twelve women to serve a one year term.
When I tweeted out that I would be applying for a position on the Board of Advisors, some people questioned why I would do this given my past writing about WTC. The reason is simple, advocating for positive change in triathlon — including an equal number of professional female triathletes in Kona (#50womentokona), deeper prize purses for professional triathletes, cultivating opportunities for new and developing professional triathletes, progress in creating responsible custodians of the sport and using triathlon to promote both fitness and charitable endeavors — is a lot like building a house. My end goal is not, contrary to somewhat popular belief, to tear down WTC but rather to advance the sport as a whole and raise the standards employed by all players in the industry.
Each of the these goals is a portion of the house, a staircase, a door, a window, a floor. In order to put the house together I need tools. I already have certain tools at my disposal, a voice on social media (a saw), grassroots support (nails) and contacts with media and sponsors (a level), but I am missing other tools needed to build this house. Through the Board of Advisors, WTC and LifeTime are offering a new tool. It could be an incredibly useful tool (perhaps a hammer, as Jeremy Clarkson has taught me you can build or fix anything with a hammer) or it could be completely useless (a foam painting edger). Right now I don’t know what this tool is or what it can be, but I do know that I’m not in the position to turn down any tool potentially at my disposal.
WTC may decide that it doesn’t want to give me access to this tool, whatever it may be. I can’t fault them if they decline to appoint me to the Women’s Advisory Board, I’m an outspoken advocate and my positions are often in opposition to or critical of WTC. They may want a Board of yes (wo)men or they may want a Board of bigger names or they may want a Board of faster athletes. If they don’t select me, it won’t be the end of my advocacy, I’ll just work on finding new tools and better utilizing the tools I already have. If, however, what they’re looking for is for a person who is an advocate for the sport and the involvement and promotion of female athletes on both the professional and age group levels, perhaps we can provide each other with useful tools.