Hate the Biggest Cheater
Hate them, hate them, hate them.
From Everyman Tri:
You would think that Matt Hoover (the 2005 Biggest Loser of television reality show fame) would understand the need for hard work and sacrifice.
After all Hover did struggle for an amazing 157-pound weight loss to win the Biggest Loser show back in 2005. So it would be safe to assume that he would understand all of the hard work and sacrifice that thousands of amateur athletes put in each day in an attempt to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
He must surely understand all of the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into racing a triathlon. You know starting at the sprint distance level, and perhaps working up to a 70.3 race, and perhaps even a full Ironman and (with a lot of luck, talent, and speed) one day qualifying for the dream race on the big Island.
Just as there are no short cuts to weight loss, their is no short cut in the world of Ironman racing---unless of course you happen to be Hover.
"I am super excited about it," Hoover tells PEOPLE.
"The Ironman people offered me a special invitation, and I felt as excited as if I got on the Biggest Loser. Every day I wake up, I'm not just thinking like someone who has lost weight or is trying to lose weight. I am thinking, 'I want to be an Ironman.' That's a title that so few people have."
People Magazine goes on to report that even though Hoover has gained back some of the weight he lost on the show he now, "spends 25 hours a week training for the grueling triathlon, which consists of a 2.4-mile open-water swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a marathon 26.2-mile run. "As soon as someone says, 'This guy can't do it,' I'm doing it," he says. "It's going to show a lot of people who have the idea that an athlete is 5'10" and 160 pounds that a big guy can do this and it can be enjoyable."
Wow Matt, you know what would really impress us and how you could really, "show a lot of people who have the idea that an athlete is 5'10" and 160 pounds that a big guy can do this?"
Put in the hard work and ACTUALLY QUALIFY FOR KONA, or at least enter the lottery like everyone else!
All that you are showing us is that like the other Biggest Loser who ran a marathon in a van, your biggest accomplishments are all for the camera with a lot of help and special treatment that in our opinion don't add up to a hill of beans at the end of the day.
Blame the person...or blame Ironman? Ironman is the one that approached him...so obviously they see some sort of marketing in doing that...
Besides....if Ironman came to you and offered the chance to go to the big dance would you honestly say "No...I want to qualify or be put in the lottery just like everyone else..." or would you jump at the once in a lifetime chance?
The whole lottery thing is a sham anyway...I mean when you register you can pay "extra" to be in a higher probability pool of people...well how does that pool of people have a higher probability? Is the selection process purely random? If so then why do you fill out all this "life history" information when you put your lottery submission in?
Sham Sham Sham...seems like with all the cheaters, marketing, coaching claims, and product "innovations" lately...the whole sport is getting away from it's foundation...and that's just sad....
So much bitterness, Chad! How about some laps around HP to release all that anger tonight????
I'd take a spot if it was offered to me, but alas, I'm not famous, I have no compelling tear-at-your-heartstrings story, or lucky...so just going to work harder, get faster and hope everyone else gets flat tires on race day!
Go Oprah!!! and she should do Hawaii IM with "Jared from Subway" next to her!!! LOL.
Does it even matter if he approached WTC or not? The last Kona celubutard, Ryan Sutter, used his connections to weasel into a spot. As an afterthought, he started to raise money for a firefighter's charity. Would he have done any of this on his own?
WTC & NBC love their "celebrity" stories. Who's the ameoba and who's the host? The WTC does not promote younger athletes, but always has room for an inspirational story. [btw, NBC happened to recycle their heart tugging stories from Kona to the 70.3 championships in the 2008 editions. Guess some NBC intern got lazy.]
How is it a World Championship when 250 people pay to get a lottery spot? There's no lottery in Bass Fishing Championships or Lawn Mower Racing championships. Dilution.
damn Chad, you are even more cynical than me when it comes to triathlons.... that is quite an accomplishment. :)
Well, I know the only place I belong in Kona is on the beach.
I swear to goodness if Hoover fails and is carted by a producer's van for any length of time, I will lose my sh!t.
The IM lottery is about as objective as calls in pro basketball.
It's not special if any idiot can go. And if I have to read about one more celebrity doing a triathlon I'll recycle my Hammer gel.
that is one of the funniest comments on the board about you losing it.. LOL
Here we go again...
For all of the "youngsters" out there, let me tell you that Alexandra Paul (of Baywatch fame/infamy) had the tri community in an uproar way back in '97 when organizers "let her in through the VIP side door" at Kona. I'm sure that there are even older and potentially even more outrageous examples, but I shall date myself no further...
Anyway, triathlon used to be about the sport in much the same way that rock and roll used to be about the music, Man! In other words, maybe it was "pure" at some point...but it's a business now.
On the downside, races get more and more expensive and harder and harder to get into every year. Plus, you get more and more "check the box and move on" kind of people entering tris. However, on the upside, the large number of triathletes (and their aggregate disposible income) has lead to incredible advances in technology and has allowed people to race in amazing venues (e.g., right through the heart of DC!).
My point is, we can choose to bellyache about how some people have more opportunities than others. However, lets not forget that a lot of good has come about as a result of the way that triathlon has been marketed over the years. Lets also not forget that, if we really want to be "purists", nothing's stopping us from getting together with our friends and laying out our own courses. After all, isn't that what the original Kona racers did?
Just my $0.02.
Does anyone else remember Sister Madonna being turned away when she didn't make the bike time cutoff?
The Hoyts not making the swim cutoff?
So they couldn't finish the race, but you'll let every lame reality TV star compete?
And I have a problem with the overall cut to the finish philosophy by the Biggest Loser.
The first season's winner did a Master Cleanse to drop weight and then gained everything back after the show.
The whole Blaine getting a ride in the van and them fudging his finish time further put them on my Christmas List.
If you want to open it up to more people, then give out more slots at qualifying races.
I'm kind of with the Herminator on this. I don't get what all the anger is about. Golf has its special exempt card. The Boston marathon has plenty of spots for non-qualifiers. They even give up spots to residents who live along the route without having to raise money or qualify for a time.
If they let through a celebrity to the sport then it brings notoriety to the sport. It's not like they are giving him a medal while carting him through the course in a car. The dude will still have to train for it just like the rest of us. He will be there along with a lot of folks who didn't qualify for it (i.e., special exemptions, lottery spots, charity spots) I'm sure that there will be many people struggling with their weights who will see this guy doing an Ironman distance race and will be inspired enough by it to get off of the couch.
I, along with my sister, sat next to two different computers at exactly the time when IMFL opened up its registration hoping to get a spot ... which I got. If this dude were to show up at IMFL with a special exemption, I would come up to him like I would come up to any athletes there and shake his hand and wish him luck. We are all brothers in arms in this. Some of us took a different path to get there but we are all there to traverse the same path. Correct me if I wrong but everyone who shows up at the starting line of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run has earned their way there through hard work.
If his presence brings extra attention to the race and the sport then I'm all for it. Aren't we all better for that in the long run ? It's not like he's there to mock us. According to him, he's putting in a 25 hours training week to get there. True or not, he's giving us respect by telling the world the commitment it takes to complete such a race.
If you want to watch an event that takes only people who are deemed fast enough ... watch the Olympic qualifying races. If you want to pound your chest with bavardo, be only among the best of the best, or be away from slower people who might "lower" the prestige of the race that you are doing then really work your ass off and get an Olympic qualify spot.
I'm glad that he's doing it. I'm glad that he's bringing attention to our sport. Most of all, I wished that they also gave him an IMFL spot so that I can brag about either beating him or make up an excuse as to why I lost to him.
This guy's story is true biggest loser who qualified for Kona. The biggest loser reality show is a joke, I would love not to have work and have a ton of hours to train.
oh yeah and Go Dr. Phil!
Now you see that man should be at Ironman Hawaii. What an awesome story. The Biggest loser going, because of the reality show, he did not earn it. And Hawaii will claim it's victims, and no TV or reality contest is going to save him at the energy lab. If he gets that far.
He went on national TV and lost weight - that sounds a lot harder than entering a lottery and winning a slot. Agree with Tuan - good job and good luck at Kona. The more Ironmen, the merrier as far as I'm concerned. More tattoos that are actually company marketing logos but which we still love, cherish, and will look upon as the last thing before we die...(sorry family and future wife and kids...it's the tat).
All good points above me. I used to be a complete purest when it comes to the 'King of all events'. Now, I dont' know. I mean, I would love to go to Kona and compete, but can I really afford to go there. That's a ton of dough for a teacher. I recall a few years back when Ryan of that stupid reality show was in Kona. What a sham! That guy doesn't know how to hold a fork! It used to be about the elite. Now, it seems like the people of IM-Kona are looking for any kind of publicity.
I am not saying anyones opinions is wrong. We are all entitled to our opinion, but after reading the article of the gut that lost all that weight and busted his but for the chance to run on Queens Highway, he is mine a little more elborated.
I don’t care if Ironman gave him an entry, but not to the big show. Give him an entrance to a race near his home town, where his fans can show up to cheer him on and make him prove that he deserves to goto the show. That would spark interest and promote the sport of triathlon in the US. Ok, so he lost a lot of weight that, well truthfully, HE put on over the years of inactivity. Ok so while on the Biggest Loser he had a personal trainer at his disposal, nutritionist, meals that are regulated for him, no job to interfere with his working out, a group of people to work out with him and give him a sort of inspiration and support. Oh wait that is just like his Ironman entry…. Everything was handed to him on a silver platter. Show me a true reason, there are people busting their hump to get to the show or even to actually race in their first triathlon, let’s hear their stories of countless hours of training in rain or shine. Time not spent with their families, cause they were out on 4-5 hour rides, 2-3 hour runs, or hours in the pool. And I am not talking about the elite, or top amateurs. I am talking Joe average triathlete, beginners, or someone with a disability that they have overcome or adapted to, so that they may cross the line and be called Ironman or Triathlete for the matter. This year is my first Ironman, and I have watched my friends struggle, work and look like they are death over from being tired, or recovering from injury sustained due to the rigorous training required to come out and play. I didn’t apply for a lottery spot, because I haven’t proved that I belong running on Queens Highway. Now I sort of wish I did, because someone else said this guy was more deserving than me and some of the great racers I have met around the world and here in DC. This is why I am a little upset about this. This guy didn’t pay for a lottery spot, he hasn’t even stepped on the the playing field. So we honored him with a World Series spot. That's the last of my 2 cents.
If you don't apply for a lottery slot, that's your choice. The opportunity is there and you did not take it. Trying to extend that philosophy to all of America - good luck. This is America. If you didn't take the opportunity, don't tell others that they shouldn't. "I COULD have gone to xxx college, but I didn't". Yeah, well that's your problem, not mine. If you want to race Kona, enter the lottery. The race directors still let avereage people in. It's the only sport where we can join in the World Championships. That's the rule. There's no "belong running on Queen K". Average people do Kona every year. It's a race that you can still enter.
As for Ironman, you don't have to do sprints, olys, 70.3s, and volunteer to 'earn' it. It's just a distance. If you want to do one, sign up for one. If you want to do Kona, enter the lottery. The more, the merrier.
Marketing is necessary in a sport, and we've all benefited from it. If you don't think you have, you're naive.
I'm not judging whether it's right or wrong, but this decision is a marketing one in multiple realms in which WTC, triathlon, and NBC all win.
1. like Andy Baldwin from "The Bachelor", this guy potentially already brings a viewing audience to the Ironman special next December. Helps both Ironman's publicity/awareness, and brings more ratings to NBC.
2. The Biggest Loser is an NBC show....NBC is the network the broadcasts the Ironman.
3. The Biggest Loser has been moving into more realistic "challenges" this season (if you watch the show). This season, the contestants have done a triathlon, half marathon, and this week the finalists did a marathon. In terms of getting average Joe moving, potentially this type of thing shows what's possible (thus raising interest in tris and running and other sports). That's potentially good for Ironman and for USAT events generally.
I don't mind at all the celebrity slots that WTC gives away...except when the Ironman show then spends the majority of their time covering these folks instead of the pros!