The ‘Godfather’ of Australian Triathlon, Garth Prowd OAM, Passes Away
It is with great sadness that ITU has learned of the tragic death of Garth Prowd OAM, the man affectionately known as the Godfather of Australian triathlon, a pioneer of sports tourism in Queensland and a passionate athlete advocate.
Garth was involved in event management and sports marketing for almost 30 years as Managing Director of USM EVENTS, one of Australia’s largest and most successful event management companies, and he was involved in the launching and management of classic triathlon events as Mooloolaba, Gold Coast or Noosa.
After he sold his company in 2009, he was a highly sought after consultant in event management, sports marketing, events tourism and media management. Garth was one of the most experienced, highly respected and knowledgeable event managers and business owners throughout the global events industry.
“It is such a tragic loss that we have no words to express it”, said ITU President and IOC Member, Marisol Casado. “Garth was a true lover of our sport, and he helped us to develop triathlon around the world. He was loved by athletes, organisers and all the community, and will be really missed. The thoughts and prayers or all ITU staff are with his friends and family, as well as with the Australian Federation”, she said.
ITU first Vice President, Loreen Barnett, said: “Garth was such a good partner for ITU as we were evolving into a sport ready to take our place on the programme of the Olympic Games. He taught us many lessons about sport marketing and the business of sport. My heart is very heavy to hear of his death and my condolences go out to his family”.
Sheila O’Kelly, former ITU World Cup manager, said: “as the ITU World Cup manager from 2005 to 2009, it was such a pleasure to work with Garth. He was a real partner for me and we shared such passion for the sport and the athletes. I’m so sorry to hear that he was taken from us too soon. He made triathlon a better sport.”
Garth died after a tragic accident in Spain, when he was 65 years old. Following a road bike accident while riding in Barcelona on Saturday July 22, during a family holiday in Spain, Garth was critically injured and taken to hospital where he passed away peacefully surrounded by his family.
Garth was a truly remarkable man and he will be remembered for his incredible life and his contribution to Australian sport. He was a man who revolutionised triathlon, running and cycling events in Australia, who was himself an enthusiastic sportsman. Garth was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and was nominated for Australian of the Year in 2004. He also received a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2005 for his services to Australian sport. He has been instrumental in the support and career development of a number of Australian top elite athletes and will be dearly missed.