The Triathlon community mourns the death of ITU Honorary President, Les McDonald

by Olalla Cernuda on 06 Sep, 2017 04:06 • Español
The Triathlon community mourns the death of ITU Honorary President, Les McDonald

The International Triathlon Union and Les McDonald’s family want to express their infinite gratitude to the whole triathlon and sports community for their support and warm messages of condolence sent after the death of our Honorary President, Les McDonald. Thousands of emails, letters, Facebook and Twitter message were received yesterday showing their love they all had for him, and securing that his legacy will live among us forever.

IOC President Thomas Bach said “On behalf of the Olympic Movement, I would like to extend my most sincere condolences to everyone at the International Triathlon Union. Les McDonald was a great and determined fighter and he played a decisive role in making triathlon an Olympic sport. Having known Les personally, I know that it was such a proud moment for him to see the sport that he loved so much officially become a part of the Olympic programme at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000”.

“Through his incredible dedication and commitment to triathlon, Les always led by example. In many ways, but especially with regards to fighting for gender balance and support for athletes in sport, he was ahead of his time. This was hugely appreciated by everyone in the Olympic family, included myself. He will always be remembered for his incredible perseverance, inspiring so many people with his great achievements.”

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) also extended their condolences to ITU and the McDonald’s family. “ASOIF is saddened by the passing of ITU Honorary President Les McDonald. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. We will remember him as a passionate person and one who has greatly impacted the evolution of your sport, triathlon”, said its President, IOC Member Francesco Ricci Bitti.

“We are extremely grateful for all the messages received. Les was a wonderful person, and his dedication to our sport has had an impact on everyone. We will make sure that his legacy will live with all of us forever, and that our sport will continue to grow as he would have wished”, said ITU President and IOC Member, Marisol Casado. 

“For us here at Japan Triathlon Union, Les was not only a very special person but an immeasurable compass guiding us along the right way in developing the sport of Triathlon this far in Japan” said Shin Otsuka, Senior Managing Director of the Japan Triathlon Union and ITU Vice President. Along the same line, President of USA Triathlon and ITU Board Member Barry Siff said “All of USA Triathlon and the world of triathlon and sport mourn the passing of this legendary leader”.

Triathlon Australia said in a statement, “It’s very sad news on the passing of Les McDonald, who blazed many trails and to whom triathlon is forever grateful - an extraordinary man”.

The Mexican Triathlon Federation said “He was a great man, a great leader, the best possible friend for all athletes and a determined fighter for gender balance in our sport. He used to say that ‘we are not like the others’, and we will keep on being different”.
“It’s a sad day”, said five times ITU World Champion Javier Gomez Noya. “Without his work and dedication, our sport wouldn’t be what it is today.”

Australian Olympic triathlete Aaron Royle said “Many owe a great deal of gratitude for what he did for the sport of triathlon.”

Two times ITU World Champion Emma Carney said “I am very saddened to hear we have lost Les - I always admired Les and all that he did for not only Triathlon, but also female equality.”

Tom Dielen, Secretary General of the World Archery Federation said “Les has been a great friend for years in the Olympic Family and his drive brought your Sport to the Olympic Games and you continue his legacy.  Please transmit my sincere condolences to his family knowing this would have been for Les the entire Triathlon Family especially the athletes which were for him all his sons and daughters.”

Philippe Lescure, President of the French Federation, said: “Les always had a very passionate relationship with France and the French Triathlon Federation, and the grief of his passing is shared by all the French triathlon family”.

For the Chinese Triathlon Federation, “Mr. McDonald is the creator of the ITU and he was also an old friend of China. He made remarkable contribution on the ITU triathlon development throughout the world and China, especially during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.”

“Les McDonald dedicated his life to triathlon and pursued his passion by building sports’s government bodies which later let to the creation of ITU. The Russian Triathlon Federation will always appreciate his invaluable contribution to the world of triathlon as well as his will to support Russian triathletes”, said the Russian Federation in a statement.

“As one of the earliest Federations to join ITU, we had the privilege of knowing Mr. McDonald from the beginning. His passion for the sport, its competitors, it’s officials and organisers, he championed for all of their causes”, said the Bermudian Federation.

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