An article by David Browne in Men’s Journal examines the deaths in triathlons. An excerpt from the article:
At last August’s Ironman U.S. Championship in New York, a 43-year-old Hong Kong man was pulled from the water near the end of the 2.4-mile Hudson River swim and died a short time later.
“It’s terrible,” says John Korff, of New York Ironman. “As an event organizer, it changes your life. You just try to make it safer and warn people.”
Over the past nine years, 43 competitors have died in USA Triathlon–sanctioned events – six this year alone. While the situation is not epidemic (odds of death are one in every 76,000 participants), it caused enough alarm last year to prompt USA Triathlon to convene an investigative panel, whose findings were released in September.
CI was reporting on the day that the Hong Kong police officer was pulled from the waters in New Jersey. The fatality cast a pall over the event, despite the fact that unprecedented crowds were present, and moods were ebullient.
In several NYC based marathons, both men and women have died in the swimming portions of the race, and some have theorized that they were stung by jellyfish and then suffered heart attacks, or panicked and suffered heart attacks.
Whatever the reason, deaths like these do not occur in standard bicycle racing, and seem to be connected more often to the swim portion. Therefore the reasons concocted by doctors–that many have pre-existing conditions that cause the heart attacks, just doesn’t fly.