When I saw Inside Triathlon's list of the top-10 most influential people in triathlon I was first amused, then surprised, then shocked and finally angered. Even if I am aware of how these "pay-for-play" outlets operate, it was disturbing to see an image of the sport that absolutely does not correspond to reality.
Reflecting some comments I saw on twitter from others, I got together with Joel Filliol and we came up with a list of the most influential people in Triathlon. These are people that are trend-setters and are truly moving our sport forward.
1 - Brownlee brothers
The Brownlee brothers are the biggest trend-setters in our sport. The whole sport follows, both literally and figuratively, every move they make.
2 - Brett Sutton
Always controversial, always divisive, but there's no way of going around the fact that when it comes to triathlon coaching, he's the biggest figure around.
3 - Chris McCormack
Even if Macca's level of results have somewhat leveled off in the last couple of years, the whole sport keeps hanging on almost every word Macca says.
4 - Bobby Behan
Specialized brought a level of athlete sponsorship to triathlon that was not present before. They dominated the landscape through a wise choice of what athletes and events they sponsor, and Bobby Behan was the man behind this strategy.
5 - Lisa Norden
On top of consistently being one of the top athletes in the past few years, Lisa Norden is also a great personality not only in her home country of Sweden, but also around the triathlon world.
6 - Javier Gomez
A huge personality in our sport. Extremely versatile and a reference to everyone for almost a decade now.
7 - Darren Smith
In a working environment that is extremely hostile towards private contractors, Coach Smith's results with a multitude of female athletes marked his presence as one of the best coaches in our sport.
8 - Robert Püstow
This mention goes towards the WTS Event Director, but it could go to everyone that worked towards making the WTS a premier international race series.
9 - Felix Walchschofer
The CEO of Challenge has been around for a while and continues to help build and develop our sport in a positive way.
10 - Andrew Messick
WTC's CEO has had a lot of difficult decisions to make in the past year, and some of them proved to be the right ones. Even if WTC continues to push their own agenda of developing their brand, which sometimes is not the same as developing our sport, the CEO for WTC remains an influential figure.
Honorable mention: Leanda Cave.