Athlete Dies During New York's Grueling Ironman Triathlon

By Adam Nichols and Dan Bader  on August 11, 2012 2:07pm

MANHATTAN — An athlete competing in a grueling triathlon died as he swam in the Hudson River Saturday.

The man experienced problems during the 2.4 mile swim which was the first section of the US Ironman Championship, event spokeswoman Emily Vicker said.

He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

"We are deeply saddened to confirm the death of an athlete at today’s Aquadraat Sports Ironman U.S. Championship," Vicker said.

"On behalf of all of us in the triathlon community, we mourn his death and send our condolences to his family and loved ones."

The athlete had not been named by race officials as of Saturday afternoon.

Organizers only decided the race could go ahead late Friday after a broken sewer in Westchester discharged millions of gallons of sewage into the river. 

Vicker said in an email Friday, "The New York City Department of Environmental Protection tested the water following the break and the reports show the water is safe for swimming."

The cause of the man's death was pending an autopsy, Vicker said.

More than 2,500 people were taking part in the triathlon, which included a 112 mile bicycle ride and a 26.2 mile run in New York and New Jersey. It finishes at West 83rd Street in Riverside Park.

It was won by California Ironman Jordan Rapp in 8:11:18.

Talking about the death after the race, he said, "It's a tragedy.

"It happens at races. It's a race director's worst nightmare."

Pros enter the water at the swim start of the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon on Sunday, July 8, 2012.
Pros enter the water at the swim start of the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon on Sunday, July 8, 2012.
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Sean P. Walkinshaw/brightroom.com

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