Tuesday, October 02, 2007


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Here is the response I got from the organisers of the tri series I was planning on doing, after I emailed them that I believed I had no choice but to lodge a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission on the grounds that their running a Clydesdale but not an Athena category was discriminating on the grounds of sex.

Good afternoon ,

I understand that you have had several discussions with our staff regarding the inclusion or otherwise of an Athena category in the forthcoming Gatorade Triathlon Series. Thank you for your feedback and comments.

Prior to the commencement of the 0607 Gatorade Triathlon Series the decision was made to discontinue the Athena category as a result of
only one or two competitors entering this category during the preceding season. The facilitation of event categories requires the allocation of a significant amount of resources in the form of prizes, swim caps and wave start coordination, bike racks, administration and event registration requirements. As with any other product (be it a super market item or model of car) when there is insufficient demand the item will be withdrawn from the market by its manufacturers and the scenario that we are discussing is no different.

AT the completion of every Gatorade Triathlon Series event SuperSprint collects survey responses from participants of how they rate the various components of the event and requests for any new additions. Since the Athena category was discontinued we have not yet had one request (apart from yours) for it to be reinstated. We shall continue to monitor the demand in future.

We respect your right to refer this matter to the Equal Opportunity Commission however for the reasons outlined above we would have no concerns about justifying our decision.


I'm upset now - the gatorade triathlons are the best, and pretty much the only, events run in Melbourne - but how can I give these pr%&*s my money? I wouldn't spit on them if they were on fire.
Please keep in mind that they have repeatedly told me there is no minimum number of entries for a category. In addition, how can people request a category which they are not told about? I don't believe their arguments are valid and I think their attitude is absolutely offensive, but I want to race.

11 much-appreciated comments:

MorseyRuns said...

They are comparing supermarket items and cars with a category for a triathlon??? Maybe they haven't marketed the Athena category enough and they are missing out on the larger-than-size-8 market when it comes to cashed up exercising girls??? I don't know what the answer is but I love that you threatened them with the Equal Opportunity Commission.

Wes said...

Write back and suggest they let the Athenas start in their appropriate age groups. It won't cost them another pence except for prizes...

bah! Race and have fun, LBTEPA... Sometimes life is unfair...

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

I understand the cost of three more prizes, but extra cost for swim caps, bike racks, event registration?? What a bunch of Apples.

airlie said...

ooh great idea wes! you legend! go kick their arses!

Sue said...

Unfortunately, discrimination still abounds everywhere. Only by continually challenging them can we erode such mind-sets.
It might take some work, but what about finiding a group of women who fit the Athena category, and fo to the organisers as a group?

Dante said...

All is not lost! There's another series run by Start To Finish, go to

There's only the 5 races, and they are nowhere near as popular as the Gatorade series (about 800 per event), but I did the series last year and loved it. Not sure about the Athena category, with lower participation it's unlikely, but I found it well run so check them out.

They also run the enduro which is strangely lots of fun considering how much it hurts.

Finally, who can resist a series where the sprint distance is sponsored by a beer company?

IM Able said...

That is TOTAL bullshit about the extra expense -- you can have Athenas start with age groupers and even have the same caps. Rack the bikes wherever you want to! It's the race directors who make those decisions, not us! And One or two participants? Well then show me the major cost in providing awards? And it's ridiculous to throw a race that doesn't support or (therefore) attract Athena competitors and then use the surveys FROM THAT RACE to prove your point. Yeah.

That's bullshit and now I'm angry, too. If I lived in Melbourne, I'd be launching an all out assault. What they're saying is that because they haven't found your participation easy or twisted out of them through demands, they simply will not consider it a possibility.

What a set of jerks. Forget EOC. Let's just try to be ambassadors for a sport that has incredible potential to grow. Or at minimum, civil.


GeekGirl said...

Is the triathlon governed by any governing body? Like here - there is the USAT. Maybe you could appeal to them.

jeanne said...

Bastards! everything they said above! yeah one or two swimcaps--i can see how that will set them back! PLUS OF COURSE YOU CAN'T REGISTER FOR A CATEGORY THAT'S NOT LISTED! rat bastards!!!

Anonymous said...


Good on you for sticking with your convictions... :)

I think you are being a bit harsh on teh organisers though. Sure, they disagree with you. But they have given you a genuine reason why they disagree with you, and at least had the courtesy to reply.

I'm not saying they are right. And I support you taking this further. But calling them names, etc, hardly seems an appropriate response to a genuine difference of opinion.


Miss Beck said...

Am I the only one who thinks this isn't the issue everyone thinks it is?

If I were an organiser or a major event and only two people in a city of god knows how many people turned up, I would cancel it too.

Don't get me wrong, I think it is a shame that you've missed out and I DO encourage you to stand up for what you believe in but to suggest that they are discriminating is really a cop out in my opinion.

They gave all the reasons why and everyone has jumped on the 'prizes don't cost that much more' bandwagon but really - sit back and look at everything if you were the organiser. Two people? In a race? I understand it is about pushing yourself as a competitor in a race against yourself but as an organiser of a major event, only 2 people entering speaks volumes. As it is, they said Alisons entry was the only one. What next year? Zero competitors?

Surely most of us have worked in a business world. They made a business decision based on the demand for an event. To suggest it was a decision based on people's body sizes and/or fitness levels is misguided in my opinion. There was no demand, so no event this year. Simple.