Categorized | Multi-sport, Sports

Ironman 2008 on NBC Dec. 13


For an 18th consecutive year, NBC will showcase the ultimate showdown of raw athletic competition and human perseverance – the Ironman World Championship – on Saturday, Dec. 13, from 9:30 – 11 a.m. on KHNL (Channel 8). 

The event celebrated its 30th anniversary Oct. 11 when more than 1,700 of the world’s fittest athletes from all walks of life braved the harsh elements of Hawaii including one of the highest temperatures to date, while attempting to earn the title of “Ironman” in Kailua-Kona. 

Athletes ranging from 18 to 79 years of age competed in the world-famous 140.6-mile odyssey: a 2.4-mile Pacific Ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon in a classic battle against the sweltering heat – and themselves.

The broadcast features the intense back-and-forth competition among the world’s top professionals, which showcases the winners – Australia’s Craig Alexander and returning champion, Chrissie Wellington from Great Britain. 

NBC also highlights the day-long exploits of several unique age group athletes who defined the meaning of courage throughout the broadcast including:

* Ricky James, former amateur motocross racer who suffered an accident while racing in 2005 and is now a paraplegic, completed the World Championship for the first time. Leading up to this year’s race, James was trained by David Bailey, winner of the Hand Cycle division at the 2000 Ironman World Championship.

* David Goggins, a member of the Navy SEALS, as well as an endurance athlete, has completed several ultramarathons. He races to raises money in honor of 11 military personnel who were killed in Afghanistan in 2005 – Goggins attended training school with four of them.  He vowed to raise funds for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which pays the college tuition for children of special-operations personnel killed in the line of duty.  He has raised nearly $300,000 for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

* Keith Davids, is a decorated U.S. Navy SEAL and commanding officer of SEAL Team 1. Davids’ personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star with combat “V”, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal with combat “V” and various other personal and campaign medals including the Combat Action Ribbon, and the prestigious Presidential Unit Citation.

* Sean Swarner, a 34-year-old two-time terminal cancer survivor and the first cancer survivor to summit Mt. Everest participated in his first Ironman World Championship. Swarner has climbed the highest mountain on each continent, also known as the seven summits, and has more climbing ambitions planned for 2009.

* Harriet Anderson, is the oldest female participant in this year’s Ironman World Championship. The 72-year-old veteran has been competing in the World Championship race since 1989, and is a returning Kona champion in the Women’s 70-74 age group. She finished this year’s race in 16 hours and 17 minutes – just 43 minutes shy of the official race cut-off.

* Jeff Conine, a 17-year major league baseball star as first baseman/outfielder. He was a member of both Florida Marlins’ World Series Championships teams. He played with them during two separate stints, 1993-1997 and 2003-2005. Conine has been a fan of Ironman for years, tuning in each year to the broadcast.

“The NBC broadcast was the inspiration for me to get involved in Ironman. Seeing so many different athletes from all walks of life competing together is like no other event in the world,” Conine said. “Having the opportunity this year to compete in the Ford Ironman World Championship and race alongside some of the best athletes in the sport, has been a dream come true.”

The 90-minute special, a network television staple since the 1980s, has won 14 Emmy Awards during the race’s illustrious history. Emmy-Award winning narrator, Al Trautwig, will provide the voiceover for this year’s broadcast.

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