Ironman has announced that the Austrian trio of Georg Hochegger, Helge Lorenz and Stefan Petschnig will be inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame. Collectively these iconic race developers changed the landscape of Ironman racing in Europe and Africa.
The induction ceremony will be held on 8 October 2014 during race week at the 2014 Ironman World Championship presented by GoPro, in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.
“Georg, Helge and Stefan are visionaries in our sport and helped elevate Ironman globally,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of Ironman. “Their races in Europe and South Africa were not only popular for regional athletes but became ‘must do’ races for triathletes from around the world.
“This induction is a testament to their hard work and dedication to Ironman.”
Founded in 1993, the Ironman Hall of Fame was created to honour individuals, such as Hochegger, Lorenz and Petschnig, who have made outstanding contributions to the growth of one of the world’s most famous endurance race series.
In 1997, Hochegger, Lorenz and Petschnig got together to establish Triangle Events, with the goal of starting an Ironman event in their hometown of Klagenfurt, Austria. The idea came from Hochegger, who noticed that the race in Roth, Germany, was filling up.
He approached Lorenz, who came up with a business plan he developed as part of his school studies. One of their company’s first acts was to turn to fellow Ironman Hall of Fame member Mark Allen, who helped Triangle design the course in Klagenfurt. In 1999, Triangle was granted a licence to put on an Ironman race as part of Ironman’s expansion.
In just under a decade, the three triathletes helped design challenging and popular courses throughout Europe and South Africa. Before creating their first race TriMania – held in 1998 in Austria – Hochegger, Lorenz and Petschnig were accomplished athletes in their own right.
Lorenz represented Austria at the ITU World Championship in Huntsville, Canada, where he finished 28th in the elite men’s race in 1:52:33. After Hochegger returned to Austria following a stint as a New York City jewelry designer, he competed in the first-ever Ironman Europe event in 1994. Petschnig, a three-time Austrian swim champion, spent nine years in the Austrian Army and is a two-time Ironman finisher himself.
From there, Triangle went on to create licensed events in France (2002) and South Africa (2003). Hochegger, Lorenz and Petschnig eventually expanded their race portfolio to include Ironman 70.3 races in Monaco, South Africa and St Pölten, Austria. In 2005, Ironman France moved to Nice, where it has become one of Ironman’s premiere summer races.
“We’re proud of creating something that we never envisioned would grow the way it did,” Lorenz said. “Your heart is always part of this. Being in the Ironman Hall of Fame is an honour – I really think we made a difference by organizing these events.”
Petschnig concurred, “This honour feels like we’re closing the circle… from creating a tiny event, to going to France, Monaco, South Africa, to leading the head office in Europe for two years … to now coming back to Kona.”
Hochegger, Lorenz and Petschnig, the first European inductees to the Ironman Hall of Fame, join a prestigious list of remarkable individuals honoured not only for incredible athletic achievements, but also for what they have given to the sport of triathlon and Ironman.
Ironman Hall of Fame:
1993 Dave Scott
1994 Julie Moss
1995 Scott Tinley
1996 Paula Newby-Fraser
1997 Mark Allen
1998 John and Judy Collins
1999 Valerie Silk
2000 Tom Warren
2001 Dr. Bob Laird
2002 Bob Babbitt
2003 John MacLean/Gordon Haller / Lyn Lemaire
2004 Greg Welch
2005 Jim Maclaren
2008 Team Hoyt – Rick and Dick Hoyt
2011 Mike Reilly
2012 Graham Fraser
2013 Peter Henning
2014 Georg Hochegger / Helge Lorenz / Stefan Petschnig