The top 15 Kona greats of all time
Just who are the greatest Ironman World Championship triathletes ever? We have argued, debated and discussed the many contenders, and come up with our top 15 Kona greats of all time - do you agree with our choices?
15 Tim DeBoom
- Ironman World Champion 2000 & 2001
- Two Ironman World Championship podiums (3rd in 1999 and 2nd in 2000)
"The quiet man with a loud name," is what Mark Allen calls Tim DeBoom, and this quiet American certainly has some incredible feats to shout about. The Boulder-based star’s c.v. includes wins at Ironman New Zealand and the Norseman, but it’s for his triumphs on Hawaii’s Big Island that he'll be remembered.
DeBoom was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1970. Endurance genes were strong in the family, with Tim’s older brother Tony also a pro triathlete and Ironman winner. Tim finished his exercise physiology studies at university and moved from being a swimmer to a triathlete, winning his age group at the Olympic-distance ITU World Championships
His Ironman breakthrough came at Ironman New Zealand in 1999, where he beat the much-fancied home hero Cameron Brown to the title. Months later, he made his Ironman World Championship debut in Hawaii, placing third behind Luc Van Lierde and Peter Reid. A year later his firm friend Reid edged him to the title by just 2mins after 8:20hrs of racing, a fact that would motivate DeBoom for the next year’s showdown.
By 2001 DeBoom was in the ascendancy. In May he took the Ironman California title ahead of his brother Tony. Then, at the Big Kahuna at Hawaii in October, he took the lead 15km into the run and never relinquished his position.
The Ironman world title was his. He was the first American to win since Mark Allen in 1995, and the victory was all the more emotional for coming just a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America.
A year later, DeBoom became the first man since Allen in 1993 to successfully defend the Hawaii title, this time beating Peter Reid with another masterclass in tactical restraint, pacing and consistency (DeBoom’s four Hawaii podium times would be 8:25, 8:23, 8:31 and 8:29). Over a decade later, DeBoom is still the last American athlete to stand on the top step in Hawaii.
Continue reading our guide to the 15 greatest Kona triathletes of all time (2/15)