Stalwart: Steve Petty. *File photo
Stalwart: Steve Petty. *File photo

The BBC Sports Personality Unsung Heroes award of 2013 went to Joe and Maggie Forber, who for three decades worked in a junior basketball programme that produced the NBA’s John Amaechi. 

Amaechi said: “Joe and Maggie are only two people who can take any credit at all for my success in basketball, and they are the only two people who never take any credit.”

The tennis great Arthur Ashe  said, “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others, at whatever cost.”

It got me thinking about who in Bermuda triathlon is an unsung hero. The answer was surprisingly easy —  Steve Petty.

Within the triathlon community Steve has been recognized, being the first recipient of the long service award — in 1990! — but outside of the triathlon community and to newer triathletes his contribution is not as well known.

In 1979 Steve was one of the founders of the Bermuda Triathlon Association, he has served as president for four years and vice president for four years, was an advisor to the 1987 and 1988 Bermuda International Triathlons (for which he received an award), was a founder of the enduring Ironkids triathlon and other triathlons, has raised funds for the sport and has been race director or helped out at countless races for three decades, most recently organizing the swim leg of events.

Steve looks back fondly on the days when events such as the SunLife Triathlon attracted very large entries and spectators.

He said: “I am pleased at the way the sport continues to flourish in Bermuda and globally and that the junior programme is so strong and produced so many notable triathletes, in particular Tyler Butterfield and Flora Duffy.”

Petty himself has been and still is a great ambassador for Bermuda and an accomplished triathlete competing in numerous races here and abroad including 15 age group World Championships since the first one in 1989.

He added: “My only regret is that so many triathletes have come and gone from Bermuda but I have made so many enduring friendships from the sport.”

I can attest to that as whenever I bump into former Bermuda resident triathletes they invariably ask about Steve Petty, a true unsung hero who must take much credit for the success of our sport in Bermuda. 

Dave Morrison is a past president of the Bermuda Triathlon Association.