This story is from Race Bannon thread as it appeared last week:
This guy was inside of the main channel of swimmers (walkers)
wading through the shallows, holding something down in the water in his
left hand. I was thinking what has that guy got that he's so intent on
keeping in the water? He was having to lean over to his left to
accomplish this so he was standing out as having something strange
When a wave rolled by and revealed what was in his hand it was a pair of SCUBA FINS!!! A lifeguard noticed this as well and lit up on him, dude dropped them immediately and was looking around trying to play it off like "No that wasn't my crack rock I just tossed down the culvert".
Lifeguard motioned him to come over and talked with him briefly, but allowed him to continue swim. He then walked over and picked the fins up and put them under the seat of his wave runner then he got on the walkie-talkie and hopefully turned in this clown. Many of us on the beach saw this and couldn't believe a new low had been reached."
You'll note that the link to the discussion thread from above goes to locked page. This is because some of the members of the forum identified Finman and publicly lynched him on the forum. The moderators of the forum stepped in and posted a moratorium on posting images that showed Finman's face or identified his name.
But the cat was out of the bag...all be it the wrong cat. However, it was not long before the Aussie forum Transitions picked up the thread and identified Finman as Frank Cardia (racer number 598) of New Jersey.
Here he is finishing Ironman Florida this year in THESE photos by Action Sport International.
We immediately emailed Frank and asked him if he was Finman, and if he was using scuba fins on the swim. We never received a response. Click HERE to visit his blog.
However on his Helium.com page Mr. Cardia is described as:
"Frank Cardia has been competing in triathlons for only 2 years now. In that short period of time he has successfully completed a total of 13 triathlons, including 1 Half IronMan and 3 Full IronMan distance. He has also taken on over 10 marathons ( his best time was 3:52 hrs ) He has completed 3 Ultra-Marathons- 2 of them 31.25 miles and 1 50 mile run as well. He has done several 100+ mile bike rides and rode over 350 miles in 3 days to Lake Placid. He recently rode his bike 218 miles from NJ to Boston which took 15hrs 10 minutes. He has just completed a 100 mile run which took 23hrs and 22 minutes.
He has run his own successful mortgage company since 2001, he also has been a professional real estate investor since 2005, as well as a corporate consultant and public speaker and coach."
We were intrigued as Mr. Cardia had certainly had an impressive racing career in just two short years. Plus, he described himself as a coach. Indeed today he was posting running advise on the forum Athletic Runner.
But what really impressed us was that fact that Mr. Cardia, after finishing Ironman Florida in 12:10:19, ran the New York City Marathon---the very next day.
This is no easy feat as finishing Ironman Florida in 12 hours (or at around 7:00 p.m.) only gave him one night to fly to New York and get ready to run yet another marathon. But run it he did in a time of 5 hours and 17 minute as you can tell by these photos below and the official results.
You'll note the sign on his back from the NYC marathon which says (we believe) "Finished an Ironman in Florida Yesterday."
There are of course several big questions that this story begs to be asked.
We'll start with the big one: Is Frank Cardia Finman?
We'll leave that question up to you to decide however we can point to several facts.
1) This photo (above) of Mr. Cardia from Ironman Florida 2007 from Action Sport International in his wetsuit is very similar to the photo of Finman from Ironman Florida 2008.
2) And this is a photo (above) of him from this year's race having a conversation with the lifeguard or perhaps swim marshal.
3) In the latest results from Ironman Florida Mr. Cardia is now shown as being disqualified from the race.
Please note that we emailed the USAT regarding this matter as they are the sanctioning body for the race. USAT replied that we should contact North American Sports, the company that runs the race.
We contacted NAS, and as of this moment no one at NAS had replied to our repeated attempts at clarifying this story. We'll report any response we get, if and when, we get it.
However we can report that Slowtwitch.com has lifted the moratorium on identifying Finman and they are also reporting that Finman has been disqualified.
The other big question that troubles us even more is how such blatant cheating in triathlon is becoming so common place?
Take a look at this photo from the Ironman 70.3 World Championships a few years ago.
*(You'll note that is is pretty easy to make out some of the race numbers).
Just like at Ironman Florida this year the blatant cheating, this time in the form of drafting on the bike, is simply shocking for a World Championship race.
In the weeks to come we'll be asking the officials in charge what they see as the problem of cheating in the sport of triathlon, and how they intend to address it? We'll be starting next week with by publishing a podcast interview we just completed with Skip Gilbert the CEO of USA Triathlon (USAT).
We hope to bring you better news in the weeks to come, but we promise we will not shy away from asking the hard questions and getting the tough answers, so that the any future Finman will consider twice before strapping on scuba fins.
Your opinions and questions matter to us. Please use the comments section below to let us know what questions you'd like us to ask, and what you think about cheating in the sport of triathlon.