Year 1984: Triathlon arrives in Ticino thanks to… Marco Sasselli

Perhaps many may not know, but the very first edition of the Locarno triathlon dates back
to the distant year of 1984.
It was born from a proposal by Marco Sasselli (a person full of initiatives and of great
stature, who recently passed away), then the director of the City’s Sports Department, and
it was among the very first to be organized not only in Switzerland but throughout Europe.
In fact, the first triathlon race in Switzerland took place just one year earlier in Zurich
(Swiss Triathlon in Zurich), initiated by René Friedli, the first Swiss to participate in the
Ironman of Hawaii in 1982.
In Locarno, the promoters’ intention was immediately to create a popular event to “offer a
chance to test one’s physical condition, engage in physical preparation in the three
disciplines, and improve knowledge of our regions.”
The event included two categories based on distances: competitors in category A would
have to cover 2, 90, and 21 km respectively, while those in category “B” would cover 1, 45,
and 10.5 km. The swimming leg took place for both categories in the then old outdoor pool
of Lido, starting en masse. In the race, which took place on September 30, 1984, a total of
140 athletes participated, with 30 in the long-distance and 110 in the short-distance. The
winners? Well, the first to cross the finish line in the longer race was the ultra-forty German
runner Peter Reiher, while in category B, the best was a very young Rocco Taminelli, a
prominent figure in the subsequent years of cantonal running and later an excellent Swiss
Source: “Triathleta per passion”, Fontana Edizioni, 2003 (page 61 contains a complete list
of all 140 athletes who completed this first historic edition of the Locarno triathlon)
In the photo: Bruno Invernizzi has won the Locarno Triathlon multiple times (Photo: N.

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