Chris McCormack and Greg Welch Join ESPN’s 2011 Ironman World Championship Coverage

Two-time Ironman World Champion and Australian Chris McCormack, along with Australia's first ever winner of the endurance event, Greg Welch, will headline the coverage of ESPN's Aussies Abroad special presentation of the 2011 Ironman World Championship from Kailua-Kona Hawai'i, to

ESPN will have exclusive pre-race interviews with Aussie competitors Craig Alexander & Mirinda Carfrae and co-host Chris McCormack on Sportscenter each night this week.

Two-time Ironman World Champion and Australian Chris McCormack, along with Australia’s first ever winner of the endurance event, Greg Welch, will headline the coverage of ESPN’s Aussies Abroad special presentation of the 2011 Ironman World Championship from Kailua-Kona Hawai`i, to air on: ESPN2, Wednesday October 12 @7:30pm.

McCormack as co-host will be joined by Welch who will lend expert commentary along with eight time winner South African Paula Newby-Fraser, one of the greatest athletes to compete in the Ironman.

Newby-Fraser is affectionately known as the ‘Queen of Kona’ after winning the event eight times–more than any other person.

Thirty-eight year old McCormack who hails from Sydney is one of Australia’s greatest ever triathletes and his expert analysis of the race will provide insights and background, that as a two time winner of the event, only he can deliver.

In 1997 he won both the Triathlon World Championships and the 1997 ITU World Cup Series.

To date, no-one else has won both titles in a single year.

McCormack won Ironman Australia for five consecutive years (2002- 2006) and has twice finished the Quelle Challenge Roth in under eight hours, a feat only five other athletes have achieved.

In 2007 he won the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i, after six attempts at the race coming as close as second, within two minutes of the winner, in 2006.

He again won the Ironman World Championship in 2010 in a time of 8 hours, 10 minutes and 37 seconds.

One of the greatest triathletes of all time at all distances, Greg Welch has won virtually every world title, including the ITU short-course world championship and the Ironman World Championship.

Widely recognized for his tremendous sense of humour and generosity of spirit, Welch’s outgoing personality made him possibly the most popular figure in the sport of Triathlon.

In 1994 he became the first non-American male to win the Ironman World Championship.

His resume also includes the 1996 World Long Distance Triathlon Championships, 1993 World Duathlon Championships and 1990 World Triathlon Championships.

He is the only triathlete to win the big four “grand slam” of triathlon.

He is a three-time U.S. Pro Triathlon Champion (1992, 1993, 1999), two-time Ironman Japan winner and five-time Triathlon World Cup champion.

Welch’s incredible record would have no doubt extended but for an illness that rocked the Triathlon world in 1999. A rare and life-threatening heart condition surfaced during the 1999 Ironman World Championship and forced the popular Aussie to announce his premature retirement from the sport in January 2000.

McCormack, Welch and Newby-Fraser will join host ESPN’s Jason Bennett in Hawai`i to lend their expertise and first-hand experience to the coverage of the world’s most prestigious one-day endurance event that presents the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit.

Approximately 1,850 athletes will cross the lava fields of Kona battling crosswinds of 72kilometres, 35 degree temperatures and a scorching sun as they cover the 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run course.

Alongside McCormack and Bennett the coverage will also feature interviews with reigning women’s champion Aussie Mirinda Carfrae and two-time men’s champion Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander, giving ESPN an unparalleled line-up of experts for the biggest race on the annual triathlon calendar.

Between them, they boast an incredible 14 victories.

Carfrae and Alexander will be flying the flag for Australia in 2011 alongside over 140 Australian athletes competing in this year’s event.

Australians have dominated the men’s division of the Ironman World Championship in recent years with McCormack and Alexander sharing the spoils.

McCormack first won in 2007 and again in 2010 while Alexander took the crown in 2008 & 2009. Greg Welch is the only other Australian to have won when he became the first Aussie victor in 1994.

In the women’s field Mirinda Carfrae took honour’s last year, while previously Michellie Jones became the first Australian woman to take the title in 2006.

ESPN’s Sportscenter begins coverage of the 2011 Ironman World Championship on location in Kona with interviews at 6:30pm each night this week leading up to the event:

Wed Oct 5: ESPN’s Jason Bennett hosts an exclusive pre-race chat with two-time Ironman World Champion Aussie Craig Alexander

Thurs Oct 6: Exclusive pre-race chat with defending Women’s Ironman World Champion Aussie Mirinda Carfrae

Fri Oct 7: Exclusive Race Preview with reigning Men’s Ironman World Champion Aussie Chris McCormack

Mon Oct 10: Bennett & McCormack’s Post-Race coverage will include interviews with Craig Alexander & Mirinda Carfrae as well as Chris McCormack’s expert analysis as to where race was won & lost.

ESPN’s 90 minute ‘AUSSIES ABROAD IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SPECIAL’ will premiere on Wednesday October 12 at 7:30pm on ESPN2 with several encore presentations as below:

Ironman World Championship

  • Wed, 12 Oct              7:30pm                ESPN2
  • Thu, 13 Oct                3:30pm                ESPN
  • Fri, 14 Oct                  1:00pm                ESPN2
  • Sat, 15 Oct                 9:30pm                ESPN
  • Sun, 16 Oct                12:30pm              ESPN
  • Sun, 16 Oct                5:30pm                ESPN2
  • Sat, 22 Oct                  8:00pm               ESPN