The saying "No News is Good News" doesn't seem to apply here as many athletes have been caught off guard by the recent news that the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) plans on banning compression socks and sleeves at the upcoming Ironman World Championship race (Don't Expect to Wear your Compression Socks in Kona on Race Day).
Athletes and triathlon related manufactures are upset and trying to figure out why the WTC would come up with a strange rule and then hide it in the athletes guide for the race without making a general announcement to the public. Triathlon message boards around the web (Anyone knew about WTC rules covering calfs? - Slowtwitch.com, WTC BANS COMPRESSION SOCKS AND CALF SLEEVES! - BeginnerTriathlete.com) are overflowing with questions and gripes but not many answers.
"We are disappointed, frustrated, depressed, you name it because of this new rule that miraculously made its way into the guide just a few weeks before Kona." states one manufacture of compression socks contacted earlier today.
There is a lot of speculation and rumors out there from athletes all over, one being that people will just write their age on their compression socks to fulfill the requirement stated. From what we hear, that will be forbidden as well. We will just have to wait and see what if any response comes out of the WTC on this topic in the near future.
Some but not all professional triathletes use compression socks while racing (Yvonne Van Vlerken, Ain-Alar Juhanson, Torbjorn Sinballe, Bella Bayliss), some do because they like wearing them some do because of contractual purposes. It could be a financial disaster for both athletes and manufactures that sponsored had/have contracts with professional triathletes to wear the socks, especially at the Ironman World Championship race in Kona.
Are compression socks an illegal external performance enhancing piece of equipment, who knows? The argument could go either way. When you look back in history to the athletes that have raced over the last 30 years there wasn't a lot of compression sock out on the race course. Heck, the recent World Champions (Chris McCormack, Craig Alexander, Michellie Jone and Chrissy Wellington) have won the race without them, so is this a fad or not?
This isn't the first time the WTC has faced controversy before an Ironman World Championship race. Back in 2007 the WTC faced controversy from local coffee growers after they backed Ironman Organic Coffee as the official coffee of the Ironman Triathlon World Championship race.
"Ford Ironman Triathlon officials quickly pulled advertisements for "Ironman Organic Coffee" a day after the organization announced that it would be marketing Colombian coffee in Kona." - Ford Ironman pulls ads for 'official' coffee via West Hawaii Today