We’re writing this because we believe that the soon-to-be-published book from VeloPress, entitled Iron War, inaccurately and inappropriately portrays us. As an example, in the advance copy sent to the media for review, the author stated, “In a sober, clinical sense of the term, Dave and Mark are both somewhat psychologically unbalanced.” We have never been diagnosed as “psychologically unbalanced” by any medical or mental health professional.
And there’s a lot more where that came from – too much more for us to simply look the other way. Indeed, Iron War author Matt Fitzgerald has written an endless stream of inaccurate and defamatory assertions about our lives, our thoughts, our motivations and what drove us to such a high level of athletic excellence in what he spitefully and negatively describes as “the showdown that left one battling his inner demons to emerge victorious and one devastated on the pavement and unable to forgive his loss.” In fact, the massive degree of inaccuracy in the advanced reading copy has necessitated that we file a lawsuit against VeloPress and Fitzgerald in response to the defamation and privacy issues that were breached.
As most of you know, our intense racing rivalry in the 1980s was prime fuel for countless debates each October when triathletes around the globe gathered to predict who would become the next Ironman Champion. And perhaps the greatest race to ever come out of our rivalry was the 1989 Ironman World Championship – the so-called Iron War – during which we raced toe to toe for close to eight hours, never separated by more than a few scant seconds.
That rivalry, which was built on a great mutual respect for each other as athletes and as individuals, ended long ago, and we are now united in expressing our deep concern over the portrayal of our individual journeys to become such tenacious competitors in Fitzgerald’s Iron War.
While some might applaud Fitzgerald for his creative writing, we must express our deep disappointment over the many falsehoods and errors in his book. He has very little respect for journalistic integrity, the essence of which is truth. Fitzgerald also shows no respect for our privacy by disclosing and discussing very personal information that has nothing to do with our rivalry or accomplishments as triathletes. His goal appears to be to embarrass and discredit us. We also have to wonder, what’s the point? . . . other than book sales for VeloPress, of course!
You should know that we were asked by Fitzgerald to provide in-depth background information about our personal lives and to deliver the exhaustive detail necessary to understand what made us tick as athletes. This time-consuming request, however, was made without any offer to share the benefits that would be considered normal when one is asked to divulge a lifetime of detail.
But more importantly, by his refusal to have us be cooperative partners in the book, we had overwhelming concern that our stories, if told to him, would not be recounted with accuracy and, in the end, we did not participate in the project. The result of that decision: Fitzgerald has created an endless string of seemingly personal anecdotes that because of his deceptive writing style leave the reader with the perception that they came directly from our mouths.
Unfortunately, Fitzgerald and VeloPress have reduced our 1989 test of wills on the Big Island to a flawed and sadly shaded depiction of its protagonists. Our hope is that you, as intelligent and discerning athletes, will know and remember our battle in 1989 for its grit, and use that as inspiration to explore and break through your own limits to find greatness in both your racing and in your personal lives. And if you do decide to read Iron War be prepared to wade through fiction, fantasy and fabrication.