The Oliver Hodatsch from Gelnhausen is considered the forerunner and early light shape in the local the triathlon scene - His motto: „In power lies peace“

With overall nine starts at the legendary ironman on Hawaii the triathlete Oliver Hodatsch from Gelnhausen is still considered one of the outstanding endurance athletes in the Main-Kinzig district. In 1994 the „long distance athlete of the first hour“ he outstandingly managed to take the 66th place at the world championship in Kailua-Kona, the place of the event on Big Island. The 57-year old Hodatsch as well as Matthias Bechtold, Adi Kohr, Elisabeth Nohel and the Franz Karl from Wächtersbach were at the time the founders of the local triathlon scene. It had its starting points in the founding of the triathlon section in the bike club Tria Wächtersbach and at the swimming club Gelnhausen.


Three months before his start on Hawaii, Hodatsch took an unexpected 25th place in the elite field in the franconian Roth at the only ironman triathlon on german ground at the time (there were six worldwide), where the world's best was at the start and qualified himself for the adventure on the volcano island Hawaii. That day, Hodatsch distanced athletes, that were „role models and idols“ of the sport for him, as he said. Among them the six-time hawaii winner Marc Allen, who had caught a bit of a bad day and reached the finish after Hodatsch.

When Hodatsch had run over the finish line after an incredible 8:51,17 hours for his friends, the ex-soccer player (he played in Niedermittlau i.a. with the local great Frank Loder), he didn't know how much this finish would influence and change his life positively for the next decade. His employer the Deutsche Post AG, that functioned as the main sponsor at the same time, was so impressed by the tall and slender athletes in yellow post jersey, that a ten year cooperation formed and Oliver Hodatsch was provided a life as a half pro.

Ironman in Roth 1994: The initial beginning of a magnificent career

In the following the exeptional athlete became the sports representative of his employee and of thriathlon. Appearances with the entertainer Harald Schmidt and the adventurer Reinhold Messner followed as well as with many other stars at advertisement events. „That was an amazing time, because I had many encouters with interesting people from the show business and I got around a lot.“

The edgy and sympathic athlete, that still likes to drink hawaiian coffee and listen to hawaiian music, still holds his loyalty to his employee: He works in quality management in Offenbach. Much gratitude also to his other sponsors and supporters, that have supported and accompanied him over many years.

„When I look back, I like to remember my first trip to Hawaii and a very special moment in the sea. My friend and team collegue Adi Kohr had traveled to the island with me, at the time as a supervisor and photographer. The second day we were at the White Sands Beach at the Ali´i Drive in Keauhou and had borrowd some trays at a fast food restaurant before. Then we went into the big strong waves with them – we had so much fun ‚body surfing‘. Jürgen Zäck and Mike Pigg, big stars in the branche at the time, were also with us in the waves. We all together were so excited about being here, in this paradise. Of course that event with 66th place was also pretty good“, Hodatsch smirks.

Praise and respect for the Championship team 
of the TV Bad Orb

Hodatsch doesn't want to miss the many stories of his life as an athlete. Besides his 25 long distances he also started together with Kohr in the 1rst triathlon championship for the team Tri-Michels from Hamburg. „The short routes were more something for my team collegue Adi. I'm very happy to see, that the experiences, that we made together live on on TV Bad Orb in the 1rst triathlon championship now. I'm already impressed about what the girls from Ober can do swimming and running the short routes. Even in my best times I wouldn't have kept up. Cycling, probably everyones muscles would've burnt.“, the forerunner of the local triathlon scene says.

The trips together to races and the expriences of competition, the german elite, that Hoditsch and Kohr could slowly get to know at the races, have made many genuine friendships possible. „That burnt itself into our athletic heads and it made memories, that still accompany us today,“ Hodatsch happily continues.

Motto: „You can only do what you train.“

Beyond that, „Iron-Oli“, how his friends jokingly call him, stays fit by cycling on the streets and through the forest. The last triathlon he completed was three years ago in Bad Arolsen just for the fun of it. He's transparent in his opinion, that the world of triathlon has completely changed. He has the impression, that now everything is just about performance even among hobby athletes and almost everyone has a personal trainer now. „Nowadays they care more about the material and the presence rather than the training, that was different in our times. Triathlon is work, especially on long distances. They should know that. You can only do what you train.“ According to Hodatsch, whoever is doing the sport alongside to get a balance, doesn't need tips anyways, „or here's probably my most important advice: Don't talk around – do it! My personal motto is: In power lies peace.“

Advice for the new thriathlon generation

Looking at todays triathlon generation he adds: „Be excited about the exercise and the nature, the people, that race with you and be curious for the small things especially the amazing feeling that arises during and after training – you always have that, even when you cross the line as the last one at a triathlon.“, the former fast long distance athlete of the region finally says.

Reached world class level in the 90s and in his home region is considered an influencial leading figure in the multifaced sport to this day: the nine times Hawaii finisher Oliver Hodatsch. Photos: private

Source: Gelnhäuser Neue Zeitung