Triathlon Athlete Overcomes Unlikely Obstacles

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COLUMBIA - Poor health and a life threatening accident would keep most people from their goals. KOMU 8's Karl Roskamp explains how one Columbia man hurdles these obstacles and much more.

Tony Rigdon is now one of the best athletes in Columbia. He hasn't always been able to run over the competition though. That's because in 2001, at age 26, Rigdon was 40 pounds overweight and living in his parents' basement. Things started to change after his friends convinced him to run a 5k.

Rigdon explained, "It was a small enough field where I ended up getting third place and got this little trophy. That was really kind of motivating." Since then, Rigdon has raced nearly every distance including marathons.

But he's making a splash in a different way. With cap and goggles in place,the recently engaged Rigdon also swims. But it's a sport he had to ease into. "Is swimming your least favorite? Ah yes.."

That's because it's a necessary evil of his true passion... triathlons. Soon enough, winning became part of the cycle. Rigdon won 43 events in his first 10 years of racing. He nearly lost everything during one bike ride though. "I don't remember any of it. This is all what I've been told." Rigdon was hit by a car during the bike portion of a triathlon in 2006. He suffered a fractured jaw, eye socket and hand, but survived. Rigdon has since made a full recovery and returned to racing for one big reason. "I love to compete," he said.

Rigdon's race will be on Sunday at the Trizou Triathlon. He expects to win.