Basketball Alum Wins US Triathlon Title at 75

(Photo courtesy GWU Archives/1963 Cherry Tree Yearbook)

(Photo courtesy GW Archives/1963 Cherry Tree Yearbook)

Our friends at 22&G, the offical blog of GW Athletics, recently profiled Don Ardell, CCAS BA ’63, who won the USA Triathlon Spring National Championship for the 75-79 age group in August.  Learn about this alumni athlete’s journey from GW men’s basketball player to triathlon champion and wellness expert:  

Don Ardell, GW Class of 1964 and forward on the men’s basketball team from 1961-63, recently won the USA Triathlon Sprint National Championship in the 75-79 age group and will compete for Team USA in the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Triathlon Grand Finals in London from Sept. 11-16.

Ardell, who turned 75 this past year, is ranked No. 1 in USA Triathlon’s 75-79 age group and won the national title in Milwaukee, Wisc., on August 11 by more than 12 minutes (1:24.03).  He’ll head to London to compete in the Aquathon (1000m Swim, 5k Run), Sprint Distance (750m Swim, 20k Bike, 5k Run) and Olympic Distance (1500m Swim, 40k Bike, 10k Run) events against the best triathletes from around the world.  His goal “of course, is to win them all.”

A forward on the GW men’s basketball team for parts of three seasons, Ardell helped the Colonials capture the Southern Conference championship in 1961 to earn a date against Princeton in the NCAA Tournament in Madison Square Garden.  He averaged 7.2 points and 4.9 rebounds over 53 career games, and also served as president of the student council and was noted as “an all-around campus leader who participates in many on campus activities” in the 1962-63 media brochure.

Ardell noted that “in the ’60s, I couldn’t spell ‘triathlete,'” as there was no such sport until at least 20 years after he graduated from GW.  “I enjoyed sports so much during those youthful days that I kept playing after college,” says Ardell, who went on to earn additional degrees from North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Stanford, as well as his doctorate.  He is now a renown expert in health and wellness who has authored countless books, essays and articles in the field since 1976.  His Wellness Center is the largest repository of wellness essays in the world.

For more information and to watch Ardell compete in the ITU World Triathlon Grand Finals, visit

–Lauren Meier

This article originally appeared on on Sept. 10, 2013.

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