Kona Domination: Oakley Shines at Ironman World Championship in Hawaii

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It’s a fact. The most elite triathletes on the Planet rely on Oakley technology on the course.

Exhibit O: Yet another epic Ironman World Championship in Kona – where Oakley Team Star Craig “Crowie” Alexander shattered the World Record by finishing in an astonishing 8:03:56. All while Chrissie Wellington, finding redemption from a disappointing 2010 and rough start to the year, powered through to victory from behind with an 8:55:08 performance of her own.

But Oakley’s presence definitely isn’t ever limited to racking up Ironman Title after Ironman Title.

The O has been a more-than-prominent part of the mix at Kona for the better part of the decade. And it started with one man. Greg Welch.

“Welchy” – as he’s affectionately known within the industry and Oakley – is the 1994 Ironman World Champion and multiple top three finisher. Currently Oakley’s Triathlon Manager, his voice can be heard almost anywhere in Kona on the week of the race every year – serving as one of the sport’s most prominent broadcast commentators (IronmanLive.com, ESPN International – complemented by NBC Sports) during the race, the MC of multiple high-profile events and “the man” at the official press conference, among other important duties around the event. On top of handling the entire Oakley Team of elite athletes, that is.

The result: The O is everywhere at Ironman – from athletes, spectators to storefronts. And in the media, of course.

Rewind to earlier in the week and select media personalities – near and dear to Oakley in the sports world – were specially invited to the brand’s impressive Athlete Safe House in Keauhou Bay for an exclusive and secret sneak peek at the future of sports performance eyewear.

From Lava Magazine to Men’s Journal, the handful of journalists gathered secretly on the Wednesday evening before the Ironman World Championship to chat with Oakley Team Staff on the picturesque 3-acre waterfront property. With dinner, drinks and great conversation, the evening and the “secret meeting” gave the media a taste of how specific upcoming technologies that will benefit athletes worldwide in a new model.

Fast forward to after the event and the week closed out with the Team’s annual “Rehab Party” at the Safe House – where Oakley athletes come to relax, wind down and enjoy the rest of their time on the Island.

Laced with Olympic Gold Medalists and industry personalities in every corner of the house, it’s never a surprise to see some of the World’s top athletes just hanging out at the O house with the crew. And this year, it was just as rockin’ and as spirited as ever.

With that, another all-time year for Oakley in Kona winded down with the brand’s strength in full display for the World to see.

Take a peek at this video of Oakley’s presence in Kona this year:

All Images: Andrew de Lara