Wawanna Widoff - Retired Pro Mother

Wawanna Widoff – Retired Pro Mother

03/02/2011 in General

I was able to catch up with the mother of one of the greatest ironman triathlete’s in American history between Yoga and caring for her mother. Wawanna Widoff, mother of Cameron “Wildman” Widoff, dominated in the late 90’s through the turn of the millennium 1/2 ironmans. If there was a World Championship in that distance, at that time, he would’ve won a few. Check out a mom’s perspective of the sport….

Andrew – Wawanna, how did your son get into triathlon growing up in rural Illinois?

Wawanna – Cameron had been a swimmer from the age of six. Tris came into his life in College (SIU) His older brother Ben had won the local tri at the college then Cameron attended the college 4 yrs later and won the “Doc Speckman ” each year . At 19 Cameron ran his first IRONMAN (HAWAII) and took 84th place. From then on he had the “bug” of Ironman. (I call it a passion or a disease)
Andrew – What is your favorite triathlon memory?
Wawanna – The excitement of being…at the Hawaiian Ironman shortly after 9/11. He had a huge flag which he carried over the finish line. It was a special year. Thank you Cameron for all the memories.
Andrew – In the late 90’s your son was the man to beat. He owned the course at Wildflower with four wins in five years and three straight. In 2000, Cam captured his first top 10 at Hawaii. Over the course of the next 6 years, Cam finished top 10 every year at Hawaii, a feat in which very few males have accomplished. Yet, most of the press seemed to be written around your son, focusing on his competitors. I know as an athlete, for Cam it just fueled the fire to train harder. How did you cope with it as a parent?
Wawanna – I realize how the system works.. It has factors that you can’t control. As a parent it seems unfair but as Bill Gates states…….. LIFE IS UNFAIR. On a positive note Cameron has his health and as we know fame has wings of dust……. As a parent I would like to wave a magic wand and make life fair but our family had many wonderful years of excitement, fun, and fear (of crashes) in support of our two sons in their adventures.. Cameron lived in Boulder and we had little contact while he was training and it all came from him and his passion.
How are you feeling about tri’s at this point of your life????
Andrew – That is a simple but loaded question. Great, at this time. If you would have asked me most of last summer, it would have been a little different, but it comes with the territory. I have learned so much since I made the dive from working full time and racing professional, to just racing. The sport is moving and evolving at breakneck speed. If you are not on your toes every second of every day, something not good can happen (and sometimes it does regardless). In training, in races, in recovery, in marketing yourself to sponsors, you are caring and tweaking yourself to become faster. Yet it is days like LA last year, when it all comes together and the body is music in motion…and the emotion, well…indescribable, simply, the more I put into it, the better it feels (on good days).

I know that you have received the phone call, “Mom, everything is okay, but…” then follows, I have road rash, broken bones, pulled a muscle, ect. With Cam traveling and training around the globe, do you ever stop worrying as a parent?

Wawanna – I’m not a worry wart. Andrew you will not be able to think of the “thing” that will really happen. Life is what happens while making your plans….. Cameron had to stop Tris because of a call like that.

He was in South America and took a nasty spill which dislocated his hip bone. I can’t believe he healed that without surgery and pins. That was the beginning of being tossed overboard with the sponsors. You are only as good as your last race. We all know that!!
Andrew – What advice would you give aspiring athletes and their parents that want to go big in triathlon (or any not main stream sport)? What were your tools and resources you used as a fan and parent?
Wawanna – Take up golf or tennis…..More money with less effort. Cameron Widoff loved what he did in Triathlons because he did it the right way (clean and WITH passion)
Andrew – Would I do a tri??
Wawanna – No because it take time , love and dedication to be good at tris……..
Wawanna, thank you for your time. You missed out on a great storm (22″ + 50+ mph winds = 10+’ drifts) here, but I am sure Florida is nice this time of year. I wish you continued health and I know you still follow the sport and appreciate the support and insight.

All the best,
(stay warm and healthy)


  • Anonymous 05:03h, 28 April Reply

    Great interview and post. Anyone hear what Cam is up to?

  • Shane 01:13h, 16 September Reply

    Nice interview. Cam used to stay at my house we he came to town for our Du series. He was always kind and showed respect for everyone. The last time I saw him was at Powerman AL in 2002 (?). I, too, wonder what he is up to.

  • thomas schroeder 02:23h, 13 May Reply

    5/13/16 cam widoff is the best triathlete, ever… I speak to him, daily… he is still training to succeed at his next challenge, always,… two words describe his incredible career and achievements…. TOTAL POWER… own that!!!

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