USA Triathlon Operation CO>COVID-19 a Success!

By Khem Suthiwan

Their journey began the evening of Friday, June 19th at 6:30pm MT, at the Utah-Colorado border just west of Grand Junction. Their goal, to complete a 483-mile relay ride across the state of Colorado while raising money for the USA Triathlon Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund and the Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado.

Over the course of 483 miles, the riders averaged 20 mph, climbed nearly 23,000 feet of elevation with their highest point at Monarch Pass at 11,312 feet of elevation. Just before 8:00pm and beating the sunset, all nine riders joined together for the final mile to the Kansas-Colorado state line.

We were able to catch up to them within a few hours of the finish. All the athletes and crew were in great spirits, looking forward to seeing the state line.

At a rider exchange spot with about 20 miles to go, a deputy from the Sheriff of Cheyenne County pulled over with flashing lights. His first words were “You guys are obviously part of some sort of bike team.” The crew immediately jumped in to tell the deputy about the relay ride, and that if he wanted to talk to someone in charge, the CEO (Rocky Harris) is coming down the road about to finish his current leg of the relay. Many laughs were exchanged and his handcuffs made an appearance for fun. At the next rider exchange stop, the deputy offered up a donation to the crew. A great gesture to an already amazing day.

The participating riders included:

• Kyle Coon, Tokyo Paralympic Hopeful 
• Hailey Danz, Rio 2016 Paralympic Silver Medalist and Tokyo Paralympic Hopeful
• Kendall Gretsch, PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Nordic Skiing Gold Medalist and Tokyo Paralympic Hopeful
• Kevin McDowell, Tokyo Olympic Hopeful
• Jack O’Neil, U.S. Paratriathlon Junior Development Team Member
• Melissa Stockwell, Rio 2016 Paralympic Bronze Medalist and Tokyo Paralympic Hopeful, Team Toyota Athlete
• Renée Tomlin, Tokyo Olympic Hopeful
• Alex Libin, Elite Triathlete and Guide for Kyle Coon 
• Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon Chief Executive Officer

The team had set a goal to raise $20,210 in reference to the postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will take place in 2021. At the time of their finish, $21,568 had been raised with donations still rolling in. Donations are still being accepted at usatriathlonfoundation.org.

Grant Application Window Now Open for USA Triathlon Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund

From USA Triathlon

The USA Triathlon Foundation is now accepting applications for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, which will provide financial support to members of the multisport community who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals and organizations may apply for funding starting today, May 14, through May 31. 

Complete eligibility information and application materials can be found at usatriathlonfoundation.org. The Foundation will make all selections, announce grant funding recipients and distribute funds by mid-June.

The COVID-19 Relief Fund has raised more than $94,000 to date and is expected to raise $100,000 by May 17. The first $20,000 in donations were matched dollar-for-dollar by USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris and his wife, Elizabeth Harris ($10,000), and a combination of the USA Triathlon Foundation Board of Trustees and the USA Triathlon Board of Directors ($10,000).

“The USA Triathlon Foundation is overwhelmed by the generosity of donors nationwide who have chosen to give back to the multisport community through the COVID-19 Relief Fund and by participating in the USA Duathlon Virtual Run-Bike-Run presented by TOWER26,” said David Deschenes, USA Triathlon Foundation Executive Director. “Now, we are eager to extend this support to deserving individuals and organizations who have struggled during this crisis. We look forward to helping offset the financial burden that many within our community are now facing, as we all eagerly await the day when racing returns and we can again swim, bike and run.”

The Foundation welcomes applications from USA Triathlon-certified race directors and race management organizations; USA Triathlon-certified coaches and clubs; and other individuals and organizations who have been impacted by the pandemic. 

Funds may be used to support programs and events that have been rescheduled or postponed due to COVID-19, or to create new programs and events that will encourage participation in multisport activities. All requests must help advance the mission of the USA Triathlon Foundation, which is to transform lives through sport by providing opportunities to swim, bike and run.

Grant applications up to $5,000 will be considered. The Foundation may not be able to support every eligible request for funding. 

Donations for USA Triathlon Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund grants will be accepted through May 31. Visit usatriathlonfoundation.org to donate today, or to learn more about the USA Triathlon Foundation and the programs it supports. 

Additional COVID-19 resources and updates from USA Triathlon are available at usatriathlon.org/covid-19. USA Triathlon continues to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19, while following the guidance of local authorities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), when making decisions regarding the status of USA Triathlon events and programs.   


About the USA Triathlon Foundation
The USA Triathlon Foundation was created in 2014 by the USA Triathlon Board of Directors as an independent tax-exempt 501(c)(3) entity. Under the leadership of its Trustees and Committee members, the Foundation serves as a means to create a healthier America through triathlon and seeks to transform lives by opening up new pathways to the sport for all, especially those who are otherwise underserved. The USA Triathlon Foundation operates with the belief that every child should have the chance to participate, every paratriathlete should have the opportunity to compete, and every aspiring elite athlete should be able to chase his or her Olympic dream. Since the Foundation’s inception, more than $3 million has been provided to worthy causes and organizations that support its mission. Donations to the USA Triathlon Foundation ensure America’s youth are introduced to the benefits and fun of a multisport lifestyle, athletes with disabilities receive the training, support and gear to be able to participate and excel, and the best aspiring young athletes have a chance to pursue their Olympic Dreams. Visit usatriathlonfoundation.org to learn more and donate today.

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

Need some inspiration? Here’s a feel-good story to warm your heart.

Chris Nikic can swim, bike, and run just like the rest of us, but he is one unique guy. This past Saturday he became the first athlete with Down Syndrome to complete a 70.3 race. So awesome!!! Now he has the goal of finishing IRONMAN Florida later this year.

From https://www.facebook.com/chris.nikic

How 20-year-old Chris Nikic is breaking down barriers

From USA Triathlon
By Emily Randolph

To watch Chris Nikic compete in a triathlon is a heartwarming and encouraging experience. 

The 20-year-old with Down syndrome loves the swim and enjoys the final sprint to the finish line and into his parent’s arms. 

But his favorite part? His ritual? 

Well, that’s all the hugs he stops to give spectators, fellow race participants and his family. There’s no stopping him in it — he sneaks in as many hugs as he can get.

“I like to be around people and encourage them,” Chris said.

He just loves people, and it makes him feel good to go and give them a big hug. It’s the natural thing for him to do, and he loves the reaction people give him – how much they enjoy it.

Chris is just an all-around happy guy. He laughs at everything, even his coach yelling at him, and his joy is contagious. 

“It’s hard to yell at him when he is laughing and having so much fun,” his father, Nik Nikic, said. “He brings sunshine to a room.”

Triathlon has allowed Chris, a Florida native, to be a part of a group and display his competitiveness. He’s no longer isolated. He’s a triathlete and he wants to beat his friends, just like the rest of us. 

After seeing Chris at races, people have rallied around his inspiration because they have a friend or family member with Down syndrome. He is now part of the triathlon community, and has inspired more people like him to start.

“You can do things you never thought possible,” said Chris, who wants to show fellow Down syndrome community members they can do triathlon, too.

Chris has completed six sprint triathlons and one Olympic-distance race. The Challenge Daytona was his favorite.

He started competing in triathlons when he was 16, but lost two years due to ear surgeries, and when he came back to the sport a year ago, he was barely able to swim a lap in a pool, could barely run 100 yards, and had a hard time riding his bike. 

“He’s gone from barely being able to do anything,” Nikic said, “to running an Olympic-distance triathlon.”

His goal now? To complete an IRONMAN. 

Chris is using triathlon and IRONMAN training as a path to independent living. The sport is a vehicle to challenge him to learn to be the best he can be. Multisport, in its nature, helps Chris with learning and keeps him from getting bored. It is believed Chris would be the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete an IRONMAN. 

Read the full original post here

USA Triathlon, IRONMAN U Collaborate on First-Ever Coaching Education Partnership

From USA Triathlon

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon and IRONMAN U today announced a first-of-its-kind partnership that will enable multisport coaches in the USA Triathlon Coaching Certification Program to earn USA Triathlon Approved Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by completing the IRONMAN U online coach certification course. 

The USA Triathlon Coaching Certification Program was established in order to provide aspiring coaches with the tools to develop athletes effectively, help them set and reach their goals in multisport, and maintain safe environments for training and racing. The program also enables coaches nationwide to network and share best practices through in-person and online clinics and educational events. The USA Triathlon coach development pathway starts with an online learning course called Foundations of USA Triathlon Coaching, then progresses through increasingly advanced coach certifications to educate and support triathlon coaches of all levels.

IRONMAN U is a 100 percent online, interactive 11-module course that covers topics such as IRONMAN history and coaching philosophy; principles of exercise science; the science of swimming, cycling and running; sports nutrition; strength and conditioning; developing training plans; the art of coaching; event preparation and execution; and coaching business. The innovative online education and coaching certification platform offers instruction for coaches and endurance athletes of varying skills and abilities. 

“USA Triathlon is proud to collaborate with IRONMAN U to offer a variety of coaching education pathways and expand the collective knowledge and expertise of coaches across multisport,” said Tim Yount, USA Triathlon Chief Sport Development Officer. “Through this partnership, coaches will be better able to earn recognition and credit for the time and investment they have put into their professional development. We are always looking for ways to provide our certified coaches with more opportunities to learn and grow to better serve their athletes and the broader triathlon community.”

The IRONMAN U certification will be worth 10 USA Triathlon Approved CEUs for USA Triathlon-certified coaches. Coaches recertify every two years. CEU requirements for USA Triathlon coaches vary based on certification level (I, II or III), but for Level I coaches, the requirement is 15 CEUs per two-year recertification cycle. 

“The most valuable asset a coach has is their knowledge of the sport,” said Earl Walton, Global Director of Coaching and Training at The IRONMAN Group. “Working with USA Triathlon to create more opportunities for coaches to learn is critical to the success of our sport at every level. This is the first part of a more unified focus from USA Triathlon and IRONMAN to collaborate to build great coaching programs for triathlon coaches.”

USA Triathlon and IRONMAN are exploring a more expanded coaching education collaboration in the future, with an emphasis on providing mutual benefits for coaches across both platforms. 

For more information about the USA Triathlon Coaching Certification Program, click here. To learn more about IRONMAN U, visit u.ironman.com. To find a triathlon coach for you based on specific expertise, location and level of certification, visit usatriathlon.org/findacoach.


About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

About The IRONMAN Group
The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® VR™ Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, IRONKIDS®, ITU World Triathlon Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and The Sun-Herald City2Surf® presented by Westpac, Ultra-Trail® World Tour events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with more than 235 events across 50+ countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com

PTO Paying Pro Triathletes Now to Help With Crisis

In a podcast interview to be released on March 28th, Co-President of the Professional Triathlon Organization (PTO), Tim O’Donnell commented on the recent announcement about the PTO paying professional triathletes now rather than making them wait until the end of year.

“Michael Moritz, Chairman of Crankstart (the financing behind PTO), and Charles Adamo, (Chairman of PTO) have really showed amazing graciousness and a commitment to the athletes who rely on prize winnings by paying now and increasing the purse by half a million dollars,” said O’Donnell.

Tim O’Donnell, Kona 2019 with Rich Soares

LONDON, ENGLAND. 18 March 2020. The Professional Triathletes Organisation today announced its response to COVID-19 by increasing its Year-End Annual Bonus Programme from $2,000,000 to $2,500,000 and paying it all immediately based on the PTO World Rankings. The $500,000 increase would go to men and women athletes ranked 21-50, who previously would have been paid $5,000 each in a year-end bonus, but will now see that amount raised to $8,000, and men and women athletes ranked 51-100, who previously would have been paid $2,000 each in a year-end bonus, but will now see that amount raised to $5,000. Athletes will be paid based on their PTO World Ranking as of January 1 or March 15, whichever is higher.

During this period that the race schedule is disrupted, the top ten PTO World Ranked men and women athletes have committed to work together with the PTO to engage in appearances and online exhibitions and any revenue from these will be distributed to athletes ranked 20-100.

Rachel Joyce, Co-President of the PTO, commented, “The world finds itself in a difficult and almost unprecedented time. We appreciate that many people are struggling both physically and economically. For our athletes, like many others, the future is filled with uncertainty. With many races cancelled, the ability of our athletes to be able to race in the near future has been greatly reduced. The PTO has been looking for a way to support our athletes in this time of instability. We appreciate that many race operators and race directors are struggling with financial constraints and the PTO is fortunate to be in a position to be able to provide some support to our athletes. We hope that our response in paying athletes a total of $2,500,000 today will help them manage the immediate disruption they are experiencing. We are now looking to work with sponsors, governing bodies, race organisers and other groups in exploring additional opportunities to help alleviate the hardships that COVID-19 is causing to the triathlon community.”

Charles Adamo, Chairman of the PTO, stated that, “The actions taken by the PTO today are indicative of the way our athletes are viewed as valuable partners. Once events were being cancelled, the Crankstart Investments team immediately contacted us and wanted to find the best way to provide short-term support to the athletes. We will continue to monitor the ongoing impact and hope to be able to adopt additional programmes where athletes are not only supported, but also are able to provide support to others who may be struggling in this current environment. As an organisation, the PTO and its professional athletes will look to work with governing bodies, race directors, race organisers and our entire triathlon community to see how we are able to help.” 

The PTO also has also announced that under the current circumstances, The Collins Cup, scheduled for May 30, will need to be postponed and will be rescheduled for 2021 at the x-bionic-sphere®. For THE CHAMPIONSHIP, scheduled for May 31, Challenge Family and the x-bionic-sphere are working closely with the local authorities to determine if the event should and can be rescheduled for a later 2020 date. Sam Renouf, CEO of the PTO, commented that, “Given the complex and innovative broadcast production we were going to deliver for The Collins Cup, it is just impossible to logistically have all the worldwide vendors and suppliers gearing-up in this uncertain environment and be able to hold The Collins Cup this year.”

Improvements Coming to Boulder’s Most Popular Trails

From Mt. Sanitas to Chautauqua, the City of Boulder is planning to make improvements to some of its most popular trails.

From BoulderColorado.gov

Learn about these projects and talk with city staff who work to maintain, repair and build trails an upcoming open house with the City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) Department.  The event will be held Thursday, Feb. 27 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the OSMP HUB Building, 2520 55th St.  

Expect to learn about these upcoming projects and more:  

  • Anemone Trail: Planned construction will extend the Anemone Trail into a 3-mile trail loop west of Boulder, providing stunning views of Boulder Canyon, Sunshine Canyon, Front Range peaks and the city of Boulder. 
  • Mt. Sanitas  Trail: One of OSMP’s most popular trail routes is the Mt. Sanitas Trail. It can be difficult to maintain due to erosion and widening that can occur, which can cause impacts to native plant communities next to the trail. Crews will return for the fifth year in a row to repair sections of trail with stone steps and retaining walls.    
  • 1st-2nd Flatiron Trail: The construction of stone steps and retaining walls will further stabilize the trail to prevent erosion, reduce switchback shortcutting, and minimize vegetation damage.  Staff’s planting of vegetation also will help with native plant restoration.  
  • Cyclic trail maintenance: OSMP crews work year round on regular maintenance to reduce trail erosion and clear trails of overgrown vegetation. This helps extend the life of trails and prevents the need for costly or major maintenance projects.  

 
Get the latest trail updates 

A new text messaging service will provide community members updates about OSMP trail closures – most notably, muddy trail closures that can occur regularly during the winter, spring and fall. Sign up for this service by texting the word “OSMP” to 888-777. You can also find updates through the OSMP interactive trail map.

Don’t forget to download the new Boulder Area Trails App, which provides information on OSMP trails, as well as trails and paths managed by 11 other Boulder-area agencies.  

Click here to read the original post

Arizona State, Colorado Mesa Win at Women’s Collegiate Triathlon West Regional Qualifier

From USA Triathlon

Photo by Jessica Welk/USA Triathlon

The second of three Regional Qualifiers for the varsity women’s collegiate triathlon season was held Sunday in South Dakota, hosted by NCAA Division II triathlon program Black Hills State University. The race marked the second opportunity for teams and individuals to qualify for the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships, set for Nov. 16 in Tempe, Arizona.

Athletes completed a sprint-distance 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer draft-legal bike and 5-kilometer run. Awards were presented to the top-two individuals in each NCAA Division (DI, DII and DIII) and the top-two teams in DI and DII. There were not enough competing athletes from DIII programs to award a team score in that division.

Arizona State’s Kyla Roy, Audrey Ernst, Kira Stanley and Hannah Henry were the first four athletes across the line overall, as Roy took the DI individual victory with a time of 1 hour, 1 minute, 12 seconds. Colorado Mesa University’s Mazzy Jackson was the top DII finisher in 1:06:04, placing eighth in the overall field. Earning the DIII individual win was Northern Vermont University-Johnson’s Ellery Kiefer in 1:15:41, taking 22nd overall.

ASU was the top NCAA DI team on the day with six points, followed in the DI standings by the University of South Dakota with 19. USD’s Ella Kubas led the Coyotes with a fifth-place finish both overall and in her division, crossing the line in 1:05:30.

Colorado Mesa took top honors for DII teams with seven points, and Black Hills State was second with 16. Mathilde Bernard led the Black Hills State squad, finishing third in the DII standings and 13th overall with a time of 1:08:25.

Read the full article here

Paralympians Allysa Seely, Mark Barr Win ESPYS

From USA Triathlon

Two of paratriathlon’s biggest stars were honored Wednesday night in Los Angeles at the ESPY Awards, ESPN’s annual celebration for all things sports.

Paralympians Allysa Seely and Mark Barr took home the ESPYS for best female and male athletes with a disability, honored for their dominant 2018 seasons.

Seely, who won gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, logged a perfect season in 2018 on the ITU Paratriathlon World Series circuit, culminating in a gold medal at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, which marked her third career world title in the women’s PTS2 category. Seely’s season earned her USA Triathlon’s Elite Paratriathlete of the Year honors for 2018.

She has continued that win streak this season with first-place finishes at the first three stops on the circuit in Milan, Italy; Yokohama, Japan and Montreal, Quebec.

Read the full article here

U.S. Olympian Joe Maloy to Lead USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruitment Program

From USA Triathlon

Maloy to lead talent transfer of single-sport NCAA runners and swimmers to elite triathlon

Photo: Nils Nilsen

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced that 2016 U.S. Olympian Joe Maloy has been hired as coordinator of the USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruitment Program (CRP), which identifies and recruits top-level NCAA runners and swimmers to elite triathlon. A member of the USA Triathlon High Performance staff, Maloy started on June 24 and will work remotely out of Southern California.

Maloy fills the role previously held by 2004 U.S. Olympian Barb Lindquist, who founded the CRP in 2009 and resigned as program manager last month. Lindquist remains a consultant for the USA Triathlon high performance staff.

“USA Triathlon is proud to bring another Olympian onto our staff — not only to build on the strong foundation of the CRP, but also to develop its future in new and innovative ways,” said John Farra, High Performance General Manager at USA Triathlon. “Joe’s background as a collegiate swimmer, ITU triathlete and Olympian lends him an authenticity that will be key to recruiting the right athletes to the CRP. I know Joe is ready to hit the ground running as we approach Tokyo 2020 and the next Olympic quadrennial.”

The CRP fast-tracks the talent transfer of single-sport collegiate runners and swimmers who have the potential to be elite triathletes. Through active recruitment, assessment, mentorship, support and a full-time coaching environment within an elite squad, USA Triathlon has increased the quality and quantity of the next generation of potential Olympic medalists.

“Collegiate athletes who’ve transitioned to triathlon have enjoyed success at the sport’s highest levels,” Maloy said. “Barb Lindquist recognized an opportunity to introduce these athletes to our sport when she started USA Triathlon’s Collegiate Recruitment Program, and I’m looking forward to building upon that work. This is not only a great opportunity to help USA Triathlon find podium contenders for the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games, but it’s also a chance to introduce hard-working women and men to both a sport and a community that will positively impact their lives for years to come. “

Read the full press release here

American just made it cheaper to travel with bikes, surfboards, skis and tubas

American Airlines is eliminating its hefty oversize bag fees for large sports equipment and musical instruments ahead of the summer travel season.

From USA Today
By Dawn Gilbertson

Passengers checking items including surfboards, skis and bikes will now pay standard checked bag fees instead of an oversize bag fee of $150 each way on domestic flights. The fine print: like all checked bags, the items must not weigh more than 50 pounds or overweight bag fees of$150 for those items will kick in, though fees may vary.

The savings are significant: American charges $30 each way for the first checked bag and $40 for a second checked bag.

American said the new policy, which takes effect immediately, was based on feedback from customers and employees.

It also likely was a competitive move. Alaska Airlines eliminated a $75 surcharge for oversized sports equipment in 2017 and last year United Airlines cut the fees for surfboards on nonstop flights to and from California

American said certain oversize items, including antlers, hang gliders, scuba tanks and kite/windsurfing gear, will still be subject to the flat $150 fee because they require special handling.

Read the full article here