Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon Resident Team to Ride Across Colorado to Benefit COVID-19 Relief, Care & Share Food Bank

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – MAY 27: Paralympian and former U.S. Army Officer Melissa Stockwell cycles during a training session on May 27, 2020 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Athletes across the globe are now training in isolation under strict policies in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

From USA Triathlon

Nine U.S. elite triathletes training for the postponed Tokyo Paralympic and Olympic Games, along with USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris, will cycle a combined 483 miles across the state of Colorado starting Friday, June 19, in a 24-hour relay challenge dubbed “Operation CO>COVID.” 

The ride, which is supported by Toyota vehicles, was fully planned and executed by members of the Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon Resident Team including Kyle Coon, Hailey Danz, Kendall Gretsch, Allysa Seely, Melissa Stockwell and Howie Sanborn (Sanborn will not participate in the ride due to injury). The squad normally trains out of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, but the training center’s athletic facilities have been closed since mid-March due to COVID-19. 

The event is designed to drive awareness and donations for the USA Triathlon Foundation, which will then distribute proceeds equally between two causes: the USA Triathlon Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund, which provides grants to members of the multisport community impacted by the pandemic, and the Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado. Donations are being accepted at usatriathlonfoundation.org. The team has set a goal to raise $20,210 in reference to the postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will take place in 2021.

In addition to the paratriathlon resident team and Harris, participants in the challenge also include U.S. Olympic hopefuls Kevin McDowell and Renée Tomlin; up-and-coming 17-year-old paratriathlete Jack O’Neil; and elite triathlete Alex Libin. Libin will serve as a sighted guide for Kyle Coon, who is visually impaired.

“The Tokyo postponement left us all wanting to do something to both test ourselves physically and to give back to the community,” said Stockwell, a U.S. Army veteran and Team Toyota athlete who won a bronze medal in paratriathlon’s debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. “The idea to ride our bikes 483 miles across the state of Colorado accomplished both. Instead of racing in Tokyo, we will be racing the sun to finish our ride before sundown and raising money to give back to the community for COVID-19 relief. We look forward to completing these miles as a team and making a small difference.”

“Our paratriathlon resident team came up with Operation CO>COVID as a unique challenge for themselves, but more importantly, because they wanted to give back to our community during this unprecedented time,” Harris, CEO of USA Triathlon, said. “I am incredibly proud to ride alongside this group of individuals who, even when faced with the disappointment and uncertainty of an Olympic and Paralympic Games postponement, are still motivated to support others whose livelihoods have been threatened due to COVID-19.”

“It’s incredible to see the Toyota U.S. Paratriathlon Resident Team come together for such a great cause,” said Dedra DeLilli, group manager, Toyota Olympic and Paralympic Marketing. “We’re inspired by the athletes’ motivation to go above and beyond to create a positive impact for both the multisport community and the local community where they train. We can’t wait to follow the team’s ride, and our Toyota employees all over the country will be cheering them on.”

The ride will cover 483 miles in total distance, gaining nearly 23,000 feet of elevation as it extends from the Utah-Colorado state line in Montrose, Colorado, to the Colorado-Kansas state line at U.S. 40 and CR 57 (near the town of Arapahoe, Colorado). The route travels from the Western Slope up into the Rocky Mountains, cresting Monarch Pass at 11,312 feet of elevation before descending into the Front Range via Colorado Springs and into the Eastern Plains. To view the complete route, click here.

Athletes will be divided into three teams of three, with each person covering up to four different segments ranging from 3-15 miles at a time. The first riders will begin cycling from the Utah-Colorado state line in the evening (exact time TBD) on Friday, June 19, with a goal to be at the Colorado-Kansas state line 24 hours later on Saturday, June 20. 

Toyota support vehicles will transport the rest of the athletes and their gear along the route, stopping to swap riders after each segment. The athletes must collectively maintain an average of 21 miles per hour in order to successfully cross the state within 24 hours. 

The participating athletes include:

  • Kyle Coon, Tokyo Paralympic Hopeful 
  • Hailey Danz, Rio 2016 Paralympic Silver Medalist and Tokyo Paralympic Hopeful
  • Kendall Gretsch, PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Gold Medalist and Tokyo Paralympic Hopeful
  • Kevin McDowell, Tokyo Olympic Hopeful
  • Jack O’Neil, U.S. Paratriathlon Junior Development Team Member
  • Allysa Seely, Rio 2016 Paralympic Gold Medalist and Tokyo Paralympic Hopeful 
  • 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

FOR MEDIA: 

  • All riders are available for interviews leading up to the event date, and photos and video b-roll of athletes are available upon request.
  • Interviews, video and photo opportunities are possible during the ride itself but must be requested and coordinated in advance, as the relay is continuous and transport vans will be in motion throughout the day.
  • For all in-person coverage, members of the media must wear masks and maintain six feet of distance from athletes and support staff.
  • To request interviews or media materials, please contact Caryn Maconi, USA Triathlon Communications Manager, at caryn.maconi@usatriathlon.org or 443-534-5954.

To learn more about Operation CO>COVID, or to make a donation to the USA Triathlon Foundation, visit usatriathlonfoundation.org.


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).
– usatriathlon.org –

The Inaugural Endurance Conference to Benefit USA Triathlon Foundation as Charity Partner

Free, athlete focused virtual conference set for June 5-7

Katie Zaferes, 2019 ITU World Triathlon Series champion and 2016 U.S. Olympian, is scheduled to speak at the virtual event.

From USA Triathlon

The USA Triathlon Foundation was announced today as the charity partner for Endurance Conference, a new virtual conference for athletes that is set to take place June 5-7. Endurance Conference is founded and created by Juan Lopez Salaberry, a sports marketing executive and member of USA Triathlon’s amateur Team USA. The inaugural event is free and open to the public, and it will be completely carbon-neutral in commitment to sustainability.

Note: Endurance Conference is not affiliated with Endurance Exchange, an in-person triathlon industry conference created and co-hosted USA Triathlon and Triathlon Business International (TBI) that held its inaugural event Jan. 23-25 in Tempe, Arizona.

The event will combine different voices in the sport of triathlon, featuring world champions and Olympians, world-class coaches, community leaders, managers and more, with the intention to provide a pure athlete-focused educational experience.

The lineup of confirmed speakers includes: Katie Zaferes, 2019 ITU world champion and 2016 U.S. Olympian; Timothy O’Donnell, 2009 ITU long distance world champion and multi-time IRONMAN World Championship podium finisher; Andy Potts, IRONMAN 70.3 world champion and 2004 U.S. Olympian; Allysa Seely, 2016 Paralympic gold medalist and three-time ITU paratriathlon world champion; Grace Norman, 2016 Paralympic gold medalist and two-time ITU paratriathlon world champion; Chris Hammer, 2016 U.S. Paralympian; Sebastian Kienle, 2014 IRONMAN world champion and 2012-2013 IRONMAN 70.3 world champion; Angela Naeth, Canadian elite triathlete and community leader; Wesley Johnson, 2019 Team USA Awards Paralympic Coach of the Year; Dr. Tekemia Dorsey, Founder of the International Association of Black Triathletes and USA Triathlon Board Member; Tommy Zaferes, elite triathlete and professional ITU photographer; and Justin Lippert, five-time USA Triathlon age-group national champion and first-year elite.

Endurance Conference is free to attend, but participants must register in advance at enduranceconference.com. Donations are encouraged; all proceeds will support the USA Triathlon Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund, which provides grants to those in the multisport community who have been impacted by COVID-19 including race directors, coaches and clubs. The fund has raised more than $110,000 to date, and grant applications are now being accepted at usatriathlonfoundation.org.

“The USA Triathlon Foundation is honored to be selected as the charity partner for Endurance Conference, an innovative event that will bring athletes together virtually to learn from each other and network during this unprecedented time,” said David Deschenes, USA Triathlon Foundation Executive Director. “We are proud to continue driving support for those in our multisport community whose livelihoods have been affected by COVID-19, and to support those who keep our industry strong so we can enjoy the multisport lifestyle as we know it.”

The schedule for Endurance Conference, as well as the list of presenters, is now available at enduranceconference.com. The conference will kick off with opening remarks from Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO, on Friday, June 5. The event will continue on Saturday and Sunday, offering the chance for athletes of all levels to connect with speakers, be inspired and gain insights on how to perform at the top levels of the sport.

Endurance Conference, happening exclusively online, will not only avoid carbon emissions and support those who are still at home, but will also offset emissions of those who register by planting trees in partnership with One Tree Planted.

“The aim is to raise awareness about the importance of respecting and caring for our environment, which provides a safe-haven for us to practice the sport we love,” said Salaberry, founder of Endurance Conference. “2020 can be a year where we can all come together for what’s important to us, the environment we live in and the people that make it special. It’s important for us to launch this event by supporting those that need us.”

With the hopes of maximizing fundraising, Endurance Conference is partnering with brands to provide value back to the community in exchange for tax-deductible donations toward the COVID-19 Relief Fund. For information about how to partner with the event, and other questions related to Endurance Conference, please email hello@enduranceconference.com.



About Endurance Conference
Endurance is a conference created for athletes and their development. Since its inception in the midst of the global crisis in April 2020, Endurance conference has been on a mission to unite and support the triathlon community with our most important challenges, our world and our people. The first carbon-neutral event of its kind is hosted exclusively online to support those in the sport most impacted by COVID-19.

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).

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