“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from indomitable will.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Triathlon can be an intimidating sport. The idea of training for and completing three sport disciplines for one race can feel overwhelming for many people. Even the most experienced triathletes can let their worries get in the way of optimum performance. With proper training, support and mental preparation, those worries can fade away as you swim, bike and run your way to that finish line. It’s an amazing experience and one of great accomplishment. For athletes new to the sport or ones considering doing a triathlon for the first time, the importance of mental training is often overshadowed by the emphasis put on physical training in swimming, cycling and running. But, the physical and the mental must work together for the best outcome.
As an ambassador for USA Triathlon, when I go out into the community to encourage athletes to try a triathlon, I often hear these doubts: “I’m not athletic enough. I don’t think I can do that.”, “I am not a good swimmer. I’m too scared to try this.”, “I don’t have the right gear. My bike is too old.” But, guess what? As an athlete myself and a coach, I hear the experienced triathletes express worries as well. Every single triathlete in the world has had doubts about what he or she can accomplish. I completely understand this feeling. Testing ourselves in new ways is scary. Fear of failure is real. I said a lot of these same things to myself right before my first triathlon, “What the heck am I doing?? I can’t do this.” But, unless we take that first step towards a new challenge we can never know how that accomplishment feels. As athletes, we train our bodies to be strong but we often underestimate the need to train our minds to be resilient and think positively. We need to teach ourselves to believe in our strengths and follow that road to success.
Three Americans on the podium and a third straight World Triathlon Series (WTS) victory for Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.) made it an incredible weekend for the USA Triathlon women in Yokohama. Summer Rappaport (Thornton, Colo.) earned silver for the second WTS medal of her career, while Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.) continued her impressive 2019 season with a bronze medal to help the red, white and blue round out the podium. It was the fourth U.S. podium sweep in ITU World Triathlon Series history and the first since 2016.
With a perfect start to 2019 — securing wins in Abu Dhabi, Bermuda and Yokohama — Zaferes has a commanding lead in the WTS Standings with 3,000 points. Spivey is tied with Great Britain’s Jessica Learmouth for second with 2,458 points. Rappaport is now in seventh after her podium finish.
Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.) was the fourth American to crack the top 10 in the women’s field, finishing ninth overall.
Morgan Pearson (Boulder, Colo.) was the top U.S. finisher on the men’s side, placing 15th overall. France’s Vincent Luis broke the tape.
USA CYCLING AND USA TRIATHLON ANNOUNCE NEW PARTNERSHIP
The Partnership will serve to collectively grow the sports of Cycling and Triathlon in the U.S.
Colorado Springs, Colo. – USA Cycling and USA Triathlon have announced a new partnership, offering joint programs and promotions to better serve existing members while attracting new participants to both sports. The U.S. Olympic National Governing Bodies are both headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado — allowing for frequent collaboration around the shared goal of growing the endurance sports community.
The first-of-its-kind partnership is highlighted by a joint annual membership option that provides access to all USA Triathlon- and USA Cycling-sanctioned events. The organizations will cross-promote their respective National Championships and select sanctioned races to each other’s members in an effort to expand racing opportunities for both groups.
The joint membership is now available for purchase for $99, a $31 savings versus purchasing the two memberships separately. More details and a registration link can be found at usacycling.org and usatriathlon.org.
In addition, USA Triathlon and USA Cycling will work together on promotional and educational programs benefitting athletes who compete in both sports. Landing pages will be created on usacycling.org and usatriathlon.org offering content specific to cyclists who want to become triathletes, and vice versa.
“As we see our members expand their interests and look for new challenges, the partnership with USA Triathlon is a great way to further service our members who are looking to build additional strength, endurance and spark their training,” said Rob DeMartini, USA Cycling CEO. “Triathletes will benefit from the partnership by having access to cycling coaches and bike-handling skills clinics to help them through the longest leg. As draft-legal triathlons become more popular among age-group athletes, learning to ride safely in a crowded field of athletes will become increasingly important.”
“Most triathletes in the U.S. come to us from a single-sport background such as swimming, cycling or running. Triathlon provides a unique challenge, a change of pace while cross-training and the opportunity to learn new skills — all of which can complement a single-sport focus,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “USA Cycling is an ideal partner in this initiative, as triathletes can also significantly improve their fitness and technical skills with cycling-specific training and racing. We are proud to align with a fellow U.S. National Governing Body to grow both sports while providing valuable perks to our members.”
editors note: Barry Siff, for those newer to triathlon or Colorado, has had a major impact on the sport of triathlon. For years he headed 5430 which produced iconic races such as the Boulder Peak (now owned and run by Without Limits, Info here)
We at 303Endurance Network wish him the best in his future endeavors and thank him for his contribution to our sport and his kindness throughout the years.
USA Triathlon today announced that Barry Siff has resigned as President of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors, effective immediately, in order to accept the role of Chief Executive Officer for USA Team Handball. It is a full-time, paid staff position for the National Governing Body in the U.S. Olympic Movement.
Jacqueline McCook, Vice President of the Board of Directors, has accepted the role of interim President.
Siff joined the USA Triathlon Board of Directors in 2012, and was elected President in 2014. A former race director, he was integral in identifying and advancing USA Triathlon’s key organizational priorities, including development of the current 2020 Quad Strategic Plan. Siff also led the hiring process for Rocky Harris, who was named USA Triathlon’s CEO in August of 2017.
“I have been a triathlete since 1986, and it has been an incredible honor and privilege to help lead USA Triathlon as its Board of Directors President for the past five years,” said Siff. “The current team at USA Triathlon is truly world-class, and I leave knowing that we have laid an incredibly strong foundation to achieve its mission of growing, inspiring and supporting the triathlon community.”
A champion for gender diversity within USA Triathlon governance, he helped to exponentially increase female representation on the Board of Directors. Siff also added an integral perspective to the Board as a former event organizer, and was a strong voice for all race directors while pushing the organization to better serve this key constituency group.
As a member of the Executive Boards of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) and the American Triathlon Confederation (CAMTRI), Siff has served on several committees guiding the global direction of the sport over the last two years. His roles with the ITU and CAMTRI remain unchanged moving forward. Similarly, Siff was USA Triathlon’s top international ambassador, and directly supported triathlon development programs in Africa and Panama.
Siff was also a driving force for USA Triathlon’s ambitious efforts to grow participation and expand awareness for the sport — highlighted by the launch of the unprecedented Time to Tri initiative in partnership with IRONMAN, as well as the Legacy Triathlon, a new event leading up to the LA 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games and set to debut this July in Long Beach, California.
Siff, who currently serves as Chair of a newly formed group comprised of Board Chairs from U.S. Olympic National Governing Bodies, has been an integral part of the multisport scene since 1986 as an athlete, coach, race director, writer and executive leader. He first became involved with USA Triathlon in a volunteer leadership role in 2009 as Chair of the Race Director Committee.
“Barry Siff has made an indelible impact, both in the U.S. and internationally, during a span of nearly 30 years in multisport,” said Harris. “USA Triathlon has been incredibly fortunate to have such a passionate and dedicated leader at the helm of its Board of Directors, as well as his innumerable roles over the years. We are grateful for his service and passion, and we know that he will remain an integral part of the triathlon landscape for the foreseeable future.”
“Under Barry’s leadership, USA Triathlon has focused on better serving each of its constituent groups, as well as creating meaningful programs and initiatives to grow the sport, and investing resources strategically to ensure long-term, sustainable success,” said McCook. “Barry has always brought his unbridled enthusiasm, dedication and passion for the sport to his role as Board President, and for that we are extremely grateful. I look forward to working with the Board, Rocky and his team, to continue our work to grow, inspire and support our amazing triathlon community as I step into the role of interim President.”
McCook has served on the USA Triathlon Board as an Independent Director since 2013. She was elected the first-ever President of the Board of Directors for the USA Triathlon Foundation in 2014, and served in that role until 2018. McCook brings significant consumer-facing strategic, marketing and operational experience to the Board. She has served in senior executive positions in the consumer foods, retail and restaurant industries, including with PepsiCo, YUM! Brands, Diageo and ConAgra Foods.
Her professional career also includes the consulting firm, McKinsey & Company; the national retailer, Target; and the investment-banking firm, Morgan Stanley. McCook received her Bachelor of Arts in international relations from Stanford University, and her Master of Business Administration with honors from the Harvard Business School. She completed her first triathlon in the early 1990s, and was a founding member of the Stanford Women’s Water Polo Team.
I signed up for my first triathlon nine years ago. My 16-month-old daughter, Hayden, had just been diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome (AS), a rare genetic disorder that affects one in every 15,000 births. As Hayden pushed herself every day to learn how to stand, to walk, to communicate using assistive devices (she is nonverbal), and even eat, I challenged myself with learning the sport of triathlon. I wanted to use the sport to help raise money and awareness for her condition.
I soon discovered that triathlon became a metaphor for our life. I wasn’t a natural swimmer, so learning proper swim techniques was a challenge for me. Swimming in a race was new territory to navigate, similar to the special-needs world I had been thrown into. Just when I thought I had figured out the swim, a wave would splash me in the face or I would get kicked by another swimmer fighting for space in the water.
Here’s the thing I’ve discovered with swimming: No matter how hard you get pummeled, you have to keep moving your arms and legs or you will sink to the bottom, just like in life. Many days I want to throw in the towel, but I have a child who needs me to not only care for her, but be her voice, to fight for her and help her reach her full potential—so I have to keep moving forward.
I’ve always loved the outdoors. I grew up riding bikes with friends around the small Georgia town where I grew up. I learned how to mountain bike while dating my husband, who has become my training partner and biggest cheerleader on this journey. Little did I know that something I did for fun on the weekends before having a family would help pave the way for not only mental therapy sessions in the woods, but also success in the sport of triathlon.
Learning how to race on a bike was work, but it was such rewarding work, just like overcoming daily challenges and not giving in until they are figured out. Grinding away over steep, rocky terrain with burning lungs and straining legs is incredibly hard, but unbelievably rewarding once you reach the top of a mountain and look back on where you came from to get to where you are now.
Read the full article here
About Athlete of the Year Each year, elite and age-group multisport athletes are honored for their performances over the past season. USA Triathlon’s Age-Group Athletes of the Year for triathlon and duathlon are selected by the USA Triathlon Age Group Committee and USA Triathlon Duathlon Committee, respectively. USA Triathlon’s Elite Triathletes of the Year, Elite Paratriathletes of the Year and U-23 and Junior Elite Athletes of the Year are selected by the USA Triathlon Athlete Advisory Council.
This story originally appeared in the Fall 2018 edition of USA Triathlon Magazine.
The low point for Sarah True came last summer. A year removed from being forced to bow out early in the race at the 2016 Rio Games, True fell into a dark, deep, depressive state.
True is no stranger to depression — the two-time Olympic triathlete had been battling the disease since she was a teenager. But this was a hole more cavernous, more dark and more hopeless than she had ever fallen into.
She felt she was a failure. As an athlete. And as a wife, convinced she failed her husband Ben True, who missed qualification for the 2016 Olympic team. Triathlon wasn’t fun anymore. Life outside sport had no joy. Her training suffered. She couldn’t sleep. Suicidal thoughts ran through her mind.
“Maybe I’ll just swerve into oncoming traffic,” she thought during training rides near her home in Hanover, New Hampshire. One head-on collision with a truck could just end it all.
“Everything was a struggle. I was in a really, really dark place and I felt like it just wasn’t going to get better,” said True, 36.
You can’t “out tough” depression
A professional athlete, an Olympian, a competitor in IRONMAN, one of the most physically and mentally grueling endurance tests humans have created, and here is True contemplating her worth in this world.
But depression knows no boundaries.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in any given year, an estimated 16.2 million adults in the U.S. experience a major depressive episode. And an estimated 40 million adults live with anxiety disorders.
The incidence of those conditions, often linked, in the endurance sports population is probably similar, as a 2017 review of research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found no difference in depressive symptoms between what the researchers called “high-performance athletes” and nonathletes. Age-groupers or Olympic-caliber, all levels of athletes are affected. Michael Phelps, who has won more Olympic medals than anyone on this planet, has publicly spoken about his depression and thoughts of suicide.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon has increased its investment in anti-doping efforts for age-group athletes as part of an initiative launched earlier this year with support from the USA Triathlon Board of Directors. The USA Triathlon Compete Clean campaign, implemented in collaboration with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), focuses on education, awareness and accountability for amateur triathletes competing in USA Triathlon sanctioned events.
As part of the program, USA Triathlon has expanded its testing at age-group races across the country, including but not limited to national championships and ITU World Championship qualifiers in several multisport disciplines.
“I am really thrilled with the progress we’ve made over the past year in expanding our anti-doping programs to an entirely new level for age-group athletes,” said Chuck Graziano, USA Triathlon Board Member, Certified Coach and head of USA Triathlon’s Anti-Doping Steering Committee. “We are not only testing and deterring the intentional use of performance-enhancing substances, but also providing education and resources to our athletes on the ill effects of doping and what constitutes doping. Many athletes may not be aware that a prescription they’re taking might be banned — unless an exemption is granted — or that a supplement they’re taking might contain a banned substance. This important new program helps to protect the health of our athletes and ensure a level playing field.”
USA Triathlon supported the formation of an Anti-Doping Task Force to evaluate the organization’s clean sport programs and provide recommendations for future direction. The eight members included Graziano, who served as the Task Force Chair; Chris Bowerbank, USA Triathlon former Level II Race Director and Regional Chair; Matthew Fedoruk, Chief Science Officer at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency; Andrew Getzin, USA Triathlon Head Team Physician; Courtney Kulick, USA Triathlon National Team Program Manager; Kate Mittelstadt, Director of the IRONMAN Anti-Doping Program; Steve Sutherland, Chair of the USA Triathlon Age Group Committee; and Jon Whiteman, USA Cycling Risk Protection Manager.
Based on the recommendations of the Task Force, the Board of Directors approved $100,000 in funding for USA Triathlon to implement significant new programming in 2018.
The Steering Committee, which is overseeing the timeline and implementation of that programming, retains many members of the initial Task Force — including Bowerbank, Fedoruk, Graziano, Kulick, Mittelstadt and Whiteman. Leslie Buchanan, Director of Anti-Doping at the International Triathlon Union, has also joined the effort.
“USA Triathlon is proud to have the support of the Board of Directors, as well as a diverse Steering Committee, in our efforts to protect clean athletes and prevent issues of doping in multisport,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “We look forward to driving awareness among our age-group community, while at the same time elevating the organization’s clean sport outreach as a whole.”
“We are very supportive of USA Triathlon’s efforts to promote clean sport across all levels of competition,” said Travis Tygart, USADA CEO. “In addition to its regular USADA-run anti-doping program, it is investing in anti-doping education for both elite and amateur triathletes. This not only helps ensure that athletes, coaches and others are prepared to compete clean, but also helps create a culture of clean sport.”
USA Triathlon has implemented the following as part of the Compete Clean campaign:
Hiring of Full-Time Staff Member Dedicated to SafeSport and Anti-Doping Initiatives: Shelbi Meyer was hired in June and serves as a direct liaison to USADA, working closely with USADA’s education and testing departments to implement best practices and coordinate testing at USA Triathlon-sanctioned events.
Education and Awareness Resources: USA Triathlon has communicated with its members on anti-doping topics throughout the year via e-newsletter, the quarterly USA Triathlon Magazine, social media and a promotional video featuring IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Andy Potts and 2016 Paralympic gold medalist Allysa Seely. USA Triathlon is also sharing printed educational materials and video content to address age-group athletes’ most common anti-doping questions and concerns, such as checking medications, obtaining a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) and making smart choices around supplements. Athletes at the elite and age-group levels have been involved in the campaign as ambassadors, wearing “Compete Clean” shirts at events around the world including the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia, and the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
USADA Education Staff at National Events: Representatives from USADA’s education department were onsite at the 2018 USA Triathlon Sprint and Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships in Cleveland; the Art & Science of Triathlon International Coaching Symposium in Tempe, Arizona; and the USA Triathlon Multisport National Championships in Miami. At these events, USADA staff presented informational sessions to coaches and athletes, shared educational resources and answered questions at an expo booth. USA Triathlon will continue to coordinate with USADA for education and awareness at competitions and industry events through the 2019 season and beyond.
Increased Testing for Age-Group Athletes: Age-group athletes are now tested with more frequency and in higher numbers at collegiate and national championship events, especially those that qualify top finishers for the ITU Age Group World Championships. If an athlete has reason to believe a competitor is using performance-enhancing substances, he or she can submit a tip to USADA’s Play Clean Tip Center at usada.org/playclean with an option to remain anonymous.
Industry Collaboration: The organization continues to work closely with USADA, other Olympic sport National Governing Bodies, IRONMAN and additional triathlon industry partners to share resources, best practices and experiences in promoting clean sport.
Beyond its outreach to age-group athletes, USA Triathlon is also offering detailed educational opportunities to coaches, race directors, USA Triathlon staff, medical personnel and support staff.
For more information about USA Triathlon’s clean sport efforts, and for a list of USA Triathlon members currently serving sanctions for anti-doping violations, visit usatriathlon.org/antidoping.
Additional anti-doping resources are available at usada.org. For educational content geared toward youth athletes, visit truesport.org.
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 Committee (USOC).
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced the roster for the 2019 USA Paratriathlon Resident Team, an elite squad based at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Melissa Stockwell (Chicago, Ill.), Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.) and Kyle Coon (Carbondale, Colo.) will join current resident team athletes Allysa Seely (Glendale, Ariz.), Howie Sanborn (Denver, Colo.) and Hailey Danz (Wauwatosa, Wis.) as they train for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and other elite races on the International Triathlon Union circuit.
The resident team first opened its doors in April as the fifth Paralympic sport to call the Colorado Springs campus home. USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach Derick Williamson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) is the program’s head coach.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The United States Olympic Committee today announced USA Triathlon’s Paratriathlon Military Engagement Program as the recipient of its annual Diversity & Inclusion Choice Award.
Now in its fifth year, the D&I Choice Award recognizes an NGB or High Performance Management Organization (HPMO) for the creation of a single diversity and inclusion best practice or a series of diversity and inclusion best practices. After an internal USOC selection committee narrows down the submissions, finalists are put to a vote of representatives from NGBs and HPMOs across the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement.
USA Triathlon’s program received the highest number of votes, and the organization will be honored at a celebratory dinner on Friday, Sept. 21, as part of the 2018 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic in Colorado Springs, Colorado.