Wednesday, January 7, 2009

USAT and the Pursuit of Olympic Medals

This article I wrote is posted over at Enjoy!

One of the common debates happening in the sport of triathlon deals with the amount of resources used and money spent by USA Triathlon on elite athlete development and the pursuit of Olympic medals. Some USAT members feel there is no need to invest in this pursuit as a governing body, while others feel the pursuit does not go far enough, and should include elite-level coaching development, and athlete recruitment as well.

The debate may stem from some age-groupers not being able to relate to the International Triathlon Union’s draft-legal racing style on the bike, (commonly called “ITU racing”), and the fact there are few of those high-profile races in the US in a given year, in order to get exposed to this type of racing. This type of racing is only available for elite level triathletes, and therefore perceived of having no direct significance to most USAT members.

Take the fact many age-groupers aren't readily able to describe why a USAT membership is beneficial to them, save for a few bucks saved at registration at many events, and you can begin to understand the reasons they wonder why money is being spent on such a select few athletes and coaches, and not really benefiting them directly.

USAT staff ranked the “Elite Olympic Team” as the number one program of importance, in a 2008 survey, well ahead of other age-grouper related programs, such as the Age Group National Championships, sanctioning, and clubs. [1]

You can read the rest of the article, and view the charts and sources, at

Coach Vance

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