International Triathlon Union

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International Triathlon Union
International Triathlon Union logo.svg
Sport Triathlon
Abbreviation ITU
Founded 1989
Location Lausanne, Switzerland
President Marisol Casado
Chief Exec Antonio Arimany
Official website
www.triathlon.org

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) is the international governing body for the multi-sport disciplines of triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon and other nonstandard variations.[1] . The ITU host the top level international race series the ITU World Triathlon Series and the ITU Triathlon World Cup. More recently, the ITU created a long distance race circuit with official world championships. Long Distance Triathlon races are closer in length to Ironman Triathlon races owned and organized by the World Triathlon Corporation.

The ITU also sanctions and organizes official Aquathlon (swim-run), Duathlon (run-bike-run) and Winter triathlon championships. The ITU is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland

History[edit]

Versions of swim bike run multi-sports existed in the 1920s but it wasn't until the term triathlon was coined in 1974 in San Diego, that triathlon exploded in popularity. This rapid development drew the attention of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which initiated a discussion in 1988 to include it in the Olympic Games program. The then IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch held a meeting in Stockholm , Sweden with the intention of making triathlon an Olympic sport as soon as possible. At that meeting Canadian Les McDonald was selected as President to a working committee for triathlon, while Sweden’s Sture Jonasson was elected as Secretary.[2]

The International Triathlon Union was founded one year later, on April 1, 1989, at the first ITU Congress in Avignon, France. A total of 30 National Federations attended the initial Congress and preparations were made for the sport’s first World Championships to be held in Avignon in August of 1989. At this meeting the Olympic distance (later renamed to standard) was set at a 1.5-km swim, 40-km bike and 10-km run the distances were chosen as they were already present at the Olympics for each discipline individually. More than 800 athletes representing 40 countries competed in the first World Championships,and Canada’s Les McDonald was elected as ITU’s first president in 1989.

ITU began the World Cup series in 1991, staging 11 races in eight countries. Triathlon was officially added to the Olympic Programme by the IOC at its Congress in Paris in 1994. Triathlon made its Olympic debut at the 2000 Games in Sydney, with Switzerland’s Brigitte McMahon and Canada’s Simon Whitfield earning the sport’s first gold medals

Since its inception the ITU maintained its headquarters in Vancouver, Canada until January 1st 2014 when it moved to Lausanne, Switzerland, home of the IOC and many international sporting bodies.

Spain’s Marisol Casado was elected as ITU’s second president in November of 2008. She became an IOC member in February of 2010 at the 122nd IOC Session in ITU’s hometown of Vancouver. She was re-elected for a new four-year term in October 2012. The Canadian Loreen Barnett maintains its general secretary 3, with Sarah Springman named 1st  vice-president and honorary member of the World Federation, hence in 2012 it was the only worldwide federation of an Olympic sport with an all-female management. In December 2016, Marisol Casado was re-elected for a third term as president of the International Federation at the 29th Congress held in Madrid 6.

In 2009 the International Triathlon Federation reorganised its top level competitions changing the World championship to the World Triathlon Series, an eight-stage competition circuit in eight different countries, and relegated the world cup down to a second tier series below the world series with less prize money and world ranking points. It also organizes a series of world competitions at different distances from chained sports derived from the triathlon it manages, such as duathlon, aquathlon, cross-triathlon, winter triathlon and paratriathlon.

In June 2017, following the renewal of the federal application, the International Olympic Committee included a third triathlon event on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games , the mixed team relay. With the men's and women's short distance triathlon events, three triathlon events offer Olympic titles to triathletes. By joining other sports who practice these forms of mixed events, this approach within the scope of the promotion of equality policies between men and women triathletes supported by the international federation and its president Marisol Casado.

In September 2017, the ITU announced the death of its founding and honorary President, Les McDonald, at the age of 84. The special press release, retraced his sporting and professional career, focusing on his success in obtaining Olympic status for triathlon in 2000, as well as his leadership of the federation for 20 years. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 2013 for service to the nation and inducted into the ITU "Hall of Fame" of the in 2014 for all of his work for triathlon.

International structure[edit]

Map of world with five continental regions

The ITU is structured into 5 continental regions, through which the national federations (the governing body of triathlon in each country) are affiliated to the ITU. Each regions offers a Continental Championship and Continental Cup Series.

     ASTC – Asian Triathlon Confederation representing 35 national federations[3]
     ATU – African Triathlon Union representing 37 national federations[4]
     ETUA – European Triathlon Union representing 35 national federations[5]
     PATCO – Pan American Triathlon Confederation representing 40 national federations[6]
     OTU – Oceania Triathlon Union representing 13 national federations[7]


Development[edit]

The ITU has an ongoing effort to develop the sport especially outside of Europe and English speaking countries. One method is through development grants such as the recent one to the African Triathlon Union, with most of the money to national federations allowing for support of organize events, as well as funding for athlete, coach and Technical Officials courses.[8] Another is athlete scholarships to be given to young athletes that have shown talent but who need more support than their developing National Federation can give, allowing them to perform at an international level, the end goal of these scholarships is the athletes performing for their county at the Olympic games.[9] One global development is the introduction of certifications for coaching and technical officials meaning that important events will be contested at the high level.[10]

Ranking system[edit]

The ITU publishes and maintains the World Rankings for the men's and women's competitions in both short and long course for triathlon and duathlon as well as aquathlon and winter triathlon races it also has a ranking for the national teams mixed relay.[11] Each ranking has a slightly different point system but all are calculated via a rolling calendar, by taking a set number of the highest scoring results from the previous 52 weeks and adding them the to a set number of the highest scoring results from the 53 to 104 weeks previous. Each races maximum score is decided by the ITU's ranking criteria[12] and then the athlete who comes first will earn that many points with each following athlete earning 7.5% less point than the athlete before them.

Championships[edit]

In its founding year the ITU only ran the World triathlon championship, the following year it also began hosting the duathlon world championship. In 1991 the ITU started hosting a series of triathlon races as the triathlon World Cup. The distances chosen for the World championship and World Cup races were 1,500m swimming, 40km of bike and 10km of running, these parameters were chosen from existing distances in swimming, cycling and running disciplines in the Olympic Games. This triathlon distance has become known as the standard distance in the world of triathlon. In 1994 to have a long distance championship similar to Ironman Triathlon events but hosted by the sports governing body the Long Distance Triathlon World Championships was founded and in 1997 parity was brought to duathlon with the Long Distance Duathlon World Championships. Also in 1997 the first Winter Triathlon World Championships was held giving the sport of winter triathlons its own world championship. Then in 1998 the Aquathlon World Championships were inaugurated giving aquathlon its own world championship. In 2009 the Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships was held to organise an elite level international relay. The most recently created tournament is the Cross Triathlon World Championships similar to the long distance it was created to allow the sports governing body to have a world championship instead of XTERRA Triathlon.

The world championship events organised by the ITU include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Federation Affiliation Criteria". International Triathlon Union. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
  2. ^ Union, International Triathlon. "Inside ITU | Triathlon.org". Triathlon.org. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  3. ^ "Official Site of Asian Triathlon Confederation". International Triathlon Union. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Official Site of African Triathlon Union". International Triathlon Union. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Official Site of Asian Triathlon Confederation". International Triathlon Union. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Official Site of Pan American Triathlon Confederation". International Triathlon Union. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Official Site of Oceania Triathlon Union". International Triathlon Union. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  8. ^ Union, International Triathlon (2018-04-17). "ITU and ATU combine efforts to continue developing triathlon in Africa | Triathlon.org". Triathlon.org. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  9. ^ Union, International Triathlon. "ITU Athlete Scholarship | Development | Triathlon.org". Triathlon.org. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  10. ^ Union, International Triathlon. "Development | Triathlon.org". Triathlon.org. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  11. ^ Union, International Triathlon. "ITU Current Rankings | Triathlon.org". Triathlon.org. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  12. ^ Union, International Triathlon. "Documents | Triathlon.org". Triathlon.org. Retrieved 2018-09-17.

External links[edit]