First qualifier for the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team will be held Aug. 6-7
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Nine of the United States’ top triathletes have earned the right to compete for a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team next month at the International Triathlon Union World Championship Series event in London on Aug. 6-7.
Laura Bennett (Boulder, Colo.), Sarah Groff (Hanover, N.H.), Sarah Haskins (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Gwen Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Jillian Petersen (Colorado Springs, Colo.) will compete in the Saturday, Aug. 6 women’s race.
Matt Chrabot (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Manuel Huerta (Miami, Fla.), Hunter Kemper (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Jarrod Shoemaker (Maynard, Mass.) will represent the men Sunday, Aug. 7. ITU released the start lists last week.
Kemper is seeking his fourth Olympic berth, while Bennett, Haskins and Shoemaker are aiming for a second straight trip to the Games.
The 2011 ITU London WCS event will be held on the 2012 Olympic course and serves as the first opportunity for U.S. athletes to qualify for the Games. At this event, the two highest-placing eligible American athletes per gender will automatically qualify for the Olympic team provided they place among the event’s top nine finishers.
In addition to seeking individual berths to the Games, athletes also can lock up a country slot for the U.S. with a top-three finish in London. The U.S. is the only nation to have the maximum number of athletes — three men, three women — on the starting line in all three Olympic triathlons.
The U.S. women are off to a fast start in 2011 with a total of five top-10 finishes through the first three WCS events. Bennett, who is ranked fourth in the series standings, has finished in the top eight of all three WCS races this year, while Groff is coming off the first-ever WCS podium finish for an American woman in Kitzbühel, Austria. She has finished third and seventh, respectively, in her last two WCS events. Haskins was 15th in her 2011 WCS debut in Kitzbühel.
After dealing with injuries for much of the past two seasons, Kemper has enjoyed a strong start to 2011 with a trio of ITU World Cup podium finishes and a win at the June 25 USA Triathlon Elite Race Series stop in Monroe, Wash. No U.S. man has earned a top-10 finish on the ITU WCS circuit in 2011, but Chrabot, Kemper and Shoemaker combined for seven top-10 finishes in the 2010 series. Shoemaker led the way with four top 10s a year ago.
The seven-race WCS is a key proving ground for the United States’ top triathletes aiming for a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. In addition to racing for WCS points, athletes also will be looking to earn points toward securing a spot for their country at the 2012 Olympic Triathlon in London.
About USA Triathlon
Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon – one of the fastest growing sports in the world – as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. USA Triathlon sanctions 3,500 races and connects with more than 140,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including ITU World Championships, Pan American Games and the Summer Olympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the International Triathlon Union and the United States Olympic Committee.