Second qualifier for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team will be held Friday, Saturday
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A talented field of 140 of the world’s top triathletes will swim, bike and run through San Diego’s Mission Beach area at this week’s ITU World Triathlon San Diego, which serves as the second and final automatic qualifier for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team.
The women’s race will be held Friday at 2 p.m., followed by the men Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The Olympic-distance (1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run) elite race fields are comprised of 70 athletes per gender.
As of Monday, 17 top Americans are on the start list, including 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team qualifiers Sarah Groff (Hanover, N.H.) and Gwen Jorgensen (Milwaukee Wis.), three-time Olympian Hunter Kemper (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Beijing Olympians Laura Bennett (Boulder, Colo.), Sarah Haskins (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Jarrod Shoemaker (Clermont, Fla.).
Top international multisport athletes slated to compete include:
• Jonathan Brownlee (Great Britain): 2011 ITU World Triathlon Series runner-up
• Bevan Docherty (New Zealand): 2004 Olympic silver medalist; 2008 Olympic bronze medalist
• Helen Jenkins (Great Britain): 2011 ITU World Triathlon Series champion
• Emma Moffatt (Australia): 2008 Olympic bronze medalist
• Chris McCormack (Australia): 2007, 2010 Ironman world champion; 1997 ITU World Cup series champion
• Emma Snowsill (Australia): 2008 Olympic gold medalist
• Simon Whitfield (Canada): 2000 Olympic gold medalist; 2008 Olympic silver medalist
One of just eight ITU World Triathlon Series events in 2012, the ITU World Triathlon San Diego also will play a key role in determining the Olympic squads for a number of other nations, as it is the second-to-last ITU World Triathlon Series event prior to the closing of the ITU’s 2012 Olympic qualification window at the end of May.
The ITU World Triathlon Series was introduced in 2009, creating a series of world championship races rather than a single-day world championship. From 2009 until 2011, it was called the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series, but was re-branded in 2012 as the ITU World Triathlon Series. There will be eight rounds in the 2012 season, culminating with the Grand Final in Auckland, New Zealand, in October. The world’s top triathletes will compete head-to-head for rankings points that determine the overall ITU World Champion, with media and fans able to watch from everywhere with a live international broadcast feed available from every event. A total of $2.06 million will be available for elite athletes racing in the 2012 ITU World Triathlon Series.
A $170,000 prize purse will be on the line in San Diego with $20,000 going to the male and female winners.
Universal Sports will broadcast the ITU World Triathlon San Diego elite races on tape-delay. The women’s event will air May 19; the men’s race May 20. Both races will be streamed live online and will be available on-demand at UniversalSports.com.
Set for the morning of Saturday, May 12, top-flight Olympic- and sprint-distance age group races, as well as an Olympic-distance relay, will offer amateurs the chance to compete in the same epic venue as the world’s best athletes at the ITU World Triathlon San Diego. Visit sandiego.triathlon.org for more information on the event.
For the Americans, a top-nine finish on the women’s side will automatically qualify an athlete for the Games. If multiple athletes place in the top nine, the top finisher will earn a spot on the U.S. roster. If no U.S. women place in the top nine in San Diego, the final spot on the Olympic roster will be filled by a discretionary selection by the USA Triathlon Elite Athlete Selection Committee.
The first U.S. male to cross the finish line in San Diego will be London bound, regardless of placing. Two men can qualify for the U.S. Olympic roster in San Diego, provided they both place in the top nine. If necessary, any remaining spots will be filled by a discretionary selection by the USA Triathlon Elite Athlete Selection Committee.