USA Triathlon Announces Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Criteria

March 16th, 2015

Rio de Janeiro, Chicago among selection events for Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon has determined the international events that will serve as individual qualifying opportunities for triathletes who will eventually represent the United States at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The qualification criterion for Rio de Janeiro 2016 set forth by USA Triathlon and approved by the National Governing Body’s Board of Directors and the U.S. Olympic Committee includes three primary international events for elite triathletes and paratriathletes who may earn a spot based on their finish position. Qualifying criteria was also approved for the Pan American Games, set for July 11-12 in Toronto, Ontario, as well as select support staff roles for that event. These documents are available at

U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team Qualification The selection period for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team begins in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 1-2 with the ITU test event. U.S. elite triathletes competing in the Rio de Janeiro ITU World Olympic Qualification Event must finish in the top eight overall to automatically qualify for an Olympic Games spot, and a maximum of two athletes per gender may qualify. If two spots are not earned at the Rio de Janeiro ITU World Olympic Qualification Event, one automatic qualifying spot will be available at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Chicago on Sept. 18-19, granted the athlete finishes in the top eight.

The third selection event will be an ITU Olympic-distance, draft-legal event to be held between March 1-May 31, 2016, with exact dates and location to be determined. Event information and specific qualification details will be posted at within seven days of ITU posting the final 2016 calendar of events. If spots still remain after the three selection events, athletes may be selected by the Elite Athlete Selection Committee and/or an Objective Ranking System. Details of all qualification processes are available at

The number of spots available on the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team will be determined no later than May 16, 2016. The U.S. may earn up to three spots per gender based on the ITU quota allocation. National Federation spots will be awarded to:

  • The winning country of each of the five continental qualifying events (Pan American Games for the U.S.)
  • The countries represented by podium finishers at the World Olympic Qualification Event in Rio on Aug. 1-2
  • The countries for the highest-ranked athletes on the ITU Olympic Qualification List (39 per gender); athletes who have already qualified through one of the above events will not be considered
  • Five spots may also be awarded to National Federations based on the ITU Points List for events held between May 20, 2014, and May 15, 2016

U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team Qualification

Paratriathlon will make its Paralympic Games debut in 2016, and National Federations may qualify up to two athletes per sport class (three sport classes in two genders) for a maximum team size of 12. National Federation spots will be awarded to:

  • The winning country of each sport class (men: PT1, PT2, PT4; women: PT2, PT4, PT5) at the 2015 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Chicago on Sept. 17
  • The six top-ranked athletes on the ITU Paralympic Qualification List as of June 30, 2016
  • 16 athletes (8 men, 8 women) may be considered via Bipartite Commission Invitation if quota spots remain open will be awarded at the Aug. 1-2

If the U.S. earns quota spots for the Paralympic Games, individual spots may be earned at three events, with priority given first to the Rio de Janeiro ITU World Paratriathlon Event, then a yet-to-be-determined sprint-distance, non-draft event to be held between March 1-June 30, 2016, and finally, the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships on Sept. 17, 2015.

At each of the three identified events, a qualifying athlete must be the top U.S. finisher, provided the finish is within the top one-third of race starters in the respective sport class and also within five percent of the sport class winner’s time. Only one U.S. paratriathlete per sport class will be eligible to qualify at each event. Event information for the second priority selection event will be posted at within 30 days of ITU posting the final 2016 paratriathlon calendar of events. If spots still remain after these three priority events, additional priority order criteria is outlined in the athlete selection procedures.

The U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team will be nominated on or before July 26, 2016.

Complete details of the U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team qualification process are available at

U.S. Pan American Games Triathlon Team Qualification On July 11-12, the U.S. will compete in the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Ontario. Three men and three women will comprise the U.S. team with aims finishing first to earn a National Federation spot on behalf of USA Triathlon for the 2016 Olympic Games. Team selection includes three events, and one spot per gender may be earned at the following:

  • Monterrey [Mexico] CAMTRI Triathlon American Championships, May 2-3, 2015
  • Chengdu [China] ITU Triathlon World Cup, May 9-10, 2015
  • ITU World Triathlon Yokohama [Japan], May 16-17, 2015

Any U.S. athletes who win in Monterrey will automatically qualify for the Pan American Games team. The highest-placing U.S. athlete in Chengdu will also automatically earn a spot on the Pan American Games team, provided they finish in the top three. In Yokohama, a U.S. athlete may automatically qualify for the team if they are the highest-placing eligible U.S. athlete in the top eight.

Additionally, if no U.S. athletes qualify at one of the above events, one position will be filled by the U.S. athlete with the highest individual ITU Points List score achieved at an Olympic-distance event offering Olympic Qualification List points in 2015. Any remaining spots on the Pan American Games team following the automatic selection process will be filled by discretionary selection.

Complete qualification details for the U.S. Pan American Games Triathlon Team are available at Support staff and additional officials application processes are also available

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 races and connects with nearly 500,000 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 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).

USA Triathlon

USA Triathlon Announces Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Criteria

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Lindsay Wyskowski

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