Less then 24 hours after the completion of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games triathlon, the International Triathlon Union today announced an innovative new platform for the sport by establishing a pioneering new series that will take triathlon to new heights.
“This is a great step forward for triathlon and it is exciting for triathlon to be moving in this direction,” said recent gold medallist Emma Snowsill of Australia. “For us the athletes, this is phenomenal. The benefit of live TV is it creates a proper season. People will know when to watch and when to tune into triathlon.”
The new format will consist of six World Championship events plus a Grand Final every year, extending the current single World Championships event into a series. A major feature is the world’s best athletes will now consistently race head-to-head. World class venues in internationally renowned cities will be selected to host each World Championship event with guaranteed live international high-definition television offered.
“This is fantastic for triathlon,” added Germany’s newly crowned Olympic champion Jan Frodeno. “It is similar to FI racing where the top athletes are battling head-to-head. Using the Hamburg [World Cup] model is ideal as having 100,000 spectators and TV makes it easier for us to market ourselves and as it snowballs the top athletes will want to come.”
For the first three years, the events programme will be scheduled on a monthly basis from March to September. In an Olympic year, the Grand Final will move to October or November. This provides the athletes, coaches, National Federations, sponsors and television broadcasters with a well planned stable schedule of high quality events.
“This new series will provide our athletes with a stage to showcase triathlon to the world,” said ITU Executive Director, Loreen Barnett. “With the success of the Beijing Olympic triathlon, we feel there is no better time to announce our future direction. No one has done this in our sport before and we are proud to be leading triathlon into a new era.”
Each World Championship event leading up to the Grand Final will seek to integrate a mass participation and youth element alongside the elite races. The ITU Age-Group World Championships will be staged at the annual Grand Final event along with Junior and Under23 competitions.
ITU has formed a partnership with a major international sports business to collaborate on a fresh and exciting new programme of events, the ‘ITU Triathlon World Championship Series’.
More details are coming soon.