ITU President Marisol Casado speaks at Tri America Conference

ITU President Marisol Casado speaks at Tri America Conference

By Nicola Hargreaves on 21/02/12 at 10:02 am

ITU President Marisol Casado presented as a keynote speaker at the 2012 Triathlon America Conference in San Diego, California this week.

Now in its second year, the conference is the first and only event solely dedicated to the business of triathlon. ITU Secretary General Loreen Barnett, ITU Director of Administration, Finance and Legal Antonio Arimany, ITU Executive Board member Melissa Merson and ITU Sport Director Gergely Markus were also in attendance at the industry event which ran from 19-21 February.

Casado opened the conference with her presentation on ‘Triathlon, the Olympics and the role of the International Triathlon Union’. She began by recalling how San Diego had been the birthplace of triathlon in the 1970’s and marvelled at the pathway that lead to overcoming the many challenges to achieve a new pinnacle for the sport.

Casado outlined the major goals that ITU is working hard to deliver which include, development of the sport to its fullest extent, governing of the sport, protecting the health of the athletes by having a comprehensive anti-doping programme and controlling the image of triathlon.

“Our strategies to promote our sport must have a social agenda and is a goal that is central to our work.  A positive, healthy image of our sport is the vehicle for athletes, who are the focus of the care, education and promotion,” she said.

Becoming a part of the Olympic programme in Sydney 2000—which Casado greatly attributes to the efforts of founding President of ITU and current Honorary President, Les McDonald and ITU Secretary General Loreen Barnett—triathlon is further growing.

“Because of our growth as an Olympic programme sport, we can all expect an increase in visibility and exposure for all of us in the Triathlon family.  The sport’s performance through our athletes is the greatest strength we have.
“To speed up our growth as an Olympic sport we are working to have another event included in the programme – the mixed relay.  This will have the double effect of impacting the participation of women.
If all goes well, it will be included for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, where we will also make our debut on the programme of the Paralympic Games.”

Casado was followed by a notable selection of speakers whose contributions have significantly impacted the triathlon industry including Rob Urbach, CEO of USA Triathlon who spoke on ‘USAT’s Vision for the Future of Triathlon’.

The conference also included educational breakout seminars and panels targeting retailers, manufacturers and event organisers. Olympic coach and ITU facilitator Gale Bernhardt along with Olympic medallist and triathlon legend Michellie Jones made up part of the panel discussing ‘Olympics and the Business of Triathlon’.

Schedule highlights also featured the ‘State of the Sport’ panel with Merson, who serves on the ITU Executive Board, and is also Executive Director of National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity.

In addition at the three day conference, Triathlon America honoured the best companies, programmes and athletes in the triathlon industry at the Triathlon America Awards Celebration.

Further details on the conference can be found here

Photo courtesy Paul Phillips / Competitive Image