The US Olympic Committee has this week announced that USA Triathlon (USAT) is the recipient of the USOC’s annual Advancing Diversity & Inclusion Award, which recognizes the National Governing Body with the highest annual growth percentage of underrepresented individuals based on diversity data for women and racial and ethnic minorities.
USA Triathlon led all NGBs and High Performance Management Organizations in the Olympic and Paralympic movements with a 6.23% increase in membership for women and persons of colour from 2015-16. Percentage increases were evaluated based on overall NGB numbers, which includes board members, employees, NGB membership, and national team athletes and coaches.
The USOC will present the award on Friday night as part of the US Olympic Assembly held this week in Colorado Springs.
“Increasing the diversity of our membership, staff and volunteer leadership has been a longstanding priority at USA Triathlon,” said USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris. “We are proud to see our efforts make an impact as we draw more individuals of all backgrounds into our sport. The work is not done, as we continue to support programs for underserved youth, promote women’s participation and make a difference for minorities at the grassroots level.”
“USA Triathlon’s proactive efforts to involve diverse communities and break down barriers in the sport of triathlon make the organization a leader in the Olympic movement,” said Jason Thompson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the USOC. “USA Triathlon’s innovative and sustainable programs are creating opportunities for individuals both on the race course and in professional arenas.”
The award comes with a US$5,000 grant from the USOC, which USA Triathlon will use to further support programs that focus on making triathlon accessible to all, regardless of gender, ethnicity, race or socioeconomic status.
In coordination with USA Triathlon, the USA Triathlon Foundation offers annual grants to support diversity-focused grassroots programs across the country, including for youth, women, paratriathletes and more. In 2017, a total of US$86,000 in grant funding was distributed to 25 organizations that ‘transform lives by opening pathways to triathlon for all — particularly those who may not have found it possible otherwise’.
USA Triathlon’s Tri for Change program, launched in 2014, provides an opportunity for underserved youth aged 7-15 to train for a triathlon with a dedicated coach. The program culminates in a premier race experience at the USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships, held annually in West Chester, Ohio, through 2021. As part of the program, children receive personal instruction and mentoring from a USA Triathlon-certified coach, as well as financial support for travel, a training plan, race entry and a USA Triathlon annual membership.
This June, USA Triathlon launched its WIN Initiative, a series of 18 low-cost and community-driven events across the United States designed to drive participation by women new to multisport. The inaugural events are a combination of newly created women’s-only triathlons and duathlons, women’s-only waves within existing races, instructional clinics and social gatherings.
The volunteer-driven USA Triathlon Women’s Committee also promotes women’s participation and leadership in multisport. The Women’s Committee primarily focuses on professional mentoring and identifying opportunities for women in positions of authority and decision-making within the associations that govern the sport.
USA Triathlon works to promote diversity in triathlon at the international level by partnering with the African Triathlon Union and the American Triathlon Federation (CAMTRI) on outreach initiatives. These partnerships include donations of clothing, apparel, shoes and triathlon gear to under-served communities, as well as opportunities for international athletes to attend triathlon training camps at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.