USA Triathlon, in partnership with the City of Long Beach, has announced plans for the Legacy Triathlon — a new event to be held in Long Beach, California, starting July 20th, 2019. The race will be held at Alamitos Beach, near the proposed site of the triathlon competitions for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris announced the event during a press conference on Tuesday morning at Shoreline Aquatic Park, and was joined by: Rex Richardson, Vice Mayor of the City of Long Beach; Barry Siff, International Triathlon Union (ITU) Executive Board Member and USA Triathlon Board of Directors President; and Ben Kanute, 2016 US Olympic triathlete.
US elite triathletes Summer Cook and Matt McElroy, both of whom train in Southern California, were also in attendance on Tuesday morning.
The Legacy Triathlon will begin in 2019 as an age-group race with a cap of 750 athletes. Participants will cover a sprint-distance course featuring a 750m swim, 18.9K bike and 5K run. Registration is now open at thelegacytriathlon.com, and no qualification is required.
“As the first National Governing Body in the US Olympic family to bring a new annual event to the Los Angeles footprint ahead of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, USA Triathlon is building its legacy before, rather than after, the Games,” USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris said. “Starting today, we are proudly giving back to the local multisport community in Southern California — the birthplace of triathlon — and building the foundation of what will become an international destination race for years to come.”
“We are excited to welcome USA Triathlon to Long Beach,” said Robert Garcia, Mayor of Long Beach. “Today, we marked the beginning of a great partnership that will lead up to the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which is going to be a historical moment for our city.”
The event will eventually expand into a two-day multisport festival that includes both amateur and elite racing. Plans are for the elite component to begin as an ITU Triathlon World Cup and ultimately become a stop of the ITU World Triathlon Series — the highest level of elite ITU competition — in the lead-up to the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“The triathlon world has been looking to the United States to develop a sustainable, major international competition for years now, and with the Legacy Triathlon in Long Beach this will be achieved,” ITU’s and USAT’s Barry Siff said. “Speaking for the International Triathlon Union, we are all tremendously enthusiastic to build an event in Southern California that will welcome the best of the best to the United States in the years leading up to the Olympics.”
“I am extremely proud and satisfied with this announcement,” said Marisol Casado, President of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) and member of the International Olympic Committee. “We always say that our events are way more than a one-time show. We want to build a strong relationship with our hosting cities, we want to engage with the local communities so that they can participate, volunteer or just watch the events.
“We want to attract elite athletes, but also popular triathletes from all ages willing to share some moments with their idols. The Legacy Triathlon is important for us because it will help us and the athletes to build up and be ready for one of the greatest shows on Earth: the triathlon at the Olympic Games.”
Ancillary activities such as running and open-water swimming races, community outreach initiatives and live entertainment will join the line-up as the Legacy Triathlon aims to build momentum. USA Triathlon also plans to increase multisport programming in Southern California as part of the Legacy Triathlon, including initiatives such as the Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series and USATri60 indoor triathlon series.
The USA Triathlon Foundation has pledged a total of US$100,000 (US$10,000 per year through 2028) to support local community initiatives in conjunction with the Legacy Triathlon.
“When plans for the Legacy Triathlon were first put into place, we knew it needed to be more than just a race,” said Dave Deschenes, Executive Director of the USA Triathlon Foundation. “We saw an opportunity to give back to the Long Beach and Los Angeles triathlon communities and build a tangible legacy for years to come. This grant funding will support local organizations that provide multisport resources to youth, athletes with disabilities and Olympic dreamers — the USA Triathlon Foundation’s three focus areas.”
During the unveiling of the Legacy Triathlon, elite athletes Ben Kanute, Summer Cook and Matt McElroy took part in a sport demonstration alongside members of the Long Beach-based TRIBE Triathlon Club, the LA Tri Club and the San Diego-based Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF).